Talbots ease past Elmstead to preserve lead at the top
Elmstead G’hoppers 189
lost to Sudbury 190-1
by nine wickets
Sudbury preserved their lead at the top of Division One with a nine-wicket victory at Elmstead Grasshoppers on Saturday.
Having got back to winning ways last weekend against Maldon, the Talbots travelled to bottom-placed Elmstead looking to take another step towards the title.
The hosts won the toss and elected to bat, with Ben Hyett once again asked to open the bowling for Sudbury.
Hyett picked up the early wicket of Aiden O’Brien for lbw, before captain Darren Batch (4-25) was the next to strike when he had Andrew Prestney held smartly by Ben Reece in the gully.
Elmstead skipper Jon Butcher (50) struck some powerful blows to hoist the score onto 71, but left when he nicked a delivery from the returning Jonny Gallagher (2-49) to slip.
James Poulson (2-42) was back bowling for Sudbury after having to sit out of the attack in the last two weeks, and found success when clean bowling overseas import Kashif Nizami and Mark Perrin.
A 37 run partnership between A Athukorala and Dan White (42) steadied the Elmstead innings, however Batch found the edge of the former to regain control.
Tom Huggins got in on the act to trap Paul Gates for lbw, before Batch struck again to claim the wickets of Graham Cook and White in quick succession.
Sudbury found the last pair of Ian Evans and Michael Burle tough to remove, as their sensible batting approach led to 60 more runs before they finished all out for 189.
With the pitch still playing well, Sudbury were confident of completing the run chase to maintain their lead at the top of the table.
Nathan Poole was quickly into his stride as he found the boundary with regularity and approached a fourth half century of the season.
Huggins was slightly slower to find his rhythm, but when he did, it spelled the end for the home side’s slim hopes of an unlikely victory.
The Suffolk captain hit 12 fours and three sixes before being caught for 94 while attempting to reach his century with another maximum.
There were no more alarms for the Talbots as Poole completed the run chase with a boundary to end on 77 not out, while Adam Mansfield (eight no) contributed to the score.
The 20 point haul ensures Sudbury stay at the summit of Division One with nine games of the season to go.
Batch and co’s title credentials will be put to the test this weekend when they host fourth-placed Coggeshall at Friars Street on Saturday (1pm).
Title rivals Mildenhall and Witham face strugglers Elmstead and Hadleigh.