Sudbury win thriller by three runs against Great Witchingham, while Mallards are set to fold

Ben Parker, who scored an excellent 125 in Sudbury's narrow three-run win over Great Witchingham. Pi

Ben Parker, who scored an excellent 125 in Sudbury's narrow three-run win over Great Witchingham. Picture: ANDY ABBOTT - Credit: Archant

Defending champions Sudbury kept the pressure on the top two, in the Read Brothers Ltd East Anglian Premier League, thanks to an exciting three-run win over Great Witchingham, on Saturday.

Australian Cameron Valente, bowling, who took four wickets and top-scored with 58 in Copdock & OI's

Australian Cameron Valente, bowling, who took four wickets and top-scored with 58 in Copdock & OI's defeat at Burwell & Exning. Picture: NICK GARNHAM - Credit: Archant

Leaders Frinton-on-Sea continue to set the pace, after being the benefactors of a concession by visitors Vauxhall Mallards, while second-placed Swardeston beat Bury St Edmunds by 61 runs.

But SUDBURY remain in the hunt, and eager to win a hat-trick of league titles following their successes of 2017 and 2018.

After a sluggish start to the summer, which included a couple of defeats and two abandoned matches, the Friars Street club have moved into a higher gear in recent weeks.

Saturday was their sixth win, leaving them 28 points adrift of Frinton and nine points behind Swardeston.

Bowler and skipper Tom Rash, who took four wickets in Mildenhall's defeat at Horsford. Picture: NICK

Bowler and skipper Tom Rash, who took four wickets in Mildenhall's defeat at Horsford. Picture: NICK GARNHAM - Credit: Archant

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They were indebted to a fine century from Ben Parker to get up to a total of 244 all out off 61 overs, after being put into bat by Great Witchingham.

The Suffolk hosts slumped to 22 for five, with the opening attack of William Means (three wickets) and Andy Hanby (two wickets) doing the damage.

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Parker found good support from Kenny Moulton (29) in a sixth wicket stand of 64, and then both Ben Reece (31) and James Poulson (29) as Sudbury's strong late batting order came up trumps.

Parker himself reached his 50 off 73 balls, and his century off 148 deliveries, before being the last wicket to fall, bowled by Charlie Rogers for a superb 125.

He hit two sixes and 13 fours in a 169-ball stay, putting on 51 for the seventh wicket with Reece, and 66 for the eighth with Poulson.

It was nip-and-tuck during Great Witchingham's reply. Skipper Sam Arthurton made 52 at the top of the innings, before he was one of Reece's three victims (13.1-1-57-3), and at 103 for five the visitors were in trouble.

Peter Trewick, batting at No. 6, let rip with an aggressive 85 off just 63 balls, which included four mighty sixes, and he found good support from Matthew Long (31).

The result remained in doubt as No. 10 Hanby threatened to see his side home, but he was last out, caught by Darren Batch on the boundary's edge off the bowling of Reece for 14 at the start of the last over (four were needed for victory), to leave the visitors on 241 all out.

Elsewhere, BURY ST EDMUNDS, well-placed in mid-table after all their relegation fears of recent years, were beaten by 61 runs at The Common by Swardeston, but not before giving their opponents a few scares.

The Norfolk hosts were bowled out for 205 inside 50 overs, despite their top six batsmen all getting into double figures, including a dominant 81 from Peter Lambert in the middle order.

Daniel Moriarty took four for 56 off 18 overs, after Justin Broad had removed both openers Jordan Taylor (25) and Callum Taylor (18).

Bury threatened an upset when reaching 99 for two in their reply, helped by a fine 65 from all-rounder Broad (off 75 balls) at the top of the innings.

But the loss of Ben Seabrook (16) sparked a collapse, Bury losing their last eight wickets for the addition of just 45 runs to be bowled out for 144 in the 38th over.

Skipper Joe Gatting was the chief wicket-taker, having danger-man Broad caught by wicketkeeper Stephen Gray on his way to figures of 12-3-37-4. Broad was fifth out with the total on 112, and skipper Sean Park fell next ball, trapped LBW, as the visitors were eventually skittled out.

COPDOCK & OLD IPSWICHIAN were defeated by 49 runs at Burwell. Copdock skipper Chris Swallow won the toss and elected to field, but a century from opener Tom Jagot (105 off 158 balls) helped Burwell to an imposing 281 all out off 61.3 overs.

Australian all-rounder Cameron Valente took four for 48, including the scalp of Jagot, and then top-scored with 58 off 59 balls at No. 3 during Copdock's reply.

Copdock had advanced to 91 for one when Valente fell, one of Jay Ghelani's five victims, and although Jed Cawwell (40) and Jack Beaumont (23) made useful contributions in the middle order, the Suffolk side were finally dismissed for 232 in the 54th over.

MILDENHALL suffered their sixth league defeat of the season, slithering to 137 all out to lose by 40 runs at Horsford.

Skipper Ryan Findlay helped his side recover from a precarious 62 for four to reach 177 all out. Findlay was last out for 57, while Mildenhall's bowling was spearheaded by skipper Tom Rash (15-4-36-4) and veteran spinner Murtaza Hussain (16-1-41-4).

However, when Rash was bowled first ball by Sadaf Hussain (10-3-28-4) to leave Copdock on 17 for three, it was always going to be a tall order. Ben Shepperson (36) and Ankit Sharma (25) put on 60 for the sixth wicket, but Chris Brown took four of the final five wickets as the visitors were bowled out for 137 in the 38th over.

Meanwhile, the fate of Vauxhall Mallards was revealed by East Anglian Premier League officials over the weekend.

Mallards had been forced to concede their match at league leaders FRINTON on Saturday, because of a lack of players.

Frinton were therefore awarded 25 points, and Mallards deduced 25 points, but the plight of the Norfolk club goes far beyond this one conceded match.

In fact, Mallards will fold at the end of this season, although they should be able to fulfil their remaining nine EAPL fixtures of this current campaign.

It is a sad demise for the Halvergate-based Mallards, especially as they were the inaugural winners of the EAPL back in 1999.

A statement from the EAPL read as follows:

'The EAPL Management Committee has been aware for some time of the problems faced by Vauxhall Mallards, due to the loss of players. The Committee has wanted to give the Club every opportunity to try and secure a future.

'It is with regret the Club have advised the League that all avenues have now been exhausted .... they will withdraw and disband at the end of the season.'

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