Woolpit enjoy fine victory in East Anglian Premier League

Bury St Edmunds CC V Horsford CC; Victory Ground,Bury St Edmunds.; Bury Batting/Horsford Fielding.;

Bury St Edmunds CC V Horsford CC; Victory Ground,Bury St Edmunds.; Bury Batting/Horsford Fielding.; Tom Huggins batting for Bury. - Credit: Archant

Woolpit celebrated a thumping win, but fellow Suffolk sides Bury St Edmunds and Sudbury both suffered a frustrating afternoon, in the Gibbs Denley East Anglian Premier League.

Sudbury were edged out by just one wicket against Cambridge Granta, and a massive opening partnership of 254 between Tom Huggins and Justin Bishop was not enough to inspire Bury to a win over Horsford in a drawn game at the Victory Ground.

However, Woolpit did taste victory, by 93 runs against Saffron Walden at Rectory Lane, thanks to a terrific all-round display by Craig Eastlea and some fine bowling by Julian Crudeli.

Eastlea top-scored with 74 in Woolpit’s modest total of 213 – no other home batsman scored more than 25 – and a third wicket partnership of 75 between Joshua Wells (51) and skipper Giles Ecclestone (30) put the visitors in the driving seat.

However, two wickets in two balls from Eastlea, who removed Ecclestone and Charles Knightley (first ball), turned the game on its head. Eastlea also dismissed danger-man Wells shortly afterwards to leave Saffron Walden on 94 for five.

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Crudeli then took charge, adding to his two earlier wickets to end with impressive figures of six for 32, off 15 overs, as the visitors were bowled out for just 120.

Eastlea took the final wicket, to finish with four for 45, as Woolpit took a giant step towards avoiding relegation with their third win of the campaign.

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Meanwhile, Bury St Edmunds’ experienced opening pair of Huggins and Bishop shared a huge stand of 254 in the hosts total of 261 for one off their 66 overs, although they eventually had to be content with a draw against Horsford.

An in-form Huggins, who had scored more than 200 runs and taken 13 wickets in Suffolk’s recent win over Northumberland, was unbeaten on 141 from 224 balls.

Fellow opener Bishop hit 13 boundaries in his innings of 113, although most of Bury’s runs came from well-run singles and twos, until Huggins obliged with three mighty sixes later in the innings. A slow pitch made quick scoring very difficult.

Horsford adopted a rather negative approach and were happy to hold on for a draw, to stay 12 points ahead of second-from-bottom Bury, ending on 203 for six, despite three wickets for Huggins.

Having slid to the basement a fortnight ago, Sudbury responded by making 235 all out against second-placed Cambridge Granta, a useful total after being put into bat.

Nathan Poole (31) dominated an opening stand of 39 with Jay Phillips, who went on to top score with 44. There were also good knocks from Ben Reece (40 off 49 balls), skipper Darren Batch (a patient 39) and Steve Witham (36 off just 23 balls, including three sixes and three fours).

The visitors were indebted to a marvellous century from Max Holden, and an unbeaten 30 from Frederick Fairhead at the end of the innings, otherwise Sudbury would surely have recorded a shock win.

When Holden was eventually eighth out, for 116, Cambridge still required 30 runs for victory, with the overs running out.

James Cowan only lasted three balls, leaving Cambridge still 29 short of their target. But Fairhead struck two sixes and two fours, and No. 11 Rajan Singh survived six balls, as Granta squeezed home in the 60th over with just one wicket in hand.

Elsewhere, Copdock & Old Ipswichian shared a draw against Burwell, who had won the toss and made 223 for nine thanks to half-centuries by Jeffrey Keyt (59) and Kiran Adhav (58).

Archie Gravell made 43 at the start of Copdock’s reply, but the hosts were soon left struggling on 106 for seven, until a 64-run partnership by captain Chris Swallow (40 not out) and Peter George (31) guided them to a draw.

The performance of the day came from Clacton, who inflicted only the second defeat of the season on league leaders Swardeston.

Captain Ben France took five wickets and Michael Comber claimed four victims, as Swardeston were dismissed for just 123, enabling Clacton to record a six-wicket win.

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