Title-chasing Sudbury inflict first defeat on Frinton
Defending champions SUDBURY made a huge statement by thrashing league leaders FRINTON by 160 runs, on the North-Essex coast, to ensure an exciting three-way race for the Read Brothers Ltd East Anglian Premier League title.
Sudbury moved up to second spot, and to within just two points of pace-setters Frinton, thanks to a dominant display at Ashlyns Road.
Having won the toss and elected to bat first, Sudbury accumulated an impressive 256 for nine off 64 overs, before bowling out Frinton for just 96 inside 49 overs.
It was Frinton's first league defeat of the summer, and has certainly blown the title race wide open for the remaining six fixtures.
After the early loss of skipper Adam Mansfield (5), one of three scalps for Ollie Bocking (13-1-62-3), the experienced duo of Martyn Cull and Darren Batch put on 99 for the second wocket.
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Batch made a patient 38 off 90 balls, while Cull went on to top score with 64 before he was the fourth wicket to fall with the score on 124.
Useful middle order contributions from Ben Parker (20) and Henry Shipley (23) helped the total along, but it required a superb 53-run partnership for the eighth wicket to see Sudbury to a commanding score.
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All-rounder Ben Reece made 19, although he played second fiddle to a hard-hitting James Poulson, who struck 52 off 40 balls, with four sixes.
In reply, no Frinton batsman managed to reach 30, with top scorer Jaik Mickleburgh (29) the key wicket to fall, just before tea.
Sudbury's new-ball pair both bowled beautifully. Patrick Sadler took three for 22 off 12 overs, taking the big wickets of Blaine Bannister, skipper Michael Comebr and Miguel-Angelo Machado, while Jonny Gallagher ended with remarkable figures of 9-7-4-2.
In addition to bowling so tightly, Gallagher made the initial breakthrough by trapping Michael Griggs (5) leg before, and he also dismissed all-rounder Ashley Watson in the middle order.
"It was a big toss for us to win, because the pitch had been used a bit during Frinton's Cricket Week," explained Sudbury club captain Batch.
"It was a dry, used pitch, so it was a no-brainer to bat first after winning the toss. The pitch was only going to get worse, and Frinton had two good spinners who would have played a big part if we had been chasing.
"I managed to get a good partnership going with Martyn (Cull) to build a platform. It's important for the top three to get through the new ball, and Martyn batted particularly well for someone who has not played much cricket this summer, due to his work commitments on a Saturday.
"He set up the innings, and our big-hitters later on could therefore benefit. There aren't many teams who can boast batsmen of the calibre of Ben Reece and James Poulson coming in at No. 8 and No. 9. That's a big luxury to have," added Batch.
With reference to the Frinton reply, Batch said: "Ben (Reece) managed to get the wicket of Mickleburgh with an arm-ball, on the stroke of tea, and that gave us a big lift. It was a huge wicket.
"We also had a bit of fortune to get their star man Adam Wheater (20) out. He was run out at the non-striker's end after (bowler) James Poulson managed to deflect the ball onto the stumps.
"Jonny (Gallagher) bowled with terrific discipline, and there was a superb spell of bowling from Patrick Sadler.
"To get the leaders out for 96 is a big result for us, but there's still six games to go, so it's all to play for. We are within touching distance of Frinton, but there's no point in us beating them if we then go and lose at Copdock this weekend," added Batch, whose Sudbury side won the EAPL title in 2017 and 2018.
Swardeston, the winners in the five previous years, were held to a high-scoring draw at Great Witchingham, and so are now two points behind Sudbury in third.
Meanwhile, COPDOCK & OLD IPSWICHIAN kept their nerve to win the Suffolk derby away at MILDENHALL, claiming a three-wicket victory to stay fifth in the table.
Put into bat, Mildenhall were dismissed for 130 in 51 overs, despite at one stage looking well set at 83 for two.
Opener Danny Wilson (31 off 105 balls) and Ben Shepperson (26) added 61 for third wicket, before the latter was run out to prompt a dramatic batting collapse.
Spinners Jack Beaumont (12-2-25-3) and Chris Swallow (7-2-22-3) did the main damage, Beaumont ending the stubborn resistance of Wilson and also trapping skipper Tom Rash, the former Copdock captain, leg before.
Opener Alex Oxley played the anchor reply in Copdock's reply, making a patient 28 off 77 deliveries and putting on 79 for the second wicket with fellow youngster Fergus Atkins, who top-scored with 66 off just 44 balls. The impressive Atkins blasted four sixes and eight fours in his entertaining knock.
From 117 for two, Copdock did stutter a little, losing three wickets for just one run, but they eventually got over the line off 30.4 overs.
BURY ST EDMUNDS suffered a five-wicket defeat at Cambridge, despite half-centuries from opener Justin Broad (66) and captain Sean Park (57). Park was last out with the total on 199.
Spinner Lewys Hill took four for 34, aided by two stumpings from Michael Turner to remove danger-man Broad and wicketkeeper Alfie Marston. Turner also took four catches. Broad's dismissal was crucial, Bury losing their last six wickets for 66 runs.
Sean Cooper (13-2-42-2) and Josh Cantrell (13-4-32-2) bowled well as Cambridge were pegged back to 72 for three.
But an unbeaten 92 from Daminda Ranaweera, the Sri Lankan batting at No. 3, saw Cambridge home for the loss of five wickets in the 58th over. He faced 153 balls and struck 11 boundaries.
Bury are now eighth in the table, one place and six points better off than rivals Mildenhall. Bury entertain Great Witchingham this weekend, while Mildenhall are at home to Cambridge.