Wins for Mistley, Hadleigh and Ipswich in battle to avoid the drop

Ben Wallis, on strike, who took four wickets in Hadleigh's important win over Frinton 2nds. Picture:

Ben Wallis, on strike, who took four wickets in Hadleigh's important win over Frinton 2nds. Picture: ANDY ABBOTT - Credit: Archant

Witham wrapped up second spot, behind champions Worlington, in Division One of the Marshall Hatchick Two Counties Championship, after a comfortable win over Maldon, combined with Woolpit’s narrow defeat to Mistley.

Woolpit are now 21 points behind in third spot, with just one round of matches to play this weekend, so they cannot catch Witham.

It was a crunch victory for Mistley, at the other end of the table, seeing them up to fourth-from-bottom and 11 points clear of second-from-bottom Hadleigh.

The margin of victory for Mistley was just four runs, after they had been inserted into bat by Woolpit skipper Will Parker at the start of the day. A superb century from James Scott was the backbone of Mistley’s total of 245 for six, off their 50 overs.

After losing both their openers cheaply, both Gareth Stevens (8) and Matthew Bibby (14) falling to Parker, Mistley rebuilt their innings around a big stand of 156 for the third wicket between Scott and Graeme Butcher.

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While Butcher made a well-constructed 64 off 97 balls, Scott hung around to complete his ton, striking a six and 14 fours in his knock of 106, facing 121 balls. He too was dismissed by Parker, who finished with figures of 10-1-42-4.

Parker went on to score 44 at the top of the innings for Woolpit, holding his side together after a steady flow of early wickets. But they were really struggling when he was bowled by Daniel Goff, leaving the score on 95 for five.

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A seventh-wicket partnership of 67 between Alex Packer (52 off 53 balls) and Chris Wells (19) took the total up to 186, while Adrian Starling (25 not out) and Jonathan Stewart (26) added 51 for the ninth wicket.

But Woolpit fell just short on 241 for nine, with Stewart dismissed off the last delivery of the day, caught by Goff off Phil Palmer (three for 43).

Meanwhile, Witham cashed in to wrap up second slot with a seven-wicket win away at Maldon. The hosts were dismissed for just 131 at Drapers Farm, Greg Stephens recording figures of 10-4-23-4 to run through the Maldon middle order. Jimmy Ainscough top-scored with 33 at No. 4.

Witham reached their target off just 20 overs, for the loss of three wickets, skipper Jake Wakelin ensuring that there would be no major mishaps with a cracking 83 off 63 balls. He put on 104 for the second wicket with James Smith (37).

At the other end of the table, relegation-threatened Hadleigh celebrated a 74-run win over fellow strugglers Frinton 2nds at Friars Road. Put into bat, Hadleigh made 212 for eight off a reduced 40 overs, boosted by half-centuries from opener Callum Morrin (56) and Thomas Piddington (67, off 62 balls).

Sam Brynes took four for 47 off nine overs, and the Frinton skipper must have hoped for the best when seeing his openers Tom Sinclair (41) and Joe Fowler (22) share a first wicket stand of 40.

However, the Essex visitors then nose-dived to 138 all out, losing all 10 wickets for just 98 runs. Ben Wallis returned eye-catching figures of 10-3-27-4, including taking the wicket of Sinclair.

Last season’s champions, Elmstead, are already relegated, but Hadleigh could yet escape the trap door – two teams go down.

Hadleigh are now three points behind Frinton 2nds, 11 behind Mistley, and 13 adrift of fifth-from-bottom Ipswich.

This Saturday, Hadleigh are at home to Woolpit, Frinton 2nds are at Coggsehall, and Mistley and Ipswich play host to Wivenhoe and Witham respectively.

Ipswich thrashed Wivenhoe by nine wickets. The visitors were skittled out for just 66 in 23.3 overs, Damien Smith doing the main damage with figures of 10-2-30-5. His new-ball partner Rob Southall was also effective with 10-5-25-2. Ipswich reached their target off just 15.1 overs.

In Division Two, Lakenheath moved to the brink of winning the title. They are now 19 points clear of Haverhill, after beating Mildenhall 2nds by 28 runs. Dominic Palmer top-scored with 73 in Lakenheath’s 176 for seven, before Danny Rodic and Chris Baugh took four wickets apiece.

Meanwhile, opener Adam Dellar scored a century as Haverhill beat Copford by 120 runs.

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