Copdock stay top thanks to Tom

CRICKET: TOM Jenkins set up a comfortable 20-point victory for Copdock over bottom-placed Felixstowe to keep them in pole position in the Hargreaves Two Counties Championship.

EXNING'S Catley brothers smashed the Division One third-wicket partnership record as their side kept up their championship challenge with a 27-run win over lowly Frinton.

The chance to play-off for a place among East Anglia's elite awaits the winner of the Two Counties Championship, and with just five weeks of the season remaining the battle is really hotting up.

Both league leaders Copdock & Old Ipswichians and Exning know that any slip-up could ruin such a prized opportunity, and the West Suffolk club were struggling at 8 for 2 early in their innings.

However, skipper Matthew Catley joined younger brother Tim at the crease and with their contrasting styles they put on 261 runs to allay any fears.

Tim stroked his way to a chanceless 105 from 100 balls, but this was made to look almost pedestrian by Matthew, who clubbed 150 runs from 109 balls, including 19 fours and 3 sixes.

Tim's innings, which included 18 fours, marked his return to cricket following a serious knee injury that had kept him out of sport for almost a year.

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An unbeaten sixth-wicket stand between David Werthmann and Graeme Howlett took the total past the 300 mark, as the innings closed at 313 for 5.

The friendly wicket changed very little after the tea interval as Frinton, led by Tony Stubbs (70) and Chris Kelly (56), put up a good challenge.

Once the cultured Alex Wormington was dismissed with the score on 251, Frinton's chance of victory disappeared as the asking rate of 12 an over from the last five overs proved too much for their lower order.

The innings finished on 286 for 7, giving Exning a 27-run victory and 18 points to add to their title challenge.

However, Copdock scored a 20-point victory over bottom-placed Felixstowe to remain in pole position.

Tom Jenkins set up a comfortable win, taking 5 for 25, as the hosts were dismissed for just 108, and Copdock knocked off the runs for the loss of two wickets.

Just 0.3 of an average point now separates the two sides, so the next few weeks should provide some interesting cricket.

Sudbury and Ipswich & East Suffolk are both dicing with death at the edge of the three-team relegation zone, assuming that Halstead drop down from the East Anglian Premier league.

Sudbury were without six regular first-team members as they lost to Browns by eight wickets, but are still above Ipswich & East Suffolk who suffered a 33-run defeat at the hands of Braintree.

In Division Two, leaders Mistley lost for the first time this season when they travelled to Harwich & Dovercourt, but with an advantage of more than four points their passage into the top division should still be safe.

The game was more important for Harwich who are second from bottom in the standings, and they posted a respectable 169 for 8.

Alex Stephen hit 52 to boost the hosts' total beyond the reach of Mistley, who fell 41 runs short.

In the Sunday Challenge there were wins for Colchester & East Essex, Bury St Edmunds and Copdock & Old Ipswichians.

Colchester beat Coggeshall by three wickets after dismissing them for 152 in the 40th over with Wheeler picking up 4 for 26.

At 57 for 5 Colchester were struggling, but Kennedy (36) and Wheeler (34no) steered them to victory.

Bury St Edmunds visited Exning Park in a low-key affair and came away with an eight-wicket victory.

Exning batted first and could only score 141 which was never a competitive target once Ali Douglas (67) and Arvid Gunderson (19) put on an opening partnership of 64 for the visitors.