EAPL Round-up: Cambridge set to be relegated making Suffolk clubs safe while Sawston & Babraham take over at the top and Midenhall beat Bury St Edmunds
A host of clubs including Copdock & Old Ipswichian, Burwell & Exning, Horsford and Sudbury head into their final seven Read Brothers Ltd East Anglian Premier League matches knowing they are safe from the threat of relegation, following Cambridge’s enforced demotion.
The league’s management committee announced via a statement to clubs ahead of Saturday's fixtures that Cambridge will take the sole relegation spot regardless of their final standing, due to not meeting the requirement standards of a Premier League club.
Current sixth-placed Cambridge had apparently been asked to rectify the issue of not having three age group sides playing hardball cricket up to the age of under-15 over each of the last three seasons. But the issue remains unresolved and they will revert back to the feeder Cambridgeshire & Huntingdonshire Premier League next term as a result.
The statement ended saying "this will give the club the best opportunity to rebuild and return in the future".
The decision means Sudbury are among the clubs no longer playing for their EAPL future over the course of the run-in.
Despite having title ambitions heading into the campaign, Adam Mansfield’s side have only won two of their 12 completed matches this term.
Another draw saw the Talbots’ (317-6) winless run extended to 10 matches (five defeats) at home to fellow strugglers Burwell & Exning (262-8) on Saturday.
But the 17 points claimed, to their opponents’ 11, saw them move up to fourth from bottom (9th) – seven points off new basement side Copdock & Old Ipswchian.
After winning the toss at Friars Street, Mansfield opted to bat first.
The skipper then led from the front to top score with 89 before being run out.
There were also half centuries for club captain Darren Batch (64) and Suffolk star Ben Parker (55) in an encouraging total. Matthew Jones ended with figures of 2-41.
But the victory they craved proved elusive with Burwell & Exning hanging on to their remaining two wickets for the draw.
Olly Jefferies proved a thorn in the Sudbury bowlers’ side, hitting 94 from 103 balls.
Jonny Gallagher claimed 3-47 off 14 overs while Ryan Vickery took 2-44 off nine.
In the west Suffolk derby at Bury St Edmunds (98) it proved to be a case of 'After the Lord Mayor's Show' for the home side as they fell to only their third defeat of the campaign, by 175 runs to Mildenhall (273-9).
The previous evening had seen them beat a PCA England Legends team in a club and NHS fund-raising match in front of a big crowd with one ball to spare.
Mildenhall won the toss and accumulated 273 as the fielding and bowling fell below the normal high standard.
Darren Ironside top scored with 64 for the visitors while there were three wickets each for Josh Cantrell and Charlie Cook.
The Bury batting performance was very ordinary with Sean Park - the man-of-the-match the previous evening - battling 50 deliveries for 15. Alfie Marston made 20 and Cantrell 15 but being bowled out for 98 left them on the end of a disappointing derby defeat.
Ironside starred once again for Mildenhall, claiming 4-36, while Nicholas Smit took 3-17 as they bowled out their title-chasing opponents for 98 in under 30 overs.
With previous basement side Horsford (193) managing to beat Saturday morning's leaders Great Witchingham (117) by 76 runs, it left the door ajar for early season frontrunners Sawston & Babraham to take over at the top.
And the visiting Rams (285-7) seized their opportunity with a three-wicket success at Saffron Walden (283-6).
The hosts' Nikhil Gorantla frustrated Sawston's bowlers by ending on 103 not out from 100 deliveries.
But the runs flowed around the bastmen in the reply with Rishi Patel top scoring with 86 from 84 balls, while Ben Clilverd made 57 off 47. The draw was avoided as the winning target was passed with little more than an over in hand.
Elsewhere, Frinton-on-Sea (224-5) won at Copdock & Old Ipswichian (220) by five wickets to send the Suffolk side to the bottom of the table while set-to-be-relegated Cambridge (162) were beaten by 150 runs at Swardeston (312-7).
Fixtures for Saturday (11am):
Burwell & Exning Vs Saffron Walden
Cambridge Vs Bury St Edmunds
Frinton-On-Sea Vs Sudbury
Great Witchingham Vs Swardeston
Mildenhall Vs Copdock & Old Ipswichian
Sawston & Babraham Vs Horsford