EAPL round-up: Sawston & Babraham secure title while Bury St Edmunds ease to derby win against Sudbury and Mildenhall continue to be top Suffolk side
It had been a simple equation for Sawston & Babraham's players heading into the penultimate round of matches in the Read Brothers Ltd East Anglian Premier League: win at Great Witchingham and an historic first top tier title was theirs.
And Dan Heath's men delivered in some style with the Rams (250-8) leaving nothing to chance as they racked up a 140-run victory at Great Witchingham (110).
After winning the toss the home side inserted Sawston to bat, which looked to be working well for them with openers Ben Benson (12) and James Vandepeer (19) both removed having failed to get past 20 runs.
But Waqas Hussain's introduction soon saw the title-clinching victory come into view as he set about building what proved to be an unbeaten century (106) alongside various partner, having faced 117 deliveries without falling.
Heath's 27 from 18 balls was the next highest tally for the visitors in their total of 250-8 in their 50-over allocation.
And it was a target the hosts got nowhere near reaching after a start which saw them lose their first two wickets inside six overs to leave them 14-2.
Mark Smith (3-35) and CJ Guest (3-17) claimed three wickets apiece, while there was pairs for James van de Peer (2-28) and George Darlow (2-12).
James Hale's 35 was the highest individual score in the host's 110 total, having seen their final wicket fall (Joe Tillett LBW) in the 39th over to CJ Guest.
It leaves the Rams, who have been playing their first full season in the EAPL, following promotion in 2019, with a procession to the finish line, hosting Copdock & Old Ipswchian on Saturday (11am).
As it was, things were not set to have gone the distance anyway with Saffron Walden (180) claiming a surprise 16-run victory at second-placed Swardeston (164, J Ormsby 5-20) which extinguished any slim hope the former champions had of switching places with Sawston.
Bury St Edmunds (118-3) produced a dominant display at the Victory Sports Ground to see off local rivals Sudbury (115) with seven wickets in hand.
On winning the toss, home captain Ben Seabrook invited Sudbury to bat. Rufus Easdale opened the bowling from the Nowton end and soon had former Bury player Adam Mansfield LBW for one.
Last week at Frinton the home side self-destructed and so too Sudbury this week with two run-outs with the score on 16.
Sean Park showed his impressive fielding skills to ensure Kenny Mouton-Day was stranded and a short while later, also on 16, Alex Quinn was out thanks to good work in the field by Ben Whittaker.
A feature of this excellent season for Bury has been the fielding of this mainly young team, and so it continued when Max Whittaker took a fine catch to dismiss Darren Batch at 40-3.
Sudbury recovered thanks to Ryan Vickery (20) and Ben Parker (31) before the former went out LBW to Josh Cantrell. Parker, who had played well, became the first of Seabrook’s four victims as the visitors were skittered out for 115 in 35.4 overs.
Bury lost their captain without scoring but Alfie Marston was not dallying around with his 36 consisting of seven 4s.
His fellow left-handed batsman, Matt Doran, played with style with shades of David Gower as he stroked the ball around.
Marston was out with the score on 78 and Bury continued at a run a ball.
Doran was dropped off former Bury player Sean Cooper on 47 and managed the half century for the second week running before Cooper had him caught by Adam Dellar for 51.
With only runs runs needed for victory, Max Whittaker completed a good day for the home side with 25 not out that included four 4s and a 6 in the 21st over.
A third straight win for Bury keeps them fifth in the table but just a point behind fourth-placed Great Witchingham and nine points adrift from third-placed, who are the leading Suffolk side.
Mildenhall (164-1) had moved up to third thanks to a nine-wicket home victory at the expense of Frinton-on-Sea (162).
Skipper Ollie Lovejoy won his 14th toss of the campaign for the home side and opted to put Frinton into bat – a decision that worked well as wickets fell regularly.
Michael Comber did offer up some resistance with his knock of 75 from only 45 deliveries, but that aside the Mildenhall bowling attack were largely in control of proceedings.
Overseas all-rounder Nic Smith (3-17) was the pick of the hosts’ bowlers, while Darren Ironside and Alex Cruickshank snared two wickets apiece – the latter claiming the prized wicket of Comber.
In reply, once again Jack Potticary starred once again for Mildenhall, who wrapped up the victory in just 23.2 overs.
He ended up falling five runs short of his century, hitting eight 4s and six maximums on his way to scoring 95 from just 68 balls.
Potticary has now racked up a total of 596 runs this season, leaving him fourth in the East Anglian Premier League’s run-scoring list for 2021.
Team-mate Ironside is behind him in fifth place, with his unbeaten 52 taking him on to 582 for the term.
Mildenhall will finish their campaign on Saturday when they make the trip to Friars Street to take on ninth-placed Sudbury (11am).
Victory for Mildenhall – coupled with a defeat for Swardeston at Horsford – could seem them finish in second place.
Bottom-of-the-table Burwell & Exning (134) suffered a 134-run defeat at Cambridge (268-7).
Matthew Jones (2-45) was the best of the Burwell & Exning bowlers, while Alex Woolliscroft’s unbeaten knock of 37 was as good as it got in terms of the batting.
Burwell & Exning, who cannot be relegated due to Cambridge’s impending demotion after they failed to meet EAPL regulations, will finish the season at home to Great Witchingham on Saturday (11am).
Copdock & Old Ipswichian racked up the highest total of the day (330-7, L Froggatt 131, C Swallow 55) to beat Horsford (324-5, J Reynolds 124, L Findlay 76, S Mariller 60) by three wickets.
The victory sees them head into the final day in eighth place but 22 points behind Saffron Walden in seventh.
Fixtures for Saturday (11am)
Burwell & Exning Vs Great Witchingham
Frinton-On-Sea Vs Cambridge
Horsford Vs Swardeston
Saffron Walden Vs Bury St Edmunds
Sawston & Babraham Vs Copdock & Old Ipswichian
Sudbury Vs Mildenhall