TWO COUNTIES CHAMPIONSHIP
Hadleigh 192-5 beat
by five wickets
Woe quickly turned to joy for Halstead Cricket Club after their Division One Status was confirmed despite a five wicket defeat at Hadleigh.
Defeat should have resulted in relegation for the visitors but they were handed a lifeline after Woolpit secured their safety in the East Anglian Premier League meaning no Suffolk side would be relegated due to only two sides dropping down.
Halstead’s batsman will be rueing their inability to convert starts into big scores, Josh Wells (41), Neale Dakin (27) and Oli Grayson (25) all batting well when dismissed.
Harry Veal (44no) added valuable runs in the middle order as the visitors posted a competitive if slightly under par 188-8.
Parker (2-9) and Manthorpe (2-37) were the most successful Hadleigh bowlers.
An early breakthrough from Veal dismissed Parker, but Moreton (79) and Manthorpe (48) took the game away from Halstead.
Veal (2-31) and Wells (2-29) returned to take consolation wickets, but a nervous wait ensued until news of Woolpit’s survival filtered through.
n There was a better result for Halstead II (136-9) who secured a one wicket victory over St Margarets (136-9).
A last-over thriller was needed by the second XI to overcome St Margarets, but they did just that. The one-wicket victory was enough to see them crowned Division Four champions, having not been off top spot all season.
It seemed that the win needed would be a foregone conclusion, particularly when the visitors were bowled out for 132.
The wickets were shared around, Chris Roper (2-9), Ian Pont (2-16), Justin Rose (2-29), Lewis Brennan (1-19), Rob Harris (1-19) and Graham Wickes (1-24) combining to bowl them out in the 44th over.
Halstead seemed to be cruising to victory, with Dave Brooker (29) and Gary Dicker (20) scoring well at the top of the order.
However, Freddie Parsons entered the attack and Halstead’s batsmen had no answers, at one point he had 4-0 on his way to 7-21.
Mark Harris (28no) and Lewis Brennan (10no) came together with plenty of work to do, but the senior man Harris knew that batting the remaining overs would see Halstead home.
With three needed to win, the first five balls were dots. Harris connected with the final ball, sending it soaring to the man on the square leg boundary, but he could only help it on its way, sparking celebrations among the Halstead team.
nHalstead III (140-3) wrapped up the Division Eight South title with a seven wicket win over Cavaliers (136).