Weekly Round-Up

Week 18 - August 13

Almost a full programme of scheduled matches in Week 18 of the NECL, which sees the first relegation confirmed. In Division One, there was a first defeat for Wivenhoe, who went down by 16 runs at home to neighbours Elmstead. The result throws the title race open, with both champions Frinton and Elmstead now in the mix. Frinton were eight wicket winners at home to Great Horkesley & Lexden, while Colchester & E.E. were six wicket winners at Mistley. In Division Two, Copdock need 25 points from their remaining two fixtures to claim the title after they won at home to Ardleigh, while second placed Halstead were going down to a shock defeat at Witham. It could have been even better for the leaders, as third placed Chappel & Wakes Colne got over the line by one wicket at Great Totham. In Division Three, Galleywood kept the pressure on leaders Springfield with a 43 run victory at home to Kelvedon. Abberton are up to third following a 79 run win at Harwich, which condemns the home side to relegation. West Bergholt leap frogged Chappel & Wakes Colne seconds with a comprehensive 118 run victory. There were wins for the top three in Division Four, so it is as you were, with Braintree remaining favourites to take the title. The Dolphins, were 70 run victors over Tendring. Second placed Real Oddies were given the afternoon off, after Great Horkesley & Lexden seconds conceded for the fourth time this season, a concession which confirms the Saxons as the holders of the Wooden Spoon. Third placed Coggeshall lost five wickets in chasing down Great Braxted & Tiptree’s 176.
Two big centuries this week were the headline performances, with West Bergholt’s Dan Wheeler (156) leading the way in his sides win at Chappel. Harry Bailey (146no) of Copdock was equally dominant in his sides win at home to Ardleigh. Coggeshall’s Kane Addison (6 for 39) returned the bowling performance of the week, while Elmstead’s Ryan Vickery (5 for 27) was the other five for over the weekend.

Division One
Elmstead have opened up the Division One title race by defeating leaders Wivenhoe at Rectory Road. Craig Perrin (35), supported by Dan White (20) and Ryan Vickery (21) gave Elmstead a solid enough start at the top of the order, but it was the middle order contribution from Aidan O’Brien (50) and Josh Elliott (44no) that lifted the visitors to 208 for 8 at tea. Matt Durrell (3 for 36) and Liam Holyman (3 for 67) both picked up three wickets for the leaders. In reply, all seemed well for Wivenhoe with Durrell (93) supported by Liam Hope-Shackley (22) and James Butcher (52) putting the home side in a strong position. However, the dismissals of Durrell to Aidan O’Brien (2 for 32) and Butcher to Dan White (1 for 37), opened up the tail, which former Wivenhoe man Ryan Vickery exploited by taking 5 for 27, as the Hoe slumped to 192 all out and defeat by 16 runs.

Second placed Frinton took full advantage of Wivenhoe’s slip up by recording their seventh straight win, with an eight wicket success at home to Great Horkesley & Lexden. The game was reduced to 35 overs per side due to the volume of traffic getting down to the coast on a sunny Sunday afternoon. The visitors took first knock and saw some steady performances at the top of the order as Nihal Jayasooriya (31 from 49) and Naveed Maan (31 from 63) put on a good second wicket stand of 55. David Taylor (61no from 50) then single handily took the attack to the Frinton bowlers as the Saxons reached 171 for 7. Kemar Smith (3 for 37) and Lewis Catlow (2 for 37) were the most successful of the Frinton bowlers. In reply a second wicket stand of 121 in thirteen overs between Tom Sinclair and the aggressive Alfie Wells (68 from 39 balls) made the run chase a formality. Sinclair (55no) and Miguel Machado (23no) then completed the victory with an unbeaten third wicket stand of 44 as Frinton eased to victory in 22 overs.

Colchester & E.E strengthened their position in the top four, as they completed a double over Mistley. Mistley won the toss and batted first and were bowled out in 30 overs for 162. Daniel Goff (55 from 29 balls) at the top of the order was their top scorer, while Stuart Dove (26) was the only other player to top twenty. Max Dias (3 for 17) and Greg Stephens (3 for 0) were the most successful bowlers, while Jamie Barry backed up his 2 for 41, by pouching four catches. In reply, Simon Fernandes (64no) and Joe Laver (28) put on a tidy opening stand of 61 to give Colchester a solid start. The fireworks then came from Ollie Bocking who smashed 42 from 15 balls, including five sixes, as Colchester raced to a six wicket victory in 23 overs.

Division Two
No shocks for leaders Copdock & OI in Division Two, as they overcame eight man Ardleigh by 162 runs. A second wicket stand of 120 between Harry Bailey and Archie Wilkinson (88) set the home side up for a mammoth total of 325 for 5. Bailey (146no) going on to complete his third NECL century of the season, as Daniel Leggett (23), Nick Meakin (20) and Stuart Boulter (13no) assisted him in the later overs. Peter Weatherill (2 for 78) was the most successful of the Ardleigh, but credit must be given to the eight men for sticking to their task. In reply, Ardleigh did survive the full forty overs, with their talisman Kurt Lamont (80) again top scorer, and a solid fifth wicket stand of 70 with Graham Cole (23). Five bowlers took a wicket each, with the stand performance coming from Sam Webb-Snowling who claimed 1 for 14 from his full nine over quota.

Halstead’s hopes of taking the title race to Copdock on September 3rd, were dealt a heavy blow at The Park as Witham beat them by five wickets. There were no early problems for Halstead as openers Harry Pritchard (53) and Ben Roper (27) put on 75 for the first wicket in quick time. However, the innings then lost its way as Scott Pringle (2 for 26) and Ollie Cooke (2 for 45) helped reduced Halstead to 127 for 5. Joe Morris (51no) struck a run a ball fifty in the latter stages of the innings as Halstead closed at 192 for 6. Michael Godwin (53) set off like a train at the beginning of the Witham innings, before becoming third man out with the score on 89. Jack Sambrook (38) had partnered him in a third wicket stand of 55. Halstead were arguably favourites when Witham were reduced to 108 for 5, with Charlie Douglas-Hughes (2 for 38) and Ben Roper (2 for 25) in the wickets. However, an unbeaten sixth wicket stand of 87 between Carl Bragg (55no) and Stuart Facey (36no) saw the home side home with 13 balls to spare.

There was a tight finish at Bull Meadow, where third placed Chappel & Wakes Colne claimed a nervous one wicket victory over Great Totham. Totham’s runs came largely from the bat of opener John Chadwick (49) and the middle order, led by Rob Hewer (50), as they posted 211 for 9 from their 40 overs. There were two wickets a piece for Harry Bryant (2 for 29), Jack Perfect-Brown (2 for 49) and Harry Carter (2 for 50). In reply, skipper Chris Carter (73) out of 113 led from the top of the order. The rest of the innings was bits and bobs with five of the top six reaching double figures, but not going on to score the big score that would make the win more comfortable. Rob Mutton (3 for 54) and Jonathan Hewer (2 for 48) saw the visitors reduced to 183 for 8 and 202 for 9 to set up an exciting finale. Chappel number eleven Nigel Swain (9no) was up to the task finding the boundary twice as Chappel completed a tight win. TJ Venter (20no) building important stands with Joe Hearn (9) and Swain for the ninth and tenth wicket.

Division Three
Galleywood are keeping the pressure on leaders Springfield in the Division Three title race, and were 49 run winners over Kelvedon on Sunday. Solid knocks from the Galleywood middle order led by Ben Rayner (53) and Dan McIntyre (40), with cameos from Mike Gray (29) and Tim Detheridge (22no), set the home side up for their total of 192 for 8. Lee Scott (4 for 24) helped the visitors battle back in the closing stages of the innings. The Kelvedon reply was kept in check by the efficient Galleywood bowling attack. Zack Hicks (1 for 10 from 6) bowling a tight spell first up, before Tom Moss (2 for 24 from 8) and Dan McIntyre (2 for 21) got amongst the wickets. Thata Tshose (33) top scored for Kelvedon, while Lee Scott (26), Matt Sexton (22no) and James Reid (21) all topped twenty in their total of 149 for 8.

Defeat for Kelvedon and a healthy win for Abberton at Harwich & Dovercourt, saw the Lions climb back up to third place. Sadly for Harwich defeat condemns them to relegation to Division Four. The top four batsmen for Abberton did the business for the visitors, all posting forties, as the side posted 212 for 6. Openers Ryan Brooks (40) and Aaron Trussler (42), were followed up by skipper Chris Pettit (49) and George Arnold (42). Harvey Bennett backed up his four wicket haul last week by claiming another three wickets on his way to figures of 3 for 33 from 9. In reply, Harwich were bowled out for 133, with only Jamie King (38) and Sam Felgate (33) mustering any scores of note. For Abberton there was a welcome return to action after being sidelined for eleven weeks, for Steve Whitfield, who after a rusty start returned to his normal service of ‘strangler’ ways to take 3 for 29. Andrew Sullivan (3 for 12), David Booker (2 for 9 from 6) and Ryan Savill (2 for 45) shared the rest of the wickets.

West Bergholt leap frogged their hosts Chappel & Wakes Colne seconds in Division Three with an emphatic win. Nine man West Bergholt were indebted to a stunning innings from Dan Wheeler (156 from 91 balls) which included 20 fours and six sixes as they compiled 243 for 7 from their 40 overs. Matt Rogers (30) was the only other player to top twenty for the visitors. Alex Reeve (2 for 45) was the most successful of the home bowlers. In reply, Chappel never really challenged the Bergholt total with Josh Wright (23) and Alex Jackson (21) top scoring in their reply of 125. Matt Rogers (2 for 19 from 9) was the pick of the Bergholt bowlers. Sam Atkinson (3 for 16) and James Banks (2 for 2) picked up some cheap end of innings wickets, after Wheeler (2 for 17) had backed up Rogers earlier in the innings.

Division Four
Braintree are closing in on the Division Four title following a 70 run success at home to Tendring. Nick Lockhart (91) with a run a ball innings dominated the early exchanges for the Dolphins, Luke McNeil (21) providing the biggest support in a fourth wicket stand of 86. After the departure of Lockhart bowled by young Luke Jenno (2 for 50 from 9) it was left to Geoff Eveling (58no from 43 balls) and supported in an unbeaten eighth wicket partnership of 59 with James Murphy (13no) to see Braintree up to their tea time total of 246 for 7. Jonathan Bickers (2 for 45 from 9) was the most successful of the Tendring bowlers. In reply, the Tendring innings was dominated by Jack Jenno (72 from 73), with the next highest score being an unbeaten 19 from Jacob Kelly as the ten man visitors were bowled out for 176. The Braintree bowlers shared the wickets around, with two each for Geoff Eveling (2 for 4), Chris Leech (2 for 23), Luke McNeil (2 for 28) and Lee Fullgrabe (2 for 32).

Coggeshall remain third after a five wicket success over Great Braxted & Tiptree at Harefield. Taking first knock GBT were languishing slightly at drinks with the score at 72 for 5, of which Rob Hill and John Howe had both scored 20. The impetus to the innings came from Sam Yeates (54 from 29 balls) and Michael Benton (31) who smashed 70 from eight overs. Rory Miller, whose first spell of six overs cost just nine runs, was savaged for 26 in his last two overs, with Yeates hitting him for four successive 4s in his last over. Coggeshall skipper Kane Addison claimed the scalps of both Yeates and Benton on his way to figures of 6 for 39, as GBT were bowled out in the 38th over for 176 . In reply, William Froggett (37) and Ben Speakman (20) put on 50 for the first wicket before Froggett was smartly caught and bowled by Yeates. Rory Miller promoted to number three scored 44 before falling to a stunning catch by Toby Taylor, who plucked the ball out of the air at wide mid on off the bowling of Mike Benton. Benton took two more wickets, to be GBT's most successful bowler with figures of 7-0-28-3. In the end, an unbroken 6th wicket stand of 47 between Harvey Ellis (14 not out) and Addison (30 not out) proved decisive as Coggeshall got home with five overs to spare.

Great Horkesley & Lexden 2nd conceded for the fourth time this term, and with a further ten points deducted are condemned to the wooden spoon for the second season running. Second placed Real Oddies were the beneficiaries this week.

Centuries and Five Wickets
Dan Wheeler 156 West Bergholt v. Chappel & WC 2nd
Harry Bailey 146 * Copdock & OI v. Ardleigh

Kane Addison 6 -- 40 Coggeshall v. Great Braxted & Tiptree
Ryan Vickery 5 -- 27 Elmstead v. Wivenhoe

Performance of the Week Nominations
Ryan Vickery 5 for 27 Elmstead v Wivenhoe
Harry Bailey 146no Copdock & OI v. Ardleigh
Dan Wheeler 156 West Bergholt v. Chappel & WC 2nd
Kane Addison 6 for 39 Coggeshall v. Great Braxted & Tiptree

Next Week
V Festival weekend so only eight matches scheduled, but some big games nevertheless, which could have important ramifications for the destinations of various championships. In Division One, leaders Wivenhoe will be looking to get over their blip last weekend as they host bottom of the table Eight Ash Green. The other top flight game sees Elmstead go head to head with Frinton, both vying to wrestle the title from Wivenhoe’s grasp. In Division Two, leaders Copdock & OI are scheduled to make the trip to Gosfield who are having serious availability issues. In the other game third placed Chappel & Wakes Colne make the trip to Stebbing – the sides enjoyed a close encounter in the reverse fixture in June, when Chappel won by 4 runs. Chelmsford not only hosts the V Festival but potentially a Division Three title decider, although probably not as big a crowd, as second placed Galleywood welcome leaders Springfield to Slades Lane, while Abberton will look to cement third place with a home victory to West Bergholt. Braintree can taste the champagne for the Division Four title if they overcome second place Real Oddies at the Garrison Ground in Division Four, while Boxted entertain Tendring in the other game.