Copdock take over at the top

CRICKET: COPDOCK and Old Ipswichians moved to the top of the Hargreaves Two Counties Championship with a narrow victory at Chantry Park over neighbours Ipswich and East Suffolk.

COPDOCK and Old Ipswichians moved to the top of the Hargreaves Two Counties Championship with a narrow victory at Chantry Park over neighbours Ipswich and East Suffolk.

The home side needed six runs to win off the last over of a bad tempered match – with three wickets in hand.

After Suffolk pace bowler James East took a wicket with his first ball, IES needed three to win with two balls remaining. Skipper David Leach, who had restored the upper hand following a couple of soft dismissals when IES appeared to be cruising to victory chasing 171, struck a straight drive that was either going to win or lose the game for his side.

Leach had already struck some lusty boundaries and on first impressions this looked like being another. But it soon became clear that the ball was not going to reach the boundary and Tom Rash ran round to take a fine catch just inside the white line.

This left Mark Smith needing to strike three off the final ball. But after East had checked in his first run-up to see whether number 11 John Leggett was backing up he sent down a fine delivery that went through to keeper Andy Burch, and led to Leggett being run out.

The 20 points moved Copdock ahead of Exning whose game against Felixstowe was cancelled, while IES are still left with a fight on their hands to avoid relegation.

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Copdock are good enough to win the league, qualify through the play-offs and play in the East Anglian ECB Premier League next season.

This will be a big boost for cricket in the Ipswich area and give talented young players in the town a chance to play club cricket at the highest club level.

Copdock have a couple of players who sometimes let the club down with their actions on the pitch and with Paul Pearce failing to put in an appearance John Hutton was forced to umpire at both ends.

This put pressure on IES wicketkeeper Derek Bloomfield who stood at square leg for the final 20 overs and he was at the wrong end of some unnecessary verbal abuse after turning down a run out appeal against Mike Edmond.

Apart from James East, Burch also got somewhat carried away over a wide ball signalled by Hutton and sooner or later an umpire if going to deduct penalty runs as he has the power to do.

Adam Baker batted well for the visitors with Leach having a fine all-round game by taking five wickets. James East, as usual, bowled well for Copdock who must now fancy their chances of

winning the title.

Browns slipped further out of the title race when they fell just short of in-form Braintree's score of 180. On a damp pitch Braintree won the toss and elected to bat, but soon found themselves in difficulty having scored just 46 runs for the loss of their opening pair from the first 21 overs.

Then a match-winning partnership of 101 in 22 overs developed between Dave Denny (61) and Nigel Sheldrake (47), leaving Braintree with a total of 180 for 9 from their 50 overs.

Browns began their run chase slowly but Rob Smyth lifted the tempo with a quick-fire 34.

Neil Parry (44) and Brendan Meagher (42) appeared to be putting Browns in control but they failed to step on the gas at the necessary time and when Parry was caught at long-off from the bowling of Andy Cook the writing was on the wall.

As the last over started Browns required 12 for victory, and took five off the first two deliveries, before Cook clean-bowled Lander with the third ball.

Robert Manning was stumped off the next ball and only two runs came from the final two deliveries of the game to give Braintree a four run win.

Tattingstone, who celebrate their 50th anniversary with special games on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday this week, moved into mid-table with a six wicket win at home to Sudbury.

Former Suffolk opener Simon Halliday scored a half century for Sudbury as they scored 189 for eight. When Tattingstone lost Stuart Hammond and Paul Culley with just five runs on the board, a home victory looked unlikely, but Chris Bell and Adrian Stockton both scored half centuries to see the village side home with an over to spare.

In Division Two, Easton are still second despite losing their fifth match of the season, and it is now very tight to see who will accompany Mistley into the top flight.

East Bergholt beat Hadleigh in a low scoring Division Four game with Dougie Frame among the wickets for the visitors, and Bergholt made it two wins at the weekend when they beat Long Melford in a league game played on Sunday.

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