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EAPL round-up: Mildenhall cut Sawston & Babraham's lead at the top ahead of game in hand as rain thwarts Sudbury



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Sawston & Babraham’s (299-9) unbeaten start to the Read Brothers Ltd East Anglian Premier League was not to stretch into the second half of their campaign as they fell to a seven-wicket defeat at title rivals Mildenhall (230-3).

While the visiting Rams had been held to draws in their previously three outings, a highly impressive start to the campaign had seen the defending champions open up a healthy advantage at the top of the standings.

However, second-placed Mildenhall have now closed the gap to 21 points and they can in fact leapfrog the east Cambridgeshire side at the summit if they were to win Saturday’s game in hand away at Swardeston (11am, see full fixtures list below).

Sawston & Babraham's Ben Cliverd is clean bowled by Mildenhall's Tom Rash Picture: Richard Marsham
Sawston & Babraham's Ben Cliverd is clean bowled by Mildenhall's Tom Rash Picture: Richard Marsham

Mildenhall skipper Darren Ironside opted to bowl first after winning the toss and his team went on to take wickets at regular intervals.

There was two wickets apiece for Tom Rash, Naveen Gunawardana and Tristan Blackledge as Mildenhall made some useful inroads, but they were also left frustrated by the performance of the visitors’ Callum Guest.

The opener scored 84 runs from 126 deliveries – a knock that was crucial in ensuring his side went beyond the 200-run mark by the time the 58th over came around.

Mildenhall players celebrate a wicket in their home clash with leaders Sawston & Babraham Picture: Richard Marsham
Mildenhall players celebrate a wicket in their home clash with leaders Sawston & Babraham Picture: Richard Marsham

The biggest stand was 66 with Tim Moses, who scored 46 off 50 balls, as Sawston & Babraham were all out for 229.

In reply, Mildenhall lost their captain Ironside (17), Olly Jeffries (4) and Jack Potticary (23) all relatively cheaply to leave them 82-3 in the 13th over.

But Joe Tetley (101 not out) and Rash (67no) came together to put on a match-winning partnership.

Tetley’s three-figure contribution came from just 94 balls while Rash’s came from a more patient 102 deliveries.

Sawston & Babraham's Callum Guest got his side's top score with the bat, reaching 84 to frustrate the Mildenhall bowlers Picture: Richard Marsham
Sawston & Babraham's Callum Guest got his side's top score with the bat, reaching 84 to frustrate the Mildenhall bowlers Picture: Richard Marsham

Ben Clilverd, who starred for Cambridgeshire with the ball on Sunday against Suffolk at Sudbury CC, finished with 3-63.

The rain showers hindered Sudbury's (257-6 dec) attempts to claim victory at home to Great Witchingham (62-3).

There were no less than three stoppages during the host's innings, resulting in an early declaration by skipper Paddy Sadler after he had seen his batting unit post another fine score and achieve maximum batting points.

Naveen Gunawardana bowls for Mildenhall Pictire: Richard Marsham
Naveen Gunawardana bowls for Mildenhall Pictire: Richard Marsham

The highlight of Sudbury’s innings was a century by Ben Parker (100) who arrived at the crease with the score on 42-2 and left 209 runs later following good partnerships with Alex Quin (43), Lasith Lakshan (32) and Kenny Moulton-Day (37).

Witchingham’s skipper Andy Hanby with 4-48 and Brett Stolworthy with 1-71 shared the bulk of the bowling duties, delivering 30 overs between them as they tried to stem the flow of Sudbury runs.

Alastair Allchin, bowling against Frinton-on-Sea earlier this month, was Bury St Edmunds’ star player during the defeat to Saffron Walden Picture: Mark Westley
Alastair Allchin, bowling against Frinton-on-Sea earlier this month, was Bury St Edmunds’ star player during the defeat to Saffron Walden Picture: Mark Westley

Following the declaration it was unlikely that the rain would not return, and it duly did after 26 overs of Witchingham’s reply but not before Lasith Lakshan (2-27) and Matt Wareing (1-4) had reduced the innings to 62-3 with a scheduled 24 overs remaining.

This time, however, there was no chance of play restarting as the match was abandoned as a draw, Sudbury’s third in a row.

But their haul of 14 points secured their fourth place spot in the league just 20 points off second place Mildenhall and also 20 points ahead of fifth place Horsford.

On their return to EAPL action, sixth-placed Bury St Edmunds (166) suffered a four-wicket defeat at Saffron Walden (167-6).

With conditions overcast and some low cloud cover, it was a day for winning the toss and it went the way of the hosts, who inserted Bury into bat.

In what proved to be very difficult batting conditions Justin Bishop was soon out for 2 and Jacob Miltz secured an edge to follow him shortly after.

Players were off for rain and soon after the break George Loyd, who had batted well, was given out LBW, with all the wickets falling to Matthew Jones, whose bowling benefited from the conditions. No less than three wickets fell on 44 as conditions became even more difficult.

Ben Seabrook scored 24 before being run out via a direct hit from distance, but while Alistair Allchin was battling conditions gradually improved, yet Bury were soon 94-9 and facing defeat.

Credit to James McKinney who joined Allchin and battled well. Allchin is always due a good score and so it proved as he took the game to the home side with a score of 75 that included eight 4s and two 6s, while McKinney also scored a 6 and remained 18 not out as Allchin finally was out with the pair having put on 72 runs for the last wicket.

In terms of the bowling it proved to be a memorable day for Jones as he recorded figures of 8-43.

Batting conditions continued to improve but Saffron Walden lost early wickets to Bishop.

However, despite a further break for rain the home side started to build a total, although Rufus Easdale took a wicket with his first delivery and Allchin had home captain Benjamin Harris out bowled for 4 on with Walden on 113.

Nikhil Gorantla, who is on Essex’s books, was out for 56 and with five down Bury were back in the game, but despite Allchin taking a third wicket the hosts reached the target in 32.3 overs.

Third-placed Copdock & Old Ipswichian (164-9) took nine points from their drawn match over at Horsford (182) despite another star performance from Ben Claydon, who followed up last weekend's century, hat-trick and fifer with 5-63.

Chris Harris also shone again with the bat, registering 62 but it was their opponents who took the higher share of points, claiming 11 in total.

Elsewhere, Swardeston (99-4) beat second bottom Frinton-on-Sea (96, T Duncan 7-40) by six wickets at the latter's Ashlyns Road base.

Fixtures (Saturday, June 25)

Bury St Edmunds v Sudbury

Copdock & Old Ipswichian v Frinton-On-Sea

Great Witchingham v Horsford

Swardeston v Mildenhall

Witham v Saffron Walden

Week off: Sawston & Babraham