North Essex Cricket League

Weekly Round-Up

Week 21 - September 1 - Clacton on the brink of first NECL title since 2007

Colchester & E.E. missed the chance to claim the Division One title on Sunday, with an eight wicket defeat at Clacton, which now leaves the Seasiders in pole position for their first NECL title since 2007. In Division Two, Springfield are now on top of the table following a 44 run win in a high scoring win at Witham, where Charlie Prudence (196) hit his second big century of the season, and Carl Bragg (118) also hit a tom in the reply. Kelvedon still have a say in the destiny of the title, following a comfortable win over relegation threatened Stebbing, Ed King scoring a century in that one. In Division Three, Sudbury are promoted following Great Horkesley’s defeat at home to West Bergholt. Great Totham were 79 run winners over Eight Ash Green, with Harry Cooper (108) top scoring, and will claim the championship with victory over West Bergholt next week.

 

The stakes were high at Vista Road on Sunday, with effectively a winner takes all match in Division One, as Clacton entertained Colchester & E.E. The visitors won the toss and elected to bat in a shortened 35 over game, following a football tournament over running at the venue. Four wickets in three overs shaped the Colchester innings, with Matthew O’Brien (3 for 32) and Brad Pitts (1 for 25) reducing Colchester to 26 for 4 in the 7th over, of which opener Feroze Ahmed (18) had started off in lively fashion. Guy Haines (59) with support from Tom Jasinski (10), Jamie McCarroll (11) and George Offord (10) lifted the visitors over the hundred mark, but when he was seventh man out to Kieron Parkes (3 for 27), the end came rapidly as Harlan Greig (2 for 25) and Parkes mopped up the tail to see Colchester bowled out for 131 at the end of the 34th over. In reply, Clacton lost Parkes early, before Tom Sinclair (48no) and Greig (35) put on a rapid second wicket stand of 60 to put Clacton in the ascendancy. Brad Pitts (28no) then joined Sinclair in an unbroken third wicket stand of 58 to see Clacton to an eight wicket success in 24 overs.

In Division Two, Springfield have reached the summit of the table and have the championship in their own hands following a 44 run win at Witham, in a high scoring game. Batting first, an unbeaten 196 from Charlie Prudence was the stand out performance of the Springfield innings. Noah Pothen (39) and Andrew Blundell (22) gave him support down the order as Springfield posted 282 for 5. Carl Bragg (1 for 25 from 8) was the only Witham bowler to come away largely unscathed from Prudence’s onslaught. Witham made a valiant response with the top order giving them every chance of chasing down the score. Michael Godwin (37) and Lewis Hart (31), supporting Carl Bragg (118) as they started their reply. Tony Ashurst (2 for 47) claimed the vital wicket of Bragg, which opened up the middle order to Martin Southwell (4 for 55). Matt Hart (23no) and Ben Tinham (10no) were the only other batsmen to reach double figures as Witham closed at 238 for 9.

Kelvedon still have a say in the destiny of the title, particularly as their last game of the season will see them entertain Springfield. On Sunday, they were comfortable winners over relegation threatened Stebbing. Ed King and Matt Sexton (59) gave Kelvedon an excellent start with an opening stand of 183. King (105) was the only other success for the Stebbing bowlers, as Josh Bibby (35no) and a generous 40 extras saw Kelvedon post 244 for 2 from their 40 overs. The Kelvedon bowlers then kept their foot on the throat of the Stebbing batsmen as the visitors were dismissed for just 118, of which Josh O’Connor (42 off 37 balls) top scored. Lewis Cookson (3 for 29), Harry Ratcliffe (3 for 29), William Rice (2 for 7) and Max Brown (2 for 18) sharing the wickets.

In Division Three, Great Horkesley & Lexden capitulated to a defeat which saw them only accumulate three points, which not only scuppered their championship hopes, but saw Sudbury claim the first promotion place. Although the match was a home game for the Saxons it was played at West Bergholt, and if was former Horkesley players that were to be the thorn in the Saxons side. Former player Allan Coneybeare (44) top scored for West Bergholt, and enjoyed a fourth wicket stand of 51 with Sureshraj Anandraj (21). Harvey Borges (23no) and Matt Elmalahleh (14) helped Bergholt to reach 149 for 7 from their 40 overs. The wickets were shared around for Horkesley & Lexden, with Hamza Pasha (2 for 6) returning the best figures, although Jon Jones (1 for 16 from 9) should be commended for his economic spell. West Bergholt upset Sudbury on their own patch a couple of weeks ago, and were again in spoilsport mood, as the Saxons struggled in their reply. Only Shaun Hassan (29) and Jones (23) past twenty, as Matthew Coneybeare (3 for 12) and Shiraz Amin (2 for 28) claimed early wickets, following Joe Smith’s (0 for 15 from 9) pressure building new ball spell. Owen Jones (4 for 32) then made light work of the tail as the visitors slumped to 92 all out and defeat by 57 runs.

Great Totham are now favourites for the title, a win in their last game sealing the deal, although that is at home to West Bergholt. At home on Sunday to Eight Ash Green, Totham were in ruthless mood, with Harry Cooper (108 from 58 balls) and Rob Hewer putting on a second wicket stand of 177 as the home side looked set for a big score. Hewer (95) fell five short of century himself, with Troy Collins (3 for 52) claiming his wicket. Jonathan Hewer (36 from 27) and James Pook (43no from 17 balls) added a final flourish as Totham topped 300 to finish on 305 for 5. Wickets fell all too regularly for the Green in their reply, and at 94 for 7 it looked like an early finish was on the cards. However, a 66 run partnership for the eighth wicket between Ollie Stovell (36) and Alex Hammond, and then a last wicket stand of 62 between Hammond (82 from 51) and Jens Wair (26no) saw the visitors up to 226 all out, and a maximum five batting points. Daniel Quartermaine (2 for 21 from 9), Jonathan Hewer (2 for 29), Jacob Slater (2 for 29) and James Hay (2 for 46) all claimed a brace of wickets for the victorious Totham side.

Centuries and Five Wickets
Charlie Prudence 196 * Springfield v. Witham
Carl Bragg 118 Witham v. Springfield
Harry Cooper 108 Great Totham v. Eight Ash Green
Ed King 105 Kelvedon v. Stebbing

Performance of the Week
Charlie Prudence 196no Springfield v. Witham
Harry Cooper 108 off 58 Great Totham v. Eight Ash Green
Ed King 105 Kelvedon v. Stebbing
Owen Jones 4 for 32 West Bergholt v. Great Horkesley & Lexden

Next Week
The Division One championship will be decided with the final two games of the season. Clacton will be champions with a win at home to Mistley, however, any slip ups by them will leave the gate open for reigning champions Wivenhoe who host Galleywood. If both sides lose and they fail to pick up sufficient bonus points then Colchester & E.E. could be unlikely champions. In Division Two, Springfield and Kelvedon both host relegation threatened sides in their quest for the Division Two title, although Springfield’s game with Stebbing is being played at Stebbing. Kelvedon welcome Witham to Rye Mill Lane, a win will lift them into the top two. Finally in Division Three, all eyes will be on Bull Meadow, where Great Totham will be champions if they beat West Bergholt (who have claimed the scalps of other champion contenders Sudbury and Great Horkesley & Lexden in recent weeks). Great Horkesley & Lexden can still get promoted but it will depend on a Totham defeat, and they win their last two games which start at Eight Ash Green on Sunday.