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Sudbury celebrate retaining the East Anglian Premier League title while Bury St Edmunds survive




The Talbots headed into the final round of fixtures knowing a win over relegation-threatened Norwich would be enough to see them regain the Gibbs Denley East Anglian Premier League title, whatever Swardeston's score at home to Horsford.

Champions Sudbury celebrate reatining the East Anglian Premier League title Picture by Mark Westley (4187765)
Champions Sudbury celebrate reatining the East Anglian Premier League title Picture by Mark Westley (4187765)

And they duly delivered in front of a crowd of around 100 people at Friars Street with a 123 run success confirmed around 5pm.

Suffolk captain Adam Mansfield shone alongside first-team captain and coach Tom Huggins after the hosts won the toss and elected to bat.

Wicketkeeper Mansfield fired his way to a century with his 108, including 15 fours and two sixes, coming off 116 balls in a formidable opening partnership with Huggins, who was the first wicket to fall on 76 with the pair having put on 134.

Club captain Darren Batch, who was next in, also did his bit with 68 before being run out.

The next highest contribution came from Kenny Moulton-Day with a quickfire 19 from 10 balls as the Talbots set a daunting total of 323-6 off their 50 allocated overs.

Norwich were hugely under pressure for the start of their innings with news coming through that Bury St Edmunds were in a good position in their must-win game at Frinton-on-Sea.

Sudbury captain and coach Tom Huggins with chairman Louis Brooks Picture by Mark Westley (4187761)
Sudbury captain and coach Tom Huggins with chairman Louis Brooks Picture by Mark Westley (4187761)

With opener Lewis Sexton falling for two with Dan Poole taking a catch off of James Poulson with the visitors 4-1, that pressure only increased.

But the Norfolk side responded well with fellow opener Jack Newby showing why he has been just behind Joe Gatting in the division's scoring charts with a century (105) which got going around William O'Donnell's 48. That left Norwich at 96-2 but after after Ashley Watson (17) was bowled by Billy Moulton-Day at 144-3 the next three wickets fell for nine runs.

It became clear the game was up, to Bury's delight, with Matthew Collinge, Freddy Kemp and Jason Blake all falling for ducks.

The relegation play-off was soon confirmed as they were bowled all out for 200, more than 100 runs short of their target with Timothy Johnston (3-19) and Billy Moulton-Day (3-21) ending with excellent three-wicket hauls.

The other wickets were claimed by Poulson (1-30), Huggins (1-45) and Dustin Melton (1-45) with the fielding extras claiming the other.

Reflecting on the day, Mansfield refused to take individual credit for the display when speaking to the Free Press, saying: "It was great to get the 100 but the win was what we needed.

"It was a great team effort from everyone."

Sudbury captain Tom Higgins is doused in bubbly as his team-mates celebrate their title at Friars Street Picture by Mark Westley (4187767)
Sudbury captain Tom Higgins is doused in bubbly as his team-mates celebrate their title at Friars Street Picture by Mark Westley (4187767)

Swardeston (250-9) just about kept their end of the bargain with a win at home to Horsford (200) only being confirmed with two overs to spare in a reduced 40 overs format match, to allow the National T20 finalists to make a sponsors meal this evening ahead of their big day tomorrow. But they began their travels without being able to celebrate anything but a second successive runners-up spot to champions Sudbury.

* Meanwhile, Bury St Edmunds had gone into the final day trailing second-from-bottom Norwich by 10 points and needing to win at Frinton to have any chance of avoiding a relegation play-off with Norfolk Cricket Alliance champions Fakenham.

After winning the toss visiting Bury elected to field and found it hard to stem the flow of runs from Suffolk star Jaik Mickleburgh as he hit a century (119).

But they kept the rest of the batsmen below 30 scores as the hosts set a target of 211 with six wickets falling in their 40 overs, after a reduced format was agreed.

Jaik Mickleburgh, pictured in action for Suffolk, proved to be a thorn in Bury St Edmunds' side, but they did enough to earn their survival with victory Picture: Nick Garnham (4187763)
Jaik Mickleburgh, pictured in action for Suffolk, proved to be a thorn in Bury St Edmunds' side, but they did enough to earn their survival with victory Picture: Nick Garnham (4187763)

MCC's Dominic Manthorpe came to the fore once again with the ball for Bury with 3-31 from his eight overs, while George Loyd proved his worth again with 2-38 from his eight. James McKinney (1-56) accounted for the other.

There were no nerves shown in the Suffolk visitor's reply as openers Hugh Stanton (68 from 108) and Murray Commins (121 from 91) were unmoved in a fantastic partnership that carried Bury to a match-winning 214 inside 32.3 overs.

It gave Bury a 10-wicket win and left them able to start the celebrations of confirming another season in the region's top tier of club cricket without the need for the play-offs, once Sudbury's game concluded.

* As winners of the Marshall Hatchick Two Counties Championship, Worlington had been left waiting to see who they would face in tomorrow's play-off semi-final as they bid to win promotion to the EAPL.

The day's action saw Saffron Walden finish top of the The Whiting & Partners Cambridgeshire & Huntingdonshire Premier League to mean they will travel to the Essex side tomorrow (time tbc).

Worlington go there off the back of a final weekend nine-wicket win at Elmstead.

* The final title in the Two Counties Championship was concluded in Lakenheath's favour in Division Two, despite their 24-run loss at sixth-placed Clacton-on-Sea. Lakenheath had already confirmed their promotion last weekend.

* For reaction to the weekend's cricket action across the area, see next week's papers.



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