North Essex Cricket League

Weekly Round-Up

Week 9 (June 17th) - Halstead and Stebbing remain unbeaten, and a T20 thriller at Castle Park

A full programme in Division Two saw Halstead extend their winning start to four with a ten wicket victory at Braintree. Second placed Springfield and third place Witham remain in close contention, following wins at Chappel & Wakes Colne and Eight Ash Green respectively. While Abberton remain bottom following a defeat at Great Totham. In Division Three, Stebbing are the only unbeaten side left, recording their sixth straight win over previously unbeaten Kelvedon. Real Oddies are up to second following a home success against Cavaliers, and there was a first win of the campaign for West Bergholt courtesy of a Great Horkesley & Lexden concession, who remain rooted to bottom of the table. The one game in Division One, saw Copdock concede their home game to Clacton. The T20 East Division got underway on Thursday, with champions Wivenhoe running up 247 for 0 in their win over 7 Para. The army side were back in action on Sunday, in a three way festival at Castle Park, and came second against both Colchester and Ipswich, while the final match between the two winners during the day ended in a tie. There were individual centuries, for Brendan Louw (123no) and Jakob Kelly (103no) for Wivenhoe in their T20 game with 7 Para, while on Sunday Forster Mutizwa posted the second highest score of the season with an unbeaten 170 for Witham against Eight Ash Green. Springfield’s Noah Pothen (110no) scored the fourth century of the week in his sides victory over Chappel & Wakes Colne.

Division One
There was no cricket in Division One this weekend, as Copdock whose first team were involved in a National T20 competition were unable to fulfil their NECL game with Clacton resulting in a concession. No other dates were available for both clubs in the season to re-arrange, and at the same time the reverse fixture originally scheduled in April, which was cancelled at the time due to rain, was confirmed.

Division Two
Halstead remain in control at the top of Division Two, following a ten wicket victory over Braintree. Batting first after winning the toss the Dolphins struggled against some steady Halstead bowling. Opener, Nick Lockhart playing an anchor role at the top of the order with a top score of 33, eventually becoming the seventh man out. Louis Cant (22) and Matthew Hollingsworth (19) were the next highest scorers as Braintree were bowled out in the 37th over for 127. Callum Hansey was the stand out performer with the ball for Halstead, taking 4 for 26 from his nine overs, but there were good spells from Ed Clark (2 for 24 from 6) and Sam Walter (2 for 19 from 9) to back Hansey up. In reply, Liam Jones (55no) and Sam Chapman (68no) saw the league leaders race to victory in the nineteenth over.

Second placed Springfield kept the pressure on the leaders with a seven wicket victory at The Hobbies. Batting first after winning the toss, Chappel and Wakes Colne made excellent early progress through Zac Taylor (39 from 41) and Ross Wyatt (32 from 37), the pair putting on 85 for the first wicket in the first dozen overs. Charlie Prudence (2 for 35) claimed both their wickets, within a couple of runs of each other. Jacob Venter (29 from 27 balls) kept the momentum going for the home side, while Tris Moseley (42) eventually top scored from his middle order berth. Martin Southwell claimed both the wickets of Venter and Moseley, on his way to figures of 4 for 37, and with Shan Thevasakayam taking 2 for 32 the home side were bowled out at the end of the 38th over for 188. The Springfield reply was dominated by a masterful century from Noah Pothen, who scored an unbeaten 110 from just 60 balls, 92 runs coming in boundaries (20 x 4, and 2 x 6). The visitors raced to victory with seven overs to spare.

Witham remain in close proximity to the promotion places following a 110 run win over Eight Ash Green at Fordham Heath. Batting first, Jack Sambrook (54) and Zimbabwean Forster Mutizwa set up a big Witham score with a second wicket stand of 98. Carl Bragg (42) then added a further 143 for the third wicket as Mutizwa upped his run rate to reach three figures. In a hectic finale to his innings, Mutizwa brought up his third fifty from a mere 14 balls, including 28 off one over bowled by Ollie Stovell. Witham eventually reached 327 for 3, with Mutizwa unbeaten on 170, while Tom Jackson hit a lively 27 from 12 balls at the end of the innings. Bevin Guthrie (1 for 50 from 9) and Matt Parker (0 for 44 from 9) were the bowlers to suffer least damage. In reply, a rare appearance from Jack Smith (30) started the innings brightly, before he was unfortunately run out. Ollie Stovell (59) and James Parker (71no) both posted half centuries as the Green at least claimed full batting points, eventually closing on 217 for 7. Joe Allen (3 for 64) and Michael Glynn (2 for 30) were the most successful Witham bowlers.

Great Totham are fourth following a 37 run win over bottom of the table Abberton. Not much detail from this one as not on Play-Cricket yet, Totham scored 182 for 9 with skipper Josh Chadwick top scoring with 71. Abberton were bowled out for 145 in reply, with George Baron claiming 4 for 45.

Division Three
There appears to be no stopping the Stebbing bandwagon, as they made it six wins on the bounce and in the process ended Kelvedon & Feering’s unbeaten start. Winning the toss, Kelvedon batted first and skipper Dan Wheeler (98 from 61 balls) lead from the front, and was unlucky not to record a second successive NECL century, when stumped looking for the boundary to reach the landmark. Mick Warner (22) and Pat Ahearne (22) had both topped twenty earlier in the innings. Josh O’Connor (3 for 37) claimed Wheeler’s wicket, and with Simon Sargent (3 for 39) and Graeme Dewar (2 for 41) also in the wickets the home side reached 216 for 9 at the interval. In reply, a second wicket stand of 81 between O’Connor (65) and Henry Howarth (35) put the league leaders in a good position. Rowan Bird (45) kept the momentum in favour of the visitors, but when he fell within five runs of O’Connor, Stebbing still required 53. Simon Sargent and Graeme Dewar (17) edged Stebbing towards the victory target before another couple of wicket fell to Nick Claus (2 for 38). Sargent held his nerve with an unbeaten 33 and give Stebbing a four wicket victory with one ball to spare.

Real Oddies are now the closest of the chasing teams, following a third successive victory. Both the Oddies and Cavaliers went into the game with form behind them, having both won their previous two games, however, both sides could only muster ten players. Batting first the Oddies, were under early pressure as Raouf Rasheed (2 for 38) took two early wickets. Malien Mudalige (63) steadied the ship, and with contributions from Steve Johnston (21) and Mike Miller (25) they were able to post 162 for 8 from their 40 overs. The pick of the Cavaliers bowlers was Haji Nazeer Ahmed who claimed excellent figures of 3 for 25 from 9, but all five Cavaliers bowlers were able to claim success in the wickets column. Miller (2 for 28 from 9) and Ashok Sharma (4 for 28 from 9) then ended the game as a contest with a devastating opening spell which reduced Cavs to 56 for 6. Vinayakumar Gedi (20) patiently battled it out, but with Tim Boud (2 for 5) eventually claiming his wicket, and then that of skipper Craig Finch in quick succession the visitors were bowled out for 84.

West Bergholt have their first win of the season courtesy of a Great Horkesley & Lexden concession, leaving the Saxons at the bottom of the table.

T20 – East
The T20 festival on Sunday at Castle Park, saw Colchester & E.E. and Ipswich share the points during the day. In the opening game Colchester & E.E piled on 203 for 2 from their 20 overs against 7 Para. Both openers, Joe McGregor (53no) and Feroze Ahmed (53no from 17 balls – including 4 sixes) eventually retiring after posting half centuries. The rest of the innings was then dominated by Charlie Allison (46no from 39 balls) as Colchester reached an imposing interval score. In reply, there was a lively start from G Wilson (38 from 36 balls) and Charlie Bentley (23) also scored well as 7 Para reached 82 for 2. However, thereafter, wickets tumbled as Jack Crace (2 for 5), Joe Gooch (2 for 24) and Feroze Ahmed (3 for 8) saw the visitors contained to 120 for 9.

Ipswich started their T20 campaign with a 141 run win over 7 Para RHA at Castle Park. Batting first after winning toss Nicholas Johnson (45 from 30 balls) and a run a ball 28 from Rob Southall saw the Suffolk side quickly into their stride with an opening stand of 80 in nine overs. M Wigston, claimed both their wickets on his way to figures of 2 for 24 from 4. Dan Cummins (75 from 34 balls, including 13 fours) then bolstered the score, with a fourth wicket stand of 73 with Mark Burch (17 from 15 balls), as Ipswich closed at 206 for 5. In reply there was a brisk start from G Wilson (19 from 11 balls) and P Barker (17) putting on 30 for the first wicket in 22 balls. However, once the opening stand was broken wickets fell rapidly as 7 Para slumped to 65 all out. Sam Foster (3 for 4) and Nicholas Johnson (3 for 9) were the significant performers with the ball in a crushing victory.

The final game of the afternoon saw the first tie in the three year history of the T20 competition. Batting first Ipswich made good progress through Joe Rusby (32) and Mark Burch (57), the pair putting on a second wicket stand of 92. Michael Cursons (4 for 34) bowled a useful late innings spell, which eventually contained Ipswich to 167 for 8, Nicholas Johnson (19 from 11) adding a late flurry. Feroze Ahmed (27 from 16 balls) gave the town side a perfect start, and when Michael Cursons (68) and Joe McGregor were at the wicket together, victory seemed a formality, the pair putting on 100 for the second wicket, with just 21 required off the last four overs. The fourth last over was bowled by Jamie Greig, whose slow lobs, went for just three runs and claimed a wicket. Dan Cummins kept the next over down to just four runs, with the added bonus of having Andrew Kennedy caught on the longest boundary, such were the fine margins in the match a six would probably have swung it for Colchester. With 14 required from 12 balls, opening bowler Damien Smith returned, having been smashed for 34 in his previous two he only went for six in his third over. Eight were required for a win from the last over bowled by Cummins, two misfields from the first two balls saw four runs scored. Singles from the third, fourth and fifth ball left the scores level, but the final ball beat the bat and the game was tied. Colchester rueing giving away 28 extras, compared to Ipswich’s 5. Cummins ended with excellent death bowling figures of 2 for 15 from 3, while McGregor was undefeated on 56.

Action in the T20 East Division commenced on Thursday evening, as 7 Para RHA entertained reigning T20 champions Wivenhoe at the Garrison Ground. Batting first after winning the toss, Wivenhoe openers Brendon Louw (123no) and Jakob Kelly (103no) combined to put on an unbroken stand of 247 in the twenty overs. In reply, the army side were restricted to 96 for 8 from their 20 overs, with P Wilson (26), Tom Partridge (26no) and Jim Hall (20no) the only players to reach double figures. Miserly spells from Matt Durrell (0 for 11 from 4), James Butcher (2 for 12 from 4) and Joseph Nicholls (2 for 7 from 4) ensured any free scoring from the home side, although Michael Pulford did see his single over dispatched for 18.

Centuries and Five Wickets
Forster Mutizwa 170 * Witham v. Eight Ash Green
Brendan Louw 123 * Wivenhoe v. 7 Para RHA
Noah Pothen 110 * Springfield v. Chappel & Wakes Colne
Jakob Kelly 103 * Wivenhoe v. 7 Para RHA

Nomination for Performance of the Week
Noah Pothen 110no Springfield v. Chappel & Wakes Colne
Forster Mutizwa 170no Witham v. Eight Ash Green
Michael Cursons 68 & 4-34 Colchester & E.E. v. Ipswich T20
Brendan Louw & Jakob Kelly 247 no Wivenhoe v. 7 Para RHA T20

Congratulations to Galleywood’s Sam Adams whose T20 fivefor against Coggeshall (5 for 33) was adjudged performance of the week last weekend.

Next Week
Action starts tomorrow night with two games in the T20 East Division – Wivenhoe welcome Colchester & E.E to Rectory Road, while losing finalists in 2017, Mistley begin their campaign at home to 7 Para RHA, who complete their T20 schedule.
On Sunday, there are just six games scheduled – there is one game in Division One, as Mistley welcome Galleywood to New Road. In Division Two, there are two matches now, as leaders Halstead game at Eight Ash Green has been postponed until August 19th, so the match of the day sees second meet third at Springfield, with Witham the visitors. At The Brow, Abberton will be looking to get their account started as they host Chappel & Wakes Colne. In Division Three, Kelvedon & Feering will be hoping to get back to winning ways as they travel to West Bergholt, while Boxted do not have to travel too far, as they visit Cavaliers. In the T20 West Division, Coggeshall host Braintree at Harefield, play due to start there at 2pm.