Tom Huggins hits another century as Sudbury thrash Bury
Sudbury skipper, Tom Huggins, plundered his third successive century, in the East Anglian Premier League, as his side thumped hosts Bury St Edmunds by 238 runs at The Victory Ground in Saturday’s opening league fixture of the summer.
Huggins led Sudbury to their first-ever EAPL title in 2017, completing the job with hundreds in his last two innings against Mildenhall and Horsford last September.
And he has not taken long to hit top form this season, achieving a hat-trick of tons with 105 at the top of the innings as Sudbury powered to 302 for five off their allotted 50 overs.
In reply, Bury slumped to 64 all out, undone by James Poulson’s initial burst that earned him four quickfire wickets, including that of overseas danger-man Murray Commins.
It was the ideal way for Sudbury to begin their title defence, and has certainly laid down a marker for the summer ahead.
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Put into bat by Bury’s stand-in captain, Sean Cooper (skipper Sean Park was away on school duties), Sudbury soon took charge.
Huggins and Adam Mansfield, Suffolk’s county captain, shared an opening partnership of 105. When Mansfield fell for 35, club captain Darren Batch came to the crease to support Huggins in a 65-run stand for the second wicket.
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Batch hit two sixes in his 45 off 66 deliveries, while Kenny Moulton-Day (36) put on a further 83 with Huggins for the third wicket.
Huggins was eventually dismissed for 105, caught by Cooper off opening bowler George Loyd, following a 121-ball stay which featured three sixes and 113 fours.
“It was a great result,” enthused club captain Batch.
“I guess Bury put us in to see if they could get some assistance from the pitch early on, and to put us under pressure by getting a few early wickets.
“But it didn’t turn out that way for them. We got a good start and never looked back, Tom (Huggins) and Adam (Mansfield) batting in their normal style.
“They just tried to put the bowlers under pressure, by latching onto any bad balls and making sure that they put them away.
“Adam was very unfortunate to get out, caught behind (by wicketkeeper James Sturgeon) down the leg-side.
“I then came in and just tried to support Tom, by keeping the scoreboard ticking over.
“I was out run-out. Tom smashed the ball back down the pitch, and the bowler (Cooper) got a finger to it and diverted it onto the wickets.
“But that’s three matches in a row now that Tom has scored centuries.
“He scored 100s in each of the last two games of last season, and now the first match of this season, so he has carried on where he left off last year.
“I suppose he had that extra bit of determination, playing against his old club and back where he used to play his cricket, but to be honest Tom doesn’t really need that extra determination.
“He just wants the team to keep up their high standards from last season, and once again he led from the front. He took every opportunity that came his way,” added Batch.
In reply, only opener Tom Curran (16) and youngster Alfie Marston (19) reached double figures as Bury were skittled out for just 64 in 28.4 overs.
Poulson removed the top four batsmen in his first five overs, including that of South African Commins, to effectively wrap up the match.
Batch continued: “James (Poulson) is a very skilful bowler. He gets the ball to move in the air and off the pitch – he takes full advantage of the new ball.
“He got it moving a lot, and Bury’s batsmen couldn’t really handle him.
“James removed their biggest threat by getting Murray Commins out with a terrific caught-and-bowled. Murray hit the ball hard back at James, who scooped it up low down to hold onto a great catch.
“Tom (Huggins) then came on and took three wickets, and once again we showed that we have strength in depth in our bowling attack, because all five took wickets. Some sides struggle with their fifth bowler, but we have five quality bowlers, and that’s even before Tim Johnston turns up!” added Batch.
Johnston, Sudbury’s overseas player, should be arriving from New Zealand this week.
Batch confirmed: “Tim should be available for this weekend’s match, at home to Copdock, but Tom (Huggins) is away with the Essex first team in Hampshire.”