EAPL Round-up: Burwell & Exning stun Frinton-on-Sea, Sawston & Babraham and Great Witchingham maintain perfect starts while Bury St Edmunds and Mildenhall lose theirs
The third weekend of action in the Read Brothers Ltd East Anglian Premier League showed once again how closely matched sides are with two of the four unbeaten records now gone and just two sides left without a victory to their name.
Just Sawston & Babraham and Great Witchingham have a perfect three from three while Cambridge and Frinton-on-Sea remain winless.
Having started the new campaign with back-to-back defeats, Burwell & Exning (261-9) pulled off the weekend's standout result with a 47-run victory at home to reigning (2019) champions Frinton-on-Sea (214).
Batting first at their Exning Park base, opener Olly Jefferies departed without a run on the board for Burwell & Exning, but captain Tom Griffiths (33) and overseas addition Tony de Zorzi (31) steadied the early wobble.
However, it was the performance of wicketkeeper Joe Tetley that pushed the home side on. He hit nine 4s on his way to a score of 89, with the likes of Alex Woolliscroft (23) and Matt Jones (18) offering support towards the backend of the innings.
The Frinton reply got off to an impressive start as openers Tom Sinclair and Jack Newby frustrated the Burwell & Exning bowling attack.
But once the latter was dismissed, caught and bowled by Woolliscroft for 55, wickets started to fall at regular intervals.
Both Jones (3-28) and Luke Du-Plooy (3-23) caught the eye with impressive spells to prevent Frinton from building any genuine moment and their innings eventually petered out with 45 overs bowled.
Visiting Sawston & Babraham (351-6) made it three wins from three to condemn fellow title hopefuls Sudbury (206-9) to a 145-run defeat at Friars Street.
Rams captain Dan Heath won the toss and elected to bat buoyed by the early season form of his batting unit.
Waqas Hussain again got a start but was once again dismissed relatively cheaply with the score on 31.
Fellow opener Matthew Hague then registered his second half-century score of the season when he added 51 with Noah Thain.
Hague departed after scoring exactly 50 (from 58 balls) when he became the first of Darren Batch’s five victims.
Thain was joined by Sawston vice-captain and inform batter Callum Guest and the pair added a magnificent 180 for the third wicket. Guest contributed 104 to the partnership in just 88 balls, including 13 fours and one six. Sixteen-year-old Thain added 68 from 76 balls as he registered his maiden 50 for the Club. The pair's hundred partnership was made off just 118 balls.
They then hit the accelerator as the next 50 came off 27 balls and the final 30 off just 19 balls.
Batch claimed the scalps of both Guest and Thain (88) and Guest’s debutant brother Ethan as Sudbury fought back to reduce the Rams from 262-3 to 266-5.
This proved to be a bad move as Tim Moses and Ben Clilverd were brought together and they added 73 for the sixth wicket in just 22 balls. Moses made 45 from just 13 balls (three 4s and five 6s) and his partner an unbeaten 26 from just balls balls (four 4s, one 6).
Batch removed Moses to gain his fifth wicket but at a cost of 109 runs from his allocation of 10 overs.
It was just left to James Vandepeer to dispatch the last three balls for 12 runs as Sawston finished on a season’s best of 351-6. Jonathan Gallagher was the only other wicket-taker for Sudbury (1-60).
The hosts' hopes of chasing down the total were hampered by an injury to skipper and top order batsman Adam Mansfield who was unable to bat.
Vandepeer made an initial breakthrough when makeshift opener Sean Cooper was dismissed on 19. Alex Quinn and Batch then added 40 for the second wicket before Mark Smith removed Quinn (21).
The in-form Ben Parker then joined Batch and a further 32 were added.
Clilverd removed Parker, Batch and ex-Sawston junior Adam Dellar in quick succession, when Ethan Guest added a debut wicket 117-3 had become 140-6.
Kenny Moulton-Day then replicated some of the first innings late order fireworks as he plundered 54 from just 19 balls (four 4s, six 6s).
Ethan Guest enjoyed his bowling debut much more than his batting one, helped himself to (3-17), as he and Clilverd (3-59) shared the bowling plaudits with Vandepeer (2-69).
The Sudbury innings closed on 206-9. Sawston’s margin of victory being reduced to 129 runs following a DLS adjustment and a reduction of four overs.
Bury St Edmunds (201) saw their winning start come to an end at Copdock & Old Ipswichian (230-6) in a match which was a mirror image of the visitors' match seven days previously. On that occasion Swardeston were in a good position to win but ultimately came up short.
Bury captain Ben Seabrook won the toss and decided to bowl. Copdock started well putting on 47 for the first wicket which was broken by superb fielding by Sean Park – a direct hit left Ben Claydon short of the crease.
Soon after former Bury youngster Alex Oxley was caught by wicketkeeper Alfie Marston off Josh Cantrell and Thomas Harper bowled by Max Dias to leave the hosts 57-3.
Suffolk captain Jack Beaumont batted well with Chris Swallow taking the score to 122. A bowling change brought Alistair Allchin back on and he had Beaumont LBW for 63 and soon after bowled Donald Mlambo for one.
But the home side battled well, losing Swallow for 47 well caught on the boundary by Dias. The final score after 50 overs was 230-6 with Jacob Marston not out on 55.
Bury's reply started slowly with Seabrook in good form well supported by young Hugh Stanton.
As the score moved along Bury were well on top, Stanton was out for 27 caught by Beaumont off Claydon with the scoreboard on 93.
On 101-1 down came a shower of rain and after a break the game resumed with the pitch, although covered, playing different and with a damp outfield and match ball, the match changed.
Copdock made the best of the conditions with their senior spin bowlers Beaumont and Swallow taking the pace off the ball. The big break through was Seabrook being out to a very good bowl from Claydon on 120-2.
At 153-3 debutant Matt Doran was out, caught by wicketkeeper Marston for 14. Cantrell followed on the same score, well caught deep on the boundary by Thomas Harper off Swallow for 27.
The score progressed as the visitors fell behind on the Duckworthh/Lewis formula with further rain possible.
Wickets fell as the visiting middle and late order came and went and a game in which they had been well placed was lost, Bury being bowled out for 201 losing by 29 runs. Beaumont ended with 4-37 and Swallow 4-30 to ensure both teams left with records of two wins from their opening three matches.
A first Mildenhall (226) century for Jake Potticary was not enough to prevent Saturday’s 63-run defeat at Swardeston (286-7) - ending their winning start.
While visiting Mildenhall far from disgraced themselves at The Common, it was a case of the hosts being superior in every department.
Swardeston’s top six accumulated 249 runs, while Mildenhall’s equivalent contributed a total of 189, despite Potticary’s (101) heroics with the bat.
Matt Allen also bowled well for Mildenhall, removing four of Swardeston’s top seven batsmen to end his 10 overs with figures of 4-41.
In the remaining two matches, there was a 26-run DLS win for Horsford (219-8) (W Rogers 82, L Findlay 70) at Manor Park against visiting Cambridge while Great Witchingham (195-9, J Hale 83no) won a tight affair at Saffron Walden (194-9, G Ecclestone 97 no) by one wicket, having played 48.2 overs of their allocated 50.
Fixtures for May 8 (11am)
Burwell & Exning vs Sudbury
Cambridge vs Swardeston
Frinton-On-Sea vs Copdock & Old Ipswichian
Great Witchingham CC vs Horsford
Mildenhall CC, Suffolk vs Bury St Edmunds
Sawston & Babraham vs Saffron Walden