Week 1 - April 16th
- Last Updated: Tuesday, 18 April 2017 22:16
- Published: Tuesday, 18 April 2017 22:16
- Written by Kevin Hewes
Typically after a wonderfully warm Sunday last week, the opening matches of the 2017 NECL season were greeted by a cool northerly wind, and some rain mid afternoon. Thankfully, all three matches got through to their conclusion, with wins in Division One for Elmstead and Wivenhoe, and in Division Four for Tendring.
Wivenhoe caused an early season surprise by inflicting defeat on champions Frinton, for the first time in ten meetings at Rectory Road. Frinton had ten players, and after winning the toss elected to bat. An uneventful start saw the visitors reach 31 without loss, although Frinton skipper Tom Sinclair did receive a blow on the head from Queenslander Liam Hope-Shackley, which eventually saw him retire from the game and seek precautionary advice from the hospital. Harry Burnett then got amongst the wickets as Frinton slipped to 93 for 6, before Sam Brynes (49) accompanied by Tony Stubbs (13) and Lewis Catlow (22) saw the Seasiders up to their total of 173. Burnett was the pick of Hoe bowlers returning 4 for 26. The home side then eased to a six wicket victory, with skipper Matt Durrell (69) playing the anchor role, being fourth man out just short of the target. Partnerships of 86, with Hope-Shackley (44) and 45 with a fluent Jakob Kelly (31 not out off 42 balls) eased Wivenhoe to victory. Lewis Catlow (2 for 47) was the most successful of the Frinton bowlers.
At New Road, Elmstead scored an impressive five wicket victory over Mistley. The Swans batted first after winning the toss, and struggled to 92 for 6, with only James Stamatis (33) and Dylan Day (39) showing any durability at the crease. Daniel Goff (21) and Stuart Dove (30) scored some useful runs in the late order, but with all seven Elmstead bowlers claiming wickets they were bowled in the final over for 165. Dan Carter (2 for 19 from 9) was the most impressive with the ball for Elmstead. In reply, Jordan Elliott led from the top with 62, which included eleven fours. He gained support from Ryan Vickery (24) and Josh Grimes (14), while Dan White (37no) was there at the finish as the visitors cruised to victory inside 33 overs. James Stamatis (2 for 31) was the most successful of the Mistley bowlers.
Tendring opened their 2017 account with a four wicket victory over nine man Rayne at Crow Lane. The visitors won the toss and batted first and were largely dependent on their skipper Nathan Swansborough (39) for getting them up to their total of 77 all out. No other Rayne batsmen reached double figures, with the wickets shared around by the Tendring bowlers. Daniel Gibson (3 for 11 from 7) and Luke Jenno (2 for 13) were the most successful. A nervy start to the reply saw Nathan Swansborough (3 for 17) reduce Tendring to 8 for 3, that then became 34 for 6 as Brad Reeve (2 for 15) and Kevin Lilley (1 for 19 from 9) also took their first wickets of the season. That was the last success of the afternoon for Rayne, as Jonny Bickers (28no) and Daniel Gibson (16no) put on an unbeaten 7th wicket stand of 44 to see Tendring to victory.
Next week, Elmstead and Wivenhoe look to put down early markers, as they entertain Clacton and Colchester & E.E. respectively in Division One, both looking to consolidate their winning starts. The Division Two campaign begins with Gosfield welcoming Ardleigh, and an intriguing opener at Bull Meadow between 2016 Division Two runners up Great Totham and Division Three champions Halstead, both of which should be at the top end of the table come September. The Division Three season begins with Kelvedon & Feering entertaining Cavaliers, while in Division Four, favourites Coggeshall welcome Tendring to Harefield. There is T20 action in the East Division as Great Bentley welcome Mistley for a 2pm start on The Green.