North Essex Cricket League

Weekly Round-Up

Week 20 - August 27 & 28

All four teams and the umpires

A glorious Bank Holiday weekend in terms of sunshine and temperatures, saw the first silverware of the season claimed. On Sunday in the forty over competition, Braintree were crowned Division Four champions, albeit in rather farcical fashion as Great Braxted & Tiptree conceded at the ground ! On Monday an excellent days T20 and superb hospitality from Colchester & E.E, saw Wivenhoe crowned as NECL T20 champions for 2017. Castle Park also witnessed a run fest on Sunday, where Frinton kept the Division One title hopes alive by chasing down 299 for 8 against Colchester, it was the third biggest run chase since 1989. In Division Two, it is now a two horse race for the title after Chappel & Wakes Colne defeated ten man Halstead – Chappel will be hoping Halstead can defeat Copdock next week, and limit them to less than five points, while they win their remaining games. There was an excellent effort by eight man Stebbing, who went down by 61 runs chasing Ardleigh’s 233 for 3. While Great Totham were beneficiaries this week of a Gosfield concession. In Division Three, there was just the one game in mid table, where West Bergholt defeated Kelvedon by 7 wickets.
Individually, there were three centuries, not surprisingly in a game boasting 600 runs two centuries came at Castle Park, as Feroze Ahmed (156) of Colchester and Kemar Smith (146) of Frinton, scored the bulk of their sides totals. Ardleigh’s Kurt Lamont (119no) was the other centurion.

T20 Finals Day

Bathed in sunshine on an August Bank Holiday Monday, Castle Park was an idyllic venue for the 2017 NECL T20 Finals Day. It was just a question of whether the match balls would arrive in time, but thankfully ten minutes before the start time of the semi finals the Chairman arrived with said luminous balls. The Semi Finals produced two excellent games for different reasons, while the Final probably did not live up to the intensity of the action earlier in the day.

The main pitch Semi Final saw Little Bardfield Village take on Mistley. Batting first after losing the toss, Mistley, after nine overs were 85 for no wicket, largely through James Stamatis (65). The last eleven overs then produced just 48 runs, without any boundaries, with just fellow opener George Hutton (20) the next top scorer for the Swans, as they were pegged back by Little Bardfield Village through the bowling of Daryl Hymas (3 for 17) and Ian Catley (2 for 10) to finish on just 132 for 7 from their 20 overs. However, tight bowling and fielding at the beginning of the innings from Stamatis (0 for 15 from 4) and Tim Scott (1 for 16 from 4), restricting Bardfield to 22 for 0 from the powerplay, compared to Mistley's 59 for 0 proved decisive. The equation came down to 81 from the last eight overs, and despite a 23 run over off Charlie Hawthorn (2 for 34), which included 10 wides and a six, 40 were still required from the last five. Wickets for Michael Johnston (1 for 27) and James Scott (1 for 20) then enabled Mistley to defend what had seemed an inadequate total with 15 required from the last over, of which Little Bardfield only got six ending on 124 for 7 with Ian Catley (43) and Tom Graham (20) top scoring, to lose by 8 runs. 

On the second pitch, Wivenhoe and Kelvedon played out an entertaining Semi Final which produced 421 runs. Wivenhoe took first knock and it was antipodean Liam Hope-Shackley who set the tone with a blistering 55 off of 21 balls, being second man out with the score on 74 in the fifth over. Matt Durrell then dominated the rest of the innings with unbeaten 87 from 45 balls, and enjoying stands with James Butcher (20), Zac Taylor (16) and Liam Evers 14no, as Wivenhoe posted a massive 221 for 5. In reply Kelvedon gave it really good go, with Ryan Vickery (51 off of 26 balls) leading the way at the top of the order. Mid order contributions from Dan Wheeler (24), Thata Tshose (20), Josh Parsons (47) and Charlie Watts (25) kept the game on the boil, with 35 runs required from the last three overs with four wickets in hand. The demise of Parsons to a stumping by Jordan Nicholls off the bowling of Liam Holyman (2 for 16) signalled the start of the end, as Kelvedon were bowled out at the beginning of the 20th over for 200. Scott Facey (2 for 6) and Joe Nicholls (2 for 31) also picked up a pair of wickets in the Wivenhoe bowling effort.

The final was an anti climax after two absorbing semis, Mistley winning the toss elected to bat first and saw only two of their players break twenty, James Stamatis (30) at the top of the order, and an entertaining Tim Scott (24 from 16 balls – which included three sixes) in the middle of the order. The Wivenhoe bowling was much more in control than in their semi final, with some tidy returns, James Butcher (0 for 16 from 4) and Matt Durrell (0 for 17 from 4) applying the shackles. Man of the match Liam Holyman (3 for 28 and two run outs) and wickets for Joe Nicholls and Jakob Kelly, and a further run out saw Mistley slump to 97 all out. An early wicket was essential for Mistley, and Tim Scott provided just that in the first over dismissing Scottt Facey for a duck. However, thereafter Wivenhoe dominated proceedings as Liam Hope-Shackley (24) and a third wicket stand of 59 between Jakob Kelly and Matt Durrell (33) eased Wivenhoe towards the target. Hoe skipper Kelly carried his bat for an unbeaten 29, striking the winning runs with a boundary at the beginning of the eleventh over, to register a seven wicket success.

A special mention should be given to the members and groundsmen of Colchester & E.E for their hospitality for the Finals Day.

Photos from the Bank Holiday Finals by David Lamming

Division One
There was a remarkable game at Castle Park on Sunday in Division One, where Frinton kept alive their title hopes with the third highest run chase since 1989 in the competition. Batting first Colchester were indebted to a fine innings from opener Feroze Ahmed (156), supported by the top order in Joe Laver (24), Alex Berry (31) and skipper Keir Young (44) as they accumulated 299 for 8 from their 40 overs. Dominic Stockdale (2 for 25), Kemar Smith (2 for 61) and Lewis Catlow (2 for 62) picked up a brace each for the visitors. In reply, the Frinton openers destroyed the Colchester opening bowlers, flailing to all parts of the ground as they made the run chase a relative formality reaching 182 for 0 in 13 overs. Jamie Barry (3 for 55) made the breakthrough claiming the wicket of Alfie Wells (61), but Sam Brynes (44) kept the onslaught going with Kemar Smith. Smith eventually fell for an excellent 146, to leave Jack Oakes (25no) and Ryan Harrington (15no) to complete a five wicket victory, with incredibly seven and a half overs in hand.

Division Two
Chappel & Wakes Colne took a major step towards Division One, with an emphatic victory over promotion rivals Halstead at The Hobbies. Batting first Chappel got off to a rapid start through skipper Chris Carter (35 from 37) in an opening half century partnership with the returning Ross Wyatt. The recently married Wyatt (71) then built a second wicket stand of 80 with Jack Perfect-Brown (48) to put the home side in the ascendancy. Zac Taylor (25) and Laurence Ingram (13) added rapid cameos as Chappel closed at 233 for 8. Aaron Read (2 for 27 from 9) was the pick of the Halstead bowlers, while there were doubles for Matthew Cooper (2 for 34) and Callum Hansey (2 for 45). In reply, only opener Harry Pritchard (57) and number three Taylor Nicholson (20) reached double figures as ten man Halstead toppled to 97 all out. Henry Dow (3 for 19 from 9), Harry Carter (2 for 15) and Zac Taylor (2 for 24) were principal wicket takers.

Ardleigh confirmed their Division two status for another season, with a 61 run win over eight man Stebbing. Kurt Lamont (119no) and Martin Hobbs (49) were largely responsible for Ardleigh’s score of 233 for 3. In reply, a half century from Adrian Farr (55) and Kevin Meakin (45) got the home side up to a respectable 172 for 7. Unfortunately, the game is lacking any further detail as it has not been uploaded to Play-Cricket, costing Stebbing another fine for a basic admin error.

Great Totham picked up twenty points following their win by concession over Gosfield.

Division Three
A mid table game between West Bergholt and Kelvedon saw the hosts comfortably prevail by seven wickets. Batting first there were useful contributions from Ed King (45), Martin Sleet (29) and Ryan Sleet (29) in the Kelvedon total of 162 for 7. Bergholt gave all ten outfield bowlers a bowl, with the most impressive return coming from Lee Parish (2 for 19 from 9). In reply Bergholt cruised to victory with just over six overs in hand, as Dan Grice (64no) and Matt Rogers (59) combined in a match winning third wicket stand of 111.

Division Four
Braintree are Division Four champions following a very late and seemingly farcical concession by Great Braxted & Tiptree. The match was re-arranged from July, when GBT were also unable to raise a side, but Braintree agreed to get the game on and the new date was agreed. Both sides were struggling for players and a nine a side match was scheduled prior to the game, unfortunately two drops out for GBT meant that they travelled with seven. When arriving at the game, two of the seven then refused to play with seven and went home, taking a younger member of the side with them who relied on one of them for a lift. Obviously with four players now at the ground the game was no longer viable, and GBT conceded. Unfortunately, for the visitors it resulted in a ten point deduction under Rule 15b, for a second and subsequent concession, as well as a ten point deduction under Rule 15B for a late call off.

Centuries and Five Wickets
Feroze Ahmed 156 Colchester & E.E. v. Frinton
Kemar Smith 146 Frinton v. Colchester & E.E.
Kurt Lamont 119 * Ardleigh v. Stebbing

NECL Performance of the Week (30 votes)
Feroze Ahmed 156 Colchester & E.E. v. Frinton    40%
Matt Durrell 87* Wivenhoe v. Kelvedon                  27%
Kurt Lamont 119* Ardleigh v. Stebbing                   20%
Kemar Smith 146 Frinton v. Colchester & E.E.       13%

Next Week
The final month of the season begins with a packed programme for the first weekend of September, and more promotions and relegations sure to be confirmed. Play begins on Friday evening with a 5.30pm start, as Colchester & E.E. welcome Elmstead to Castle Park for a T20 game in Division One. On Sunday, all matches start at 12.30pm, and in Division One second placed Frinton will be looking to put more pressure on the leaders Wivenhoe as they travel to Eight Ash Green. Elmstead welcome Great Horkesley & Lexden, while Clacton host Colchester & E.E. In Division Two, Copdock & OI will claim the title if they pick up five points against third placed Halstead. Second placed Chappel will be hoping Halstead can do the honours and defy Copdock, but must win at home to Witham to stay in the race. Stebbing already have the points following Gosfield’s concession. In Division three, leaders Galleywood make the long trip to Harwich looking to take a step closer to the title. Kelvedon host Chappel & Wakes COlne seconds, while West Bergholt welcome Cavaliers. In Division Four, champions Braintree welcome Great Horkesley & Lexden 2nds, third placed Coggeshall are home to Boxted, while Tendring welcome Great Braxted & Tiptree.