Weekly Round-Up

Week 2 - April 23rd

Pleasant conditions saw seven matches across the NECL on Sunday. In Division One Elmstead and Wivenhoe continued their early pace setting, by recording their second wins of the season. Tendring also made it two from two with perhaps the team performance of the week, with an excellent run chase at Division Four favourites Coggeshall. In Division Two there was a close game at Gosfield, who secured a one wicket victory over Ardleigh, while Halstead were convincing six wicket winners at Great Totham. The opening match in Division Three saw a surprise as relegation favourites Cavaliers scored a six run success over Kelvedon at Rye Mill Lane. T20 action saw Mistley cruise to a 91 run success at Great Bentley in the East Division.

The first centuries of the new season, belonged to Coggeshall’s Louis Gibson with 117, and Elmstead’s Jordan Elliott 102. While James Stamatis of Mistley scored a near miss with an unbeaten 97 in the T20. Bowling performance of the week belonged to Halstead’s 18 year old Luke Robinson who took a hat trick on his way to a maiden five wicket haul of 6 for 14 against Great Totham.

Division One
The Elliott brothers ensured that Elmstead made it two wins from two with a 61 run success over Division One new boys Clacton. Batting first after losing the toss, Elmstead were indebted to a century from opener Jordan Elliott for the bulk of their total of 224 for 8. Peter Webster (34), Josh Grimes (17) and Steve Sarsby (18no) were the other batsmen to reach double figures. Bradley Pitts (3 for 45) was the most successful Clacton bowler, while Haydn Erfuth claimed three catches in the outfield, and Daniel Smith 3 dismissals at the wicket. Ryan Vickery (2 for 22 from 9) bowled a tidy opening spell as Clacton began their reply, before Josh Elliott (4 for 34) and Jordan Elliott (3 for 40) got amongst the wickets to bowl the visitors out for 163 in 32 overs. Newcomer Erfuth backed up his fielding performance with an accomplished 63, while Pitts (31no) and former Kirby man Kieron Parkes (20) were the only other Clacton players to reach double figures.

Wivenhoe have laid down an early marker in their attempt for that first NECL top flight title since 1984, having beaten Frinton and Colchester & E.E. in successive weeks at Rectory Road. After winning the toss against Colchester on Sunday, they elected to bat, and with skipper Matt Durrell (53) making his second league fifty of the season made a steady start. All the top order made a contribution, with James Butcher (45), Will Morgan (31no) and Harry Burnett (28) putting in useful knocks as the Hoe closed at 212 for 5. In reply, Colchester found batting difficult against the Wivenhoe attack with only Jack Hebron (31) in the top order making any significant runs. Liam Hope-Shackley (2 for 29 from 8) and Joe Nicholls (1 for 36) bowled steady opening spells, before Harry Burnett (2 for 26) and Matt Durrell (3 for 24) reduced the visitors to 97 for 8. Nick Patel (32, including 3 fours and 2 sixes) put up a defiant rear-guard in a last wicket stand of 38, before becoming the last man to be dismissed with the score on 135.

Division Two
At Bull Meadow, 2016 Division Three champions showed their intentions by reducing last year’s Division Two runners up Great Totham to 22 for 5 after 18 year old Luke Robinson took a hat trick to complete his maiden five wicket haul. He took one more on his way to the best of the week 6 for 14 from 7. Joe Morris cleared up the tail with 3 for 5 from 2.2 overs. James Pook was restrained and attacking in equal measure to top score with a battling 56, whilst Ollie Cheeseman ‘s unbeaten 24 was the only other score in double figures as Totham were dismissed for 117. In reply, Halstead appeared in a hurry as Ben Roper hit his first ball for a six in an unconvincing (read : the opposite of chanceless) 24 off 13 balls. The first four wickets fell to Cheeseman who followed his batting performance with bowling figures of 4 for 32. However, a flamboyant, dismissive half century from Joe Morris (59no from 29 balls including 9 fours and three sixes) in an unbroken fifth wicket stand of 37 with Callum Hansey (10no) saw Halstead to victory inside 19 overs.

There was a tense finish at Gosfield, who secured a one wicket victory over Ardleigh in a low scoring match. Gosfield won the toss and inserted Ardleigh, who made steady progress as openers Kurt Lamont (33) and Joe Lyndon (20) took the score to 55 before Ashok Kalinan (3 for 22) made the breakthrough. Working in tandem with Ben Reece (4 for 20) wickets then fell regularly with only Robert Cole (25) getting to double figures. Matt Holland (2 for 2) took the final wickets as Ardleigh were bowled out in the 25th over for 122. Gosfield did not get off to the best of starts in their reply as they slipped to 27 for 4, with Robert Cole (3 for 30) the principal wicket taker. Kenny Moulton-Day (54 from 30 balls, including five sixes) eased the tension by almost single handily taking the score to 81 for 5, before becoming the third of Cole’s wickets. Brad Richardson (21) and Ashok Kalinan put on a useful 34 run partnership for the eighth wicket, but when Richardson and Morgan Whymark were dismissed in quick succession the hosts were still one run short of the Ardleigh total with the last pair at the crease. Kalinan (13no) and last man Barrie Morris (4no) held their nerve to see Gosfield to the narrowest of victories at the beginning of the 29th over.

Division Three
The opening match in Division Three also saw a close finish at Rye Mill Lane, where the visitors Cavaliers, caused something of an upset with a narrow six run victory over Kelvedon. The start of the match was delayed and reduced to 35 overs per side due to a roadworks closure on the dreaded A12, delaying the arrival of the Cavaliers side. Winning the toss and batting first, with a number of the team still stuck in traffic in various parts of North Essex, the Cavaliers innings was based on skipper Noman Jalib (73) and Martin Vinter (69), who combined for a second wicket stand of 107. Apart from these two no other Cavaliers batsman got to double figures, with the next best score being 6! Vinter showed durability in scoring his 69, being ninth man out and cajoling the tail to a final score of 179. At one point he had to watch from the other end as a typical Cavs collapse saw the team slip from 122 for 1 to 128 for 5. The wickets were shared around by the Kelvedon bowlers, with James Horslen (3 for 11) the most successful, but there was braces for Ryan Sleet (2 for 22), former GBT man Lewis Cookson (2 for 25) and Nick Claus (2 for 28). In reply, Kelvedon made steady progress despite the loss of a wicket without a run on the board. Mick Warner (22) and Ed King putting on 76 for the second wicket. Tony Mayhew (4 for 44) then claimed four wickets as the hosts slipped from 76 for 1 to 104 for 5, including the wicket of King (63). Skipper James Reid (49) then battled valiantly edging his side towards the target, but in the end the equation came down to ten required from the last over with three wickets in hand. Craig Finch bowled the over, and claimed the vital wicket of Reid first ball with a turning ball that clipped the top of off. The third ball saw Finch bowl George Curtis for a duck, before Usman Ghani and Finch combined to effect a match winning run out fifth ball, as Finch ended with figures of 2 for 15, and Kelvedon dismissed for 173.

Division Four
Team performance of the week must surely be that of Tendring, perennial NECL strugglers in the last few seasons, who made it two wins on the bounce by claiming the scalp of Coggeshall on their own ground, with an impressive run chase. Young Coggeshall opener Louis Gibson (117) and Kane Addison (72) combined for a second wicket stand of 142 as the Cockerels posted an imposing 256 for 5 from their 40 overs. Ben Hughes-Day (2 for 55) and Gary Jenno (2 for 36) were the two wicket takers for the Tendring. The visitors were not to be deterred in their reply, as Colin Parker (31 from 21 balls) ensured a rapid start. Jack Bowden (43 from 46) and Joe Robinson combined for a fourth wicket stand of 61 to continue the momentum. Skipper Robinson went onto score a run a ball 62, and with Philip Baker (41 from 30), and Gary Jenno (24 from 27) kept his side on course for victory. Robinson was dismissed with the score on 241, which allowed Ian Robinson to take the glory with an unbeaten 13 and secure a three wicket success with 14 balls in hand. Lorcan McCabe (3 for 50) was the most successful of the Coggeshall bowlers.

T20 - EAST
The T20 campaign opened up with a convincing victory for Mistley at Great Bentley in the East Division. Batting first the Mistley innings was built on an unbroken third wicket stand of 165 between Ashley Uren (67no) and James Stamatis (97no) as they scored 199 for 2 from their 20 overs. Stamatis innings included eight maximums which gives him a healthy lead in the Six Hitters competition. Charlie Thompson with a respectable (2 for 18 from 4) was the solitary wicket taker for Bentley. In reply, only Craig Perrin (39) scored any runs of note as Bentley were bowled out for 108 in their 20 overs. Stamatis backed up his batting exploits with bowling figures of 2 for 3 from 3 overs, while the Bentley cause was not helped by losing three middle order batsmen to run outs.

Centuries and Five Wickets
Louis Gibson 117 Coggeshall v. Tendring
Jordan Elliott 102 Elmstead v. Clacton

Luke Robinson 6 -- 14 Halstead v. Great Totham

Performance of the Week as voted on Twitter (67 votes)
Luke Robinson        6 for 14 Halstead v. Great Totham        37%
Jordan Elliott          102 Elmstead v. Clacton                      31%
Louis Gibson          117 Coggeshall v. Tendring                   24%
James Stamatis       97no Mistley v. Great Bentley               7%

Next Week
May Day Bank Holiday weekend next week, so expect a downturn in the weather ! In Division One, Colchester & E.E are in action on both Sunday and Monday, as they entertain Clacton on Sunday and then make the trip to Frinton on Monday. In Division Two, Copdock and Witham begin their campaign when they meet at Copdock. Great Totham and Ardleigh will be looking to bounce back with a win when they meet at Bull Meadow, and Halstead host Stebbing at Star Stile. In Division Three, Abberton open up at The Brow with Harwich & Dovercourt the visitors, while Springfield make the short trip up the A12 (hopefully it will not be blocked in reverse next week) to Kelvedon. In Division Four, Tendring will be looking to consolidate their heady start as they host Great Horkesley & Lexden 2nd at Crow Lane looking to make it three from three, while the Braintree Dolphins make their Division Four debut with Boxted making the trip to St Peters Road.