Topley takes two in Halstead’s showcase cricket week match

Action from Essex II v Sussex II one day game as part of Halstead Cricket Club's cricket week.''FL; Matt Machan in bat for Sussex.
Action from Essex II v Sussex II one day game as part of Halstead Cricket Club's cricket week.''FL; Matt Machan in bat for Sussex.
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POLSTEAD’S bowling sensation Reece Topley took two wickets for Essex II against Sussex II in Tuesday’s showpiece one-day match as part of Halstead’s cricket week.

The Essex club welcomed their county side’s second string to Star Stile in the first of four days of cricket between the two sides, with a three-day match commencing yesterday.

And in Jubilee Tuesday’s encounter, which Essex won by four runs on the Duckworth Lewis run-rate method, rising star Reece Topley had the crowd on their feet with his two wickets (8-0-42-2) to help Essex regain the lead of the 2nd XI Trophy South Division.

Sussex posted 219-5 from their 40 overs, with Kirk Wernars hitting 95 from 92 balls before Topley ended his innings and had also sent opener Matt Machan walking back to the pavilion.

Essex were 157-5 when the umpires decided to bring the players off after 30 overs. Skipper Jaik Mickleburgh hit an unbeaten 90 which effectively helped win his side clinch the game, though one more wicket would have seen Sussex to victory.

Meanwhile, Halstead chairman Mark Surridge had the unfortunate honour of marking the opening of his club’s cricket week on Saturday by coming out of retirement in order to field a side against Copdock & Old Ipswichians.

Surridge, who had starred for Essex over 60s with the ball in their victory over Bedfordshire earlier in the week, replaced spinner David Elsbury at the 11th hour after his vehicle broke down in the West Country.

It was the last in a long line of pull -outs for Tom Philip’s side, which left Halstead losing at Star Stile by 118 runs after their opponents declared at 275-1 after 57.2 overs.

But Surridge, who bowled against Suffolk openers Archie Gravell (110no) and Martin Cull (100no) with Sam Walter, 40 years his junior, saw the funny side of things.

“This was taking the club’s youth policy a bit far as I last played a Premier League game 20 years ago, aged 40!”, he said.

“These batsmen take no mercy – anything slightly off length is despatched to the boundary.

“I went for 23 off my first two overs but was pleased with my next 13 overs that went for 60. But sadly the three wickets I might have had escaped me as three regulation catches were put down, costing us valuable points.”

After three defeats in as many completed games (four rained off), bottom side Halstead face a daunting trip to early league leaders Swardeston on Saturday (11am), who are separated from them by 79 points.