Frinton clinch East Anglian Premier League title
PUBLISHED: 12:48 09 September 2019 | UPDATED: 12:48 09 September 2019
Frinton-on-Sea wrapped up the Read Brothers Ltd East Anglian Premier League title for the first time in their history, following a 103-run victory at Mildenhall on Saturday.
The Ashlyns Road club remain 26 points clear at the top, with just one round of matches left, which means they cannot be caught with a maximum of 25 points awarded for a win.
Frinton, with Michael Comber as skipper, have only suffered one defeat all summer, at the hands of defending champions Sudbury, who had been hoping to complete a hat-trick of titles following their successes of 2017 and 2018.
But Frinton were always in the driving seat, boosted by some excellent close-season signings, and always had the edge over the chasing duo of Swardeston and Sudbury, who both won on Saturday at home to Saffron Walden and away at Bury St Edmunds respectively.
Frinton end their successful campaign with a home match against Cambridge this Saturday, which will be a chance to continue their title celebrations in front of their home supporters.
"It's very satisfying, and shows that all our hard work on training days has come to fruition," enthused skipper Comber.
"A lot of effort has gone into this, and we are going to enjoy next weekend, just as we enjoyed ourselves after the win this weekend.
"Personally, this is the best season that I have ever been involved in, and our aim is to win next Saturday and so end the year with just one defeat - I don't know whether a team has ever won the league with just one defeat all season, but that's our aim.
"It was a bit of luck that all our new recruits gelled so well into the team, because that doesn't always happen. We are all friends, on and off the pitch," added former Essex CCC all-rounder Comber, the ex-Bury skipper.
Put into bat, when Mildenhall skipper Tom Rash won the toss, Frinton stumbled in mid-innings but managed to get to a challenging 259 for nine off their 50 overs, helped by a strong start and a good finish. Michael Griggs (11) put on 48 for the first wicket with Jaik Mickleburgh, who went on to compile the biggest innings of the match.
Mickleburgh added 61 for the second wicket with former captain Kyran Young, to take the score up to 109.
Former Essex county cricketer Mickleburgh had reached 64 off 73 balls, with 10 fours, when he was caught by wicketkeeper Ollie Lovejoy off Jack Loveday.
Mickleburgh's exit prompted a collapse, Frinton losing four wickets for just 23 runs to look vulnerable on 132 for five.
Tristan Blackledge (10-3-23-2) removed both Blaine Bannister and Ashley Watson for ducks, but Young and skipper Comber engineered a recovery by putting on 53 for the sixth wicket.
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Young's patient 47 off 106 balls was ended by Hugo Douglas, who also went on to dismiss Comber (36), but a late cameo from Sam Brynes (36 not out off 20 balls, with three sixes), saw the visitors up to 259.
Mildenhall never threatened to get close to this target, losing opener Blackledge and the experienced duo of skipper Rash and Ben Shepperson for single-figure scores to be stranded on 36 for three.
Opener Josh Frame top-scored with 29 and the hosts were skittled out for 156 in 46 overs, summer recruit Ashley Watson claiming four for 38 off 10 overs, and Sri Lankan left-armer Dulanjala Mendis taking three for 27 off his 10. Tight bowling from the new ball pair of Comber (10-1-22-1) and another of the summer signings, Ollie Bocking (10-1-29-1), had set up this big win.
Comber explained: "To be brutally honest, Mildenhall didn't bowl very well with the new ball, so we were able to get away to a good start.
"They bowled much better in the middle of the innings, and we had to dig ourselves out of a hole to get up to a good total, which I personally thought was a big enough one to win the match.
"As has happened throughout this summer, we then bowled very well during the first 10 overs of the powerplay - we always aim to concede less than 30 runs during those first 10 overs, and that sets us up for the rest of the innings."
Elsewhere, SUDBURY stay third after a narrow two-wicket win at BURY ST EDMUNDS in a tight West Suffolk derby at the Victory Ground. Put into bat, Bury started well before losing a flurry of late wickets in a chase for quick runs, finishing on 223 for eight off their 50 overs.
Alfie Marston and Justin Broad shared an opening partnership of 90, Marston making 42 off 53 balls, and Broad reaching 50 before he was dismissed with the score on 113. Both fell to Andrew Simmons.
Ben Curran, in at No. 3, then held the innings together with an unbeaten 70 off 91 balls, while wickets fell at regular intervals at the other end.
Sudbury lost James Poulson (8) to the fourth ball of the innings, having struck two of the first three balls for boundaries, and it was then a case of digging in for the visitors.
Darren Batch made an important 43, putting on 53 for the fourth wicket with Ben Parker (22), but it required an unbeaten 54 from skipper Adam Mansfield to see Sudbury to victory with two wickets and 10 balls to spare.
Mansfield added 52 with all-rounder Ben Reece (24 off 26 balls) to take the game beyond Bury, who stay in eighth spot.
COPDOCK & OLD IPSWICHIAN were thrashed by fourth-placed Horsford, enduring the ignominy of being bowled out for just 41 on home turf in a 186-run defeat.
Horsford posted a total of 227 for nine, off 50 overs, recovering from a precarious eight for three thanks to Stephan Marillier (91) and Ryan Findlay (63). Matt Hunn bowled well with three for 37 off his 10 overs.
But Copdcok were then blown away off just 16.4 overs for a paltry 41 by the new-ball pair of Thomas Nudd (8.4-1-24-6) and Oscar Binny (5-1-11-4), with only Jacob Marston (14) and Luke Froggatt (10) reaching double figures.