EAPL round-up: Ben Claydon stars in memorable draw between Copdock & Old Ipswichian and Sudbury while Mildenhall loss sees Sawston & Babraham extend their lead
The spectators at Copdock & Old Ipswichian (277-9) on Saturday witnessed one of the best drawn Read Brothers Ltd East Anglian Premier League timed games of recent years as they mirrored Sudbury's 277-9 total.
It was a game which had three possible outcomes resting on the final delivery but also saw Suffolk's Ben Claydon put in a stunning display with both bat and ball to end with the coveted century and a fifer that included a hat-trick.
Invited to bat first in what had been a third-versus-fifth fixture, Sudbury got off to a fairly slow start and lost Adam Mansfield (0) in the third over before Darren Batch and Alex Quin (59) put on 125 for the second wicket. There was only 20 overs left when Quin departed at 128-2.
But the introduction of Ben Parker (30) followed by Kenny Moulton-Day (38 off just 19 balls) saw the run-rate increase whilst Batch steadily progressed to his century before being out with the score 265-6.
Batch’s century (104) was the first for the club in the EAPL since 2020.
Although wickets continued to fall, including a hat-trick from Claydon (57-5), the tail-enders progressed to post a competitive 277-9 from the maximum 64 overs.
Copdock’s reply started in a totally different style to the Talbot’s innings before Matt Wareing struck in the fourth over to remove the normally prolific Sam Arthurton for just 11.
Chris Harris struck some fine boundaries before Mansfield claimed his second catch as Chris Sturgeon had Harris (39) caught behind.
Claydon joined Alex Oxley and whilst the ball never dominated the run-rate gradually decreased.
Once Oxley (29) was out bowled by Lasith Lakshan, Mike Comber immediately showed his intent by dispatching his first ball for 6 and the chase was truly back on.
However, in the space of 14 balls the score went from 203-3 to 217-6 as Ben Reece struck three times including the wickets of Comber (42), skipper Jack Beaumont (0) and keeper Jacob Marston (0).
At the other end Claydon continued his fine knock as the target came into sight.
Reece claimed his fourth wicket, Thomas Harper (11), in the 52nd over meaning 40 runs were needed from four overs, which then became 28 from two overs.
The penultimate over from Sudbury skipper Paddy Sadler set up the fantastic finish as 15 runs were scored but two wickets also fell, including that of Claydon (106) who was caught at wide long on by an excellent diving catch from Lakshan.
One wicket or 13 runs from six balls needed for a victory, which soon became eight runs from two balls as Lakshan bowled to Luke Froggart.
The penultimate ball was despatched for 6 but probably should have been caught on the boundary as Kenny Moulton-Day misread the flight, meaning all three results were possible from the final delivery.
Froggart again went for a huge strike but this time could not get the ball aerial and Moulton-Day kept it down to just two runs.
The scores were now equal so out came the scorers’ handbook to determine that Sudbury gained 17 points and Copdock 14 points – moving the visitors up to fourth place.
Up at the top of the table, Sawston & Babraham (278-6) were able to increase their advantage by a further three points to 40 despite not winning for a third straight week – their latest draw coming at home to Witham (241-6).
Cambridgeshire’s white ball captain Callum Guest was the star of the show for the Rams.
He faced 207 balls for an unbeaten 140 not out, which included 15 fours.
Guest made a 132-stand with Luke Spears (45) for the second wicket, but 160-1 quickly became 179-4.
They eventually closed their innings on 278-6.
With the pitch not offering a great deal of assistance, particularly to the seamers, Witham openers Nick Browne
(53) and Michael Godwin put on a partnership to 105 (off 168 balls).
Godwin and Chris Huntington (44) moved things on to 147, and then Huntington and Cody Macdonald took it on to 173-3 before Peter Hatzoglou removed both within three balls.
Onke Nyaku then injected some urgency into the run-chase with a breezy 29 (from 14 balls).
The Warriors were nicely placed with six wickets in hand and needing 68 from the final 10 overs.
When Nyaku was stumped by Dan Heath with another good ball from George Darlow (two for 89), and Hatzoglou
added a third victim seven balls late, it signalled an end to the chase.
James Smith 26 not out (48 balls) and Kaan Hawes (5no) comfortably saw the innings to a close on 241-6.
It left the Rams with 14 points to their opponents' 10.
A century from Jack Potticary was not enough to prevent previously second-placed Mildenhall (208) from losing by five wickets at home to Frinton-on-Sea (209-5).
Opener Potticary was a mainstay of the Mildenhall innings, scoring more than half of his team’s runs before he eventually fell to the bowling of Blaine Bannister for 109.
Olly Jeffries (34) was the hosts’ second highest run scorer, with Tristan Blackledge (21) and skipper Darren Ironside (12) the only other batsmen to contribute double figure returns.
Frinton’s top three impressed during their reply as Joshua Rymall (24), Josh Frame (42) and Billy Amas (98) made a significant dent in the run chase.
Naveen Gunawardana (3-46) did his best with the ball, but his efforts were in vain as the away side got over the winning line in one ball shy of 46 overs.
The eight points for Mildenhall saw Copdock & Old Ipswichian move up above them into second place.
Meanwhile, Horsford (195, E Metcalf 79, S Rjaguru 5-64) beat visiting Swardeston (58, C Metcalf 7-28) by 137 runs to move to within a point of fifth-placed Bury St Edmunds, who were the side not in action.
Finally, Saffron Walden (249-3, N Taylor 118 not out, J Down 82) closed the gap to second-from-bottom Great Witchingham (243 S Valli 81, J Rhodes 63) to a single point.
Fixtures (Saturday, June 18)
Frinton-On-Sea v Swardeston
Horsford v Copdock & Old Ipswichian
Mildenhall v Sawston & Babraham
Saffron Walden v Bury St Edmunds
Sudbury v Great Witchingham
Week off: Witham