Weekly Round-Up

Week 22 (September 16th) Kelvedon - Division Three champions, Mistley go top of Division One, Relegation scramble in Division Two

The final round of matches in Division Two and Three, saw the remaining outcomes decided. In Division Three, Kelvedon & Feering were confirmed as champions following a ten run victory at bottom of the table West Bergholt, who put up a valiant fight. Bergholt did at least claim enough points to avoid the wooden spoon, which went to Coggeshall. Elsewhere in Division Three, Real Oddies claimed a six wicket success over Great Horkesley & Lexden. In Division Two, Braintree and Springfield both missed out on the Runner Up spot, by suffering defeats in their respective matches. Chappel & Wakes Colne claim the second spot to end their tenure on a high in the NECL, having given notice to withdraw in 2019. Abberton avoided relegation on Saturday night, when visitors Braintree conceded – unfortunately for the Dolphins not notifying the Results Secretary by 10pm on Saturday resulted in a ten point deduction. So Witham started the day in the drop zone and required seven points to leap frog Great Totham, and duly claimed the full twenty with a 33 run win at home to Springfield. Champions Halstead, signed off with a seven wicket win over Eight Ash Green. The only game in Division One, saw Mistley defeat Galleywood by five wickets, to go to the summit of the table. They are assured of runners up spot at least, but will be champions if Wivenhoe are unable to secure twenty points at home to Galleywood in the season’s final match next Sunday.
Individually, two centurions this weekend, with Josh Ruthven (108) starring in Halstead’s run chase, while an unbeaten 103 by Springfield’s Noah Pothen was unable to steer his side to victory. The only fivefor also came at Star Stile, where Callum Hansey (5 for 41) tore through the Eight Ash Green lower order.

Division One
Mistley were assured of runners up spot in Division One, with victory over Galleywood at Slades Lane which ended the Chelmsford sides slim hopes of the title. However, it will be a fourth top flight title in nine years for the New Road men, if Wivenhoe fail to pick up maximum points in their final game at home to Galleywood. Batting first Galleywood posted 185 for 7 with skipper Ben Rayner (47) top scoring. Conor Hicks (26) and Charlie Murray (20) were the only other players to reach double figures, although the Galleywood total was inflated by a generous 38 extras, of which 20 were wides ! Tim Scott (2 for 13) and Harry Fifield (2 for 43) were the most successful of the Mistley bowlers, although all five used did claim a wicket. In reply, Mistley lost and early wicket to Zak Hicks (1 for 34), before a second wicket stand between George Hutton and Callum O’Connell (50) eased the Swans towards the victory target. Josh Felton (1 for 25) claimed the wicket of O’Connell, and a late burst from Duncan Walton (3 for 25 from 8) briefly threatened the chase, but with Hutton (87no) standing firm, a five wicket victory was claimed with 12 overs in hand.

Division Two
The Runners Up spot and a relegation place was up for grabs in Division Two, with no less than six teams in contention for the two positions. Abberton’s survival was confirmed on Saturday night, with Braintree conceding and relinquishing their own hopes of claiming the Runner Up prize. That left Witham requiring seven points to avoid the drop at the expense of Great Totham, and Springfield needing to pick up seven points to claim the Runner Up spot, by virtue of better head to head results over Chappel & Wakes Colne. Witham won the toss and took first knock, reaching 69 for 3, Alan Warley (2 for 44) claiming two early wickets. Michael Godwin (64) and Forster Mutizwa (72 from 68), and reaching 500 NECL runs for the season, then combined for a fourth wicket stand of 121. The home side duly picked up maximum batting points reaching 205 for 6. Martin Southwell claimed both the wickets of Godwin and Mutizwa, to end the season as leading wicket taker in the league with 22 victims. Witham then picked up the two points they needed to avoid the drop by reducing Springfield to 48 for 6, seasonal debutant Greg Stephens (3 for 8 from 9), Luke Brown (2 for 24) and Ben Tinham (1 for 10) doing the early damage. Noah Pothen (103no from 62 balls) and Martin Southwell (37no) combined to put on an unbeaten stand of 124 for the seventh wicket, but were ultimately three runs short of claiming a decisive fourth batting point which would have been enough to claim the runners up spot, ending the innings on 172 for 6 and defeat by 33 runs.

Callum Hansey's five-fer and Josh Ruthven's maiden HCC century set-up Division Two champions Halstead for victory in their final game of 2018. Hansey went past Josh King (20) with 21 wickets to finish atop the bowling charts, whilst Ruthven's 100 meant he took top spot in the Halstead run-scorers for the season. As is now customary Joe Morris lost the toss and Halstead were put in the field, the early wicket of Matt Parker (1) - caught behind by Sam Walter off Josh Ruthven (1-45) - was the only positive of the early exchanges. Richard Nunn (75) and James Parker (78) put on 138 for the second wicket, treating anything off line with contempt as they hit 23 fours and 4 sixes between them. Halstead's breakthrough finally came when Nunn was bowled by Josh King (2-42), Parker passed 50 and survived a drop at long off, adding 20 with Duncan Wyatt (3) before the latter was smartly run out by Joe Morris. The run out sparked a collapse from 164-2 to 197 all out as Callum Hansey tore through the Eight Ash Green lower order, bowling four batsmen on his way to season best figures of 5-41. Mark Johnson (1-4) dismissed Will Spicer (11) to end the innings, with Steve Nunn (10*) left as the only other bat to reach double figures. Ethan Wyatt (1-43) took the early wicket of Goush Raviendran (9) when the opener played on to his stumps, with Adam Morris (16) playing a supporting role to the attacking Josh Ruthven (108). The pair added 63 for the second wicket before Morris was bowled by a turning delivery from Richard Nunn. Sam Walter - who had taken the gloves for the first time this season - joined Ruthven at the crease and the pair took the game away from the visitors with a 97-run stand. Ruthven brought up his maiden Halstead century with a six over deep midwicket, finishing on 108 from 70 balls - including 16 fours and 4 sixes - when he picked out Richard Nunn off James Plummer. Charles Mallet (10no) joined Walter (40no) and saw Halstead home with 11 overs to spare.

Division Three
Kelvedon & Feering claimed the Third Division title with a narrow win at West Bergholt, the hosts belying their bottom of the table position with a valiant performance in defeat. Batting first Kelvedon were contained early on, Joe Smith (2 for 21 from 9) bowled an excellent opening spell and claimed the wicket of danger man Ryan Vickery (19) cheaply. Mick Warner (26) and Mark Cottee (54) put in useful knocks at the top of the order, but it was left to a significant contribution from Martin Sleet (34 from 17 balls) at the end of the innings to see the visitors up to their total of 188. Matt McDonald (3 for 32), Harvey Borges (2 for 27) and Owen Jones (2 for 47) also amongst the wickets for Bergholt, as the home side claimed sufficient points to climb out of the wooden spoon position. In reply, James Banks (55 out of the first 76 runs from 34 balls) gave Bergholt some early impetus, after Ryan Sleet had claimed two early wickets. Joe Smith (42) was the mainstay of the innings, but when he became the eighth man out with 52 runs sill required, the odds were stacked in favour of the champions elect. Craig Allister (27) defied those odds by taking the game to last over, eventually succumbing to a stumping by Josh Bibby (3cts and 1st on the day) off the bowling of Sleet (3 for 35) with Bergholt dismissed for 178. Ryan Vickery (3 for 23 from 9) and Jack Rice (3 for 27 from 7) bowled significant middle order spells.

Real Oddies ended their 2018 season with a six wicket win over Great Horkesley & Lexden at the Garrison ground. The visitors won the toss and batted first and posted a middling 149 for 8, of which Nihal Jayasooriya (47) and Rana Mehmood (44) were both unlucky not to post half centuries. Mukesh Kumar (3 for 12) was the stand out bowler for the home side, although Jake Boud (2 for 23 from 9) bowled a tight early spell, and Malien Mudalige (2 for 16) also picked up a brace. The Saxon’s game plan was undone early on in the reply, when Jon Jones was injured at the end of his second over, trying to take a fiercely hit caught and bowled chance, which left him with a fractured finger and another that was dislocated. Having only got ten players that left them fielding with eight for a short time as a playing colleague treated Jones’ injury. James Grange (24) and Ashok Sharma (30) both scored well at the top of the order, while Shafi Sayed (4 for 21 from 9) bowled a probing spell. Malien Mudalige (69no, which included 10 fours and six sixes) then guided the Oddies to victory with almost ten overs to spare.

Centuries and Five Wickets
Josh Ruthven 108 Halstead v. Eight Ash Green
Noah Pothen 103 * Springfield v. Witham

Callum Hansey 5 -- 41 Halstead v. Eight Ash Green

Josh Bibby 4 3ct 1st Kelvedon v. West Bergholt

Performance of the Week nominations
George Hutton 87no Mistley v. Galleywood
Josh Ruthven 108 Halstead v. Eight Ash Green
Noah Pothen 103no Springfield v. Witham
Callum Hansey 5 for 41 Halstead v Eight Ash Green

Congratulations to Kelvedon pairing Ed King (189no) and Ryan Vickery (154no) who’s unbroken second wicket stand of 273 against Great Horkesley & Lexden was voted as Performance of the Week.

Next Week
So the curtain will come down on 2018 next Sunday with just a single game as Wivenhoe entertain Galleywood at Rectory Road, with the NECL champions prize on the line. Anything but a win for the Hoe will see Mistley crowned as champions.