Worlington take big step closer to Division One title

Andy Northcote, who helped Woolpit to victory over Halstead with a good innings of 87. Picture: SIMO

Andy Northcote, who helped Woolpit to victory over Halstead with a good innings of 87. Picture: SIMON PARKER

Worlington took a giant step towards winning the Marshall Hatchick Two Counties Championship Division One title, thanks to their win and a defeat for nearest challengers Halstead on Saturday.

Jimmy Watson, seen here appealing for a wicket, made 71 as leaders Worlington thumped Hadleigh. Pict

Jimmy Watson, seen here appealing for a wicket, made 71 as leaders Worlington thumped Hadleigh. Picture: ANDY ABBOTT - Credit: Archant

Leaders Worlington, who have set the pace for most of this season, claimed their 14th win from 18 starts by surging to a huge 180-run win over Suffolk rivals Hadleigh.

Second-placed Halstead, meanwhile, lost by 43 runs at third-placed Woolpit, meaning that Worlington have stretched their lead at the top from 40 to 52 points. And with just four rounds of matches remaining, Worlington are now within sight of the winning post.

Hadleigh skipper Kyle Tanner won the toss and elected to field at Worlington, but that decision backfired as the hosts rattled up a formidable 340 for six.

Graham Ford and James Watson put on 126 for the second wicket, wicketkeeper Watson striking 11 boundaries in his knock of 71.

Ford found another good ally in Craig Estlea, the pair adding a further 125 for the third wicket to take the score up to 265.

Estlea was eventually bowled by Ben Wallis for 85, while century-marker Ford followed soon afterwards, for 105. Nuwan Jayasena produced a fine cameo at the end of the innings, racing to 34 with three sixes and two fours, and Hadleigh were never in the hunt during their reply.

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The visitors lost regular wickets – their top five batsmen were all back in the pavilion with the total on just 71 – and despite 46 from Ashley Clark at No. 8, no other batsman progressed beyond 22.

Hadleigh were bowled out for 160 in the 41st over, Lee Thompson taking three wickets. Jayasena and Matt Wittish took two apiece.

Over at Rectory Lane, Woolpit were put into bat by Halstead, but still managed to accumulate a winning score of 258 for six off their 50 overs. Despite the early loss of skipper Will Parker (8), Woolpit made good progress with the experienced Andy Northcote providing the backbone of the innings with 87 off 108 balls.

Northcote put on 87 for the second wicket with Corey Polyak (29), and 45 for the third wicket with Ryan Necombe (30), before Tom Whiteman contributed an unbeaten 56 off 50 balls at No. 5.

Josh King was the pick of the Halstead bowlers, with figures of 10-0-24-1.

The Essex side were going well in their reply, thanks to opener Chris Huntington (46) and Josh Ruthven (59), but when Huntington became the first of Freddie Heldreich’s four victims, to leave the total on 76 for two, Woolpit took charge.

Heldreich finished with figures of 9.5-1-38-4, while Chris Wells took two for 29 off seven overs as Halstead were bowled out for 215 before the end of the 42nd over.

Elsewhere, there was a rare victory for defending champions Elmstead, who remain bottom of the table despite beating Ipswich by four wickets.

Ipswich were restricted to 211 for eight, having lost opener Rob Southall for a duck and skipper Joe Rusby for 24. Jack Elford made 72 at No. 3, sharing a third wicket partnership of 141 with Damien Smith, who top-scored with an excellent 94, but Elmstead’s tight bowling kept them in the game.

Michael Cursons took three for 27, and Aiden O’Brien claimed two for 25 off eight overs. Skipper O’Brien (4) was an early casualty in Elmstead’s innings, bowled by the accurate Southall, but Jordan Elliott (68) and Cursons (48) put on 80 for the second wicket. Elmstead eventually celebrated a fourth win of the summer with four wickets and three overs in hand, Craig Watts finishing on 50 not out.

Coggeshall won a close game at home to Mistley by just two wickets. Captain Daniel Goff struck 100 off 97 balls as Mistley accrued a total of 269 for nine off their 50 overs. Goff put on 83 with James Scott (35) for the second wicket, but otherwise no other batsman advanced past 30. William Blackwell took three for 36 off his 10 overs.

Coggeshall’s reply began well, Edward King (75) and George Hanham (16) putting on 71 for the first wicket. Ben Chaplin (37) also scored well, but the match was in the balance throughout, before Charlie Green’s 57 not out guided the hosts to victory with two wickets and one over in hand.

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