EAPL round-up: Sawston & Babraham increase lead at the top
Sawston & Babraham (235) extended their lead at the summit of the Read Brothers Ltd East Anglian Premier League by a further 20 points to 29 following a 108-run victory at home to Horsford (127) on Saturday.
Dan Heath's side had reclaimed their early season spot at the top following Great Witchingham's slip-up at Horsford the previous weekend.
And with Great Witchingham (176-8) only taking eight points from a draw at home to Swardeston (258-7), they strengthened their position with a confident performance at Spicers Sports Ground.
After the visitors won the toss and elected to field, Waqas Hussain hit his way to 73 from 149 deliveries, including eight 4s and one 6, in a total of 235 all out in 63.1 overs.
Horsford were never able to seriously threaten in the reply with both openers, Oscar Binny and Ashley Watson, top scoring with 27 each.
James Vadepeer removed both in his 4-32 off 15 overs while George Darlow had a highly impressive spell, taking four wickets for three runs from four overs.
The 108-run victory saw the Rams claim 28 points in what was the last round of long-format matches before fixtures return to 50-overs-a-side (ruling out draws) for the last six matches, starting on this weekend.
Bury St Edmunds' (126) title challenge appears to be over after suffering back-to-back defeats with a four-wicket loss at set-to-be-relegated Cambridge (127-6) at Caldecote.
Ben Seabrook's side, who had been missing three opening bowlers on Saturday, are now 61 points adrift of the leaders in fourth and 32 behind second-placed Great Witchingham, whom they host this weekend (see full round of fixtures below).
Chris Benjamin is making a big impact playing for Birmingham Phoenix in the Hundred which has also led to reduced the side's batting capability.
The Bury team, containing four players 18 or under, batted first and struggled for much of the innings against good, accurate bowling.
Seabrook was first out for six and soon after the team were 35-4.
It was left to debutant Ned Stanton to play an outstanding innings, scoring 30 from 71 deliveries. He obtained good support from Sean Park (19 off 64 deliveries) but being all out for 126 in the 51st over was clearly not going to be enough.
Cambridge started well and were 52 for no wicket when rain interrupted play.
After a break Bury’s bowlers, led by Suffolk's Josh Cantrell (11-6-22-4) made significant inroads, going from 64 for the first wicket to 102-6. But the Bury total was not enough with Cambridge winning by four wickets.
In the west versus east Suffolk derby at Mildenhall (240-8), visiting Copdock & Old Ipswichian (153-4) moved off the bottom with an eight-point share of the draw, with the hosts taking 11.
After winning the toss, stand-in Mildenhall skipper Jon Allen elected to bat and his side soon ran up a convincing total, with Nicholas Smit starring with 107 from 148 deliveries alongside opener Darren Ironside's patient 55 from 113 balls.
Copdock were kept well in check in the reply, despite late scores from Donald Mlambo (48 not out) and Jacob Marston (35).
Jack Loveday took 2-55 but Ironside was the pick of the bowlers alongside Matt Allen with the former's seven overs costing just 13 runs while Allen conceded just 21 from his 11.
Burwell & Exning (221-8) held on to two wickets to take eight points from their home draw with Saffron Walden (335-8 dec), who went away with 17.
Zubayr Hamza (134) and Nikhil Gorantla (139) both smashed their way to centuries as the Essex side looked to be set for an away victory in east Cambridgeshire.
But a late half century from Joe Heather, his 58 coming from 81 deliveries, proved to be key as the hosts dug in doggedly with Matthew Jones, who had taken 2-66 with the ball, ending on 25 not out from facing 55 balls. Jay Ghelani was his partner with one from seven as time ran out for Saffron Walden to turn a draw into a victory.
Sudbury lie third-from-bottom after their match at Frinton-on-Sea was cancelled due to a damp outfield, leaving both sides to be awarded seven points.
Meanwhile, the league's management committee released a statement to clubs ahead of the weekend games saying that they have decided games postponed on Covid grounds will be treated in line with the regulation of cancelled games, meaning each side will be allocated seven points.
Their statement, in relation to three fixtures to date, said there is insufficient time in the fixture calendar to re-stage the games.
It is believed the table has now been updated.
Fixtures for Saturday (11am):
Bury St Edmunds Vs Great Witchingham
Copdock & Old Ipswichian Vs Sudbury
Horsford Vs Burwell & Exning
Mildenhall Vs Cambridge
Saffron Walden Vs Frinton-On-Sea
Swardeston Vs Sawston & Babraham