Pace-setters Worlington and Woolpit both win again
Worlington stamped their authority on Division One of the Marshall Hatchick Two Counties Championship by winning the top-of-the-table clash against Halstead on Saturday.
Graham Ford starred with the bat, and Charlie Tunstall and Nuwan Jayasena impressed with the ball, as Worlington secured an 89-run victory.
Their closest challengers are now Woolpit, who breezed past Mistley by 110 runs to leapfrog Halstead into second spot, 19 points behind Worlington.
Home skipper, Craig Estlea, won the toss and elected to bat, and opener Ford found good early support from Ziaf Kulasi (14), James Watson (17) and then Estlea (11) as Worlington progressed to 85 for three.
The biggest partnership of the match saw Ford add 56 for the fourth wicket with Mark Nunn (43), playing against one of his former clubs.
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Ford faced 103 balls for his 72, while Nunn (43) went on to share a 54-run stand with Daren Hayward (51 not out) for the fifth wicket as spinners Andrew Charlton and Craig Spooner bowled without success.
Worlington had advanced to 263 for seven by the end of their 50 overs, and Tunstall was soon among the wickets as Halstead stumbled in their reply.
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Tunstall took the first four wickets to fall, including that of danger-man Chris Huntington, who had scored an unbeaten century the previous weekend. Huntington was bowled for 14, and the Essex visitors lost their top five batsmen with just 102 on the board.
The highest partnership of a disappointing reply was just 29, Spooner top-scoring with 38, including plundering 25 runs from Tunstall’s final over, as Halstead were skittled out for 174 in 38.4 overs.
Left-armer Tunstall recorded figures of 10-3-55-4, and he was well-supported by Nuwan Jayasena, who took three for 23 off six overs.
Meanwhile, Woolpit were inspired by a fine century from Oliver Whiteman as they rattled up an impressive 290 for eight off 50 overs, against lowly Mistley.
Despite losing his fellow opener and captain, Will Parker, for a duck, Whiteman ensured a big score by cracking 132 off 136 balls. He struck a six and 16 fours.
Whiteman put on 96 for the second wicket with Corey Polyak (51) and 77 for the third wicket with James Deeley (40), before adding a further79 with Alex Jackson (35)
Tim Scott eventually removed Whiteman, caught by wicketkeeper Sizwe Madondo, one of his three wickets, while Daniel Goff also claimed three wickets.
Mistley’s reply never really got off the ground, both openers quickly back in the pavilion, including captain Goff (8).
Stuart Baker top-scored with 55 at No. 5, and Stuart Dove contributed 41 in the lower middle order, but Mistley’s innings fizzled out. Dismissed for 180 inside 42 overs. The wickets were shared around the first six bowlers used.
Elsewhere, Witham’s good start to the season has been unravelling in recent weeks, the latest defeat coming at the hands of visiting Maldon.
Witham were bowled out for 160, undone by some fine bowling from Matt Anderson, who took four for 38, and Matt Wild (7-3-10-2) at the top of the innings. This reduced the home side to 37 for four.
Only Carl Bragg (43) and Ollie Cooke (31) offered any real resistance, which kept Witham in the hunt.
Maldon reached their target with three wickets and 14.4 overs in hand, despite no batsman reaching 40. Ian Elliott top-scored with 38.
Defending champions Elmstead continue to struggle, and they remain at the foot of the Division One table after another defeat, this time at the hands of Coggeshall by seven wickets.
William Blackwell claimed figures of 6.2-2-15-5 as Elmstead were restricted to a mere 103 all out, inside 30 overs.
Coggeshall took just 23.2 overs to knock off the runs, helped by a 54-run stand for the third wicket between opener Robert Jagger (26) and Robert Cross (47 not out). William Blackwell completed a good day, for him and the team, with an unbeaten 24.