EAPL round-up: Bury St Edmunds stun title favourites Swardeston with last ball victory as Mildenhall and Sawston & Babraham maintain winning starts
Bury St Edmunds, Great Witchingham, Mildenhall and Sawston & Babraham all maintained their 100 per cent records after the second round of matches in the 2021 Read Brothers Ltd East Anglian Premier League.
It was a quite sensational game of cricket at the Victory Sports Ground in Bury St Edmunds on Saturday which stole the show though.
There was no super over but the game was decided on the last ball as Bury St Edmunds (212) beat many people's title favourites Swardeston (211-8) in the most dramatic fashion.
Home captain Ben Seabrook won the toss and decided to bat and soon Swardeston’s Adam Todd had three Bury batsman out for 34 including Seabrook for 15.
Ben Curran and Josh Cantrell took the score to 61 before Curran was out for six.
But the key partnership followed as Cantrell and Alistair Allchin put on 78 runs before Cantrell was out for 49. Allchin followed soon after for 37 but Ben Whittaker played some positive shots amongst his 35 runs off 33 deliveries with good support from George Loyd (11).
Rufus Easdale was last out for nine with debutant Max Dias not out on five for a final total of 212. Adam Toff returned figures of 5-34 off 10 overs for Swardeston.
Allchin and Easdale opened the bowling for the home side and after two maidens Jordan Taylor was out caught by Seabrook bowled by Allchin with no score on the board.
Former Bury player Callum Taylor made 29 but on 42 he became Allchin's second victim, caught by Ben Curran.
Joe Gatting – who has just been announced as Suffolk's white as well as red ball professional this season – made a good 37 before being caught by Loyd off Easdale.
At 164-3 though the visitors, one of the best club cricket teams in the country, were very well placed.
But one wicket in cricket often brings two as the score became 165-5. Whittaker bowled the dangerous Peter Lambert and Loyd bowled Lewis Denmark.
Swardeston were 23 runs short of victory but skipper Seabrook came on and had Todd caught by wicketkeeper Max Whittaker and Mark Thomas – on 196-8 – followed lbw to Loyd.
Toby Duncan was run out with just eight runs needed.
Tension mounted as 18-year-old Dias had the task of bowling the final over with eight needed for the visitors to win.
It all came down to the final ball when any of three results could take place. But Stephen Gray could only manage a single as Bury won by a single run in a memorable game.
Gray was left 82 not out and for the Swardeston captain Mark Thomas it was his 350th East Anglian Premier League match, all for the one club.
Sawston & Babraham (149-4) made it two wins from two by defeating 2019's technically still reigning champions Frinton-on-Sea (148) by six wickets at Spicers Sports Ground.
For once, home skipper Dan Heath failed to win the toss and Frinton decided to take the first hit.
The new opening bowling partnership of Mark Smith and James Vandepeer backed up their impressive start in last week’s opening day victory.
Smith picked up three early wickets, including the in-form Josh Rymell who had hit back-to-back centuries.
Sawston continued to pick up wickets at regular intervals each time just as the visitors were looking to get a bit of a foothold. The score progressed from 61-3 to 113-7 as Callum Guest (3-10) and Tim Moses (3-38) stifled the middle and late order.
The visitors battled to post a below-par 148, despite six batters getting starts opener Jack Newby was the top scorer with 27.
The Rams made a decent start to their reply, not without a few scares along the way, with last week’s centurion Matthew Hague being in the thick of the action and controversy before he was dismissed with the score on 39.
SBCC then stumbled to 55-3 as Noah Thain and Waqas Hussain joined Hague back in the pavilion.
Frinton aggressively came looking for the kill but the experienced pair of Michael Cafferkey (22) and vice-captain Callum Guest maturely weathered the storm to add 61 valuable runs before Cafferkey was dismissed on 116.
Ben Clilverd (20 not out) then joined Guest (46no) to add the 33 runs needed to take the Rams to a six-wicket victory. Jake Foley picked up 2-31 for Frinton.
It was a disappointing day for title hopefuls Sudbury (202) in Norfolk, falling to a 26-run defeat at Great Witchingham (228).
Having won the toss and chosen to bowl Sudbury made a steady start with the ball. There were tight opening spells from James Poulson and Darren Batch creating the pressure for change bowler Paddy Sadler to take advantage of with two wickets when he was introduced.
Northern Ireland-based South African CJ Van Der Walt took the big wicket of home skipper Sam Arthurton (38) and when Sadler (4-57) struck twice more on his return, Witchingham were on the back foot at 131-6.
Sam Clabburn changed the momentum of the innings though with a hard-hitting 38 from 22 balls. And despite Batch (3-39) and Poulson (2-40) returning to see out the innings well at the death, useful contributions from Alex Shanks (32 not out) and Brett Stolworthy (24) guided their side to a competitive 228 all out from their 50 overs.
Sudbury got off to the worst possible start in reply, losing both openers cheaply and Batch for 19, falling to 44-3.
Ben Parker (42) and Ryan Vickery steadied the ship with 51 for the fourth wicket but Vickery was bowled by the dangerous Peter Trewick (3-50) and a flurry of wickets followed to leave the Talbots 139-8.
Late resistance from recently signed Adam Dellar (49no) left the visitors wondering what might have been with both bat and ball, and in a game of fine margins Sudbury fell short.
Mildenhall (227-7) also made it back-to-back wins with a 43-run victory at the expense of Horsford (184).
Having been put into bat by their visitors, Mildenhall opener Tom Rash signalled his intent by hitting the first ball of the contest over square leg for six.
The run-rate started to slow towards the middle of the innings, but winter addition Darren Ironside eventually started to pick up the pace with his knock of 48 runs from 49 deliveries, which included two 4s and a maximum.
The hosts’ total was potentially 30 or so runs short of what would have been considered par, but through Rash and Ironside, they made some early inroads into the Horsford batting line-up to leave the away side on 54-5.
Horsford’s middle order batsmen Ryan Findlay (42) and Ashley Watson (41) did offer up some resistance, but once they fell to the bowling of Nicholas Smit, the game as all but up.
Jack Loveday claimed the final Horsford wicket to fall, although Rash was the pick of the Mildenhall bowling attack, recording figures of 4-22 from his 10 overs.
Burwell & Exning (226-8) had a tough time in the field at Copdock & Old Ipswichian (227-0), who ran out winners by a 10-wicket margin.
The visitors from Cambridgeshire batted first and got beyond the 200-run mark thanks largely to winter signing Matt Jones (62 not out) and captain Tom Griffiths (53).
It was a total Copdock will have fancied their chances of reaching, but they did so in particularly impressive fashion as openers Ben Claydon (115no) and Jack Beaumont (92no) got them over the line in 39.1 overs.
Burwell & Exning used a total of eight bowlers, but none could make the breakthrough.
Elsewhere in the division, Saffron Walden (271-7) got their first victory on the board as they won by 30 runs at Cambridge (241).
Nikhil Gorantla top scored with the bat with 77 while Giles Ecclestone was not far behind with 63.
Fixtures for Saturday (11am starts):
Burwell & Exning v Frinton-On-Sea
Copdock & Old Ipswichian v Bury St Edmunds
Horsford v Cambridge
Saffron Walden v Great Witchingham
Sudbury v Swardeston & Babraham