Sudbury 194-8 drew with Bury St Edmunds 192-7
Darren Batch praised the bowling of Jonny Gallagher as he admitted the rain brought a lucky escape for his Sudbury side in the Suffolk derby.
After they were inserted to bat, Bury St Edmunds, with the returning Matt Hunn taking four wickets, restricted their rivals to 194-8 from their 66 overs.
But with Bury seemingly in a commanding position to go on and win the match, a 20-minute rain break at 6.20pm helped set up a dramatic finish.
With the umpires not happy for play to continue until 7pm due to two puddles being mopped up, which displeased Bury’s players, solid bowling from Gallagher and the returning South African Jandre Coetzee, in his first match of the season, ensured Bury fell three runs short of a win.
Batch, who hit Sudbury’s highest individual total with the bat, 42 from 51 balls, said: “I think when we went off they were well in control of the game and then the rain came and really brought their run-rate up and allowed us to apply pressure with our bowlers and they ended up three runs short.
“Our bowler bowling a no-ball with two balls to go did not do much for my grey hair!
“They looked to be winning the game before the rain fairly comfortably and in the end it provided us with a pretty good finish.”
As well as praising Hunn’s first performance back at Friars Street since a summer move up the A134 to Bury, Batch added of his own bowlers: “Jandre bowled really well. He is pretty a Twenty20 specialist back home and that situation at the end really suited him with his slower balls and bowling yorkers.
“But you have to give credit to Jonny Gallagher, he took four wickets and bowled really well at the start and those last three overs as well.”
With both teams getting three points for a draw, bonus points took Sudbury’s total to eight, while Bury’s was nine.
In Sudbury’s innings, Hunn quickly had Siegert caught behind with Rory Darkins and Jay Phillips steadying the ship with a slow but worthy 42 partnership.
Phillips was run out shortly before lunch, which brought Poulson to the crease and he struck Huggins for two sixes to leave the home side 79-2.
A leading edge saw Poulson depart for 26 from just 28 balls and brought skipper Batch to the crease.
He was involved in the run-outs of Darkins and Coetzee, which left them precariously placed.
When Hunn found some reverse swing to dismiss Batch lbw for 42 it was left to Nathan Poole and Adam Mansfield to see Sudbury to a slightly below par 194-8.
Sudbury’s bowling attack could not have had a better start as Gallagher flicked off Justin Bishop’s off bail with the third ball of the innings and then had Adams caught at square leg to leave the visitors 23-2.
But Indian overseas players Abhishek Jhunjhunwala treated the home support to a display of IPL-style hitting, striking 10 boundaries in his 58 from just 40 balls and his innings was only ended when Ben Hyett took a stunning return catch from his own bowling.
Opener Tom Huggins made it to the end when the rain came with others coming and going, but supported by Tom Robotham, could not hit the final six required from the last two balls, with 16 from the last two overs having been needed, as the game ended in a draw.
Sudbury had needed to take three wickets from the final three overs to secure victory, but were unable to dispatch anyone else as they successfully stopped the runs being scored.