Leaders take control

CRICKET: Tattingstone won their biggest game of the season on Saturday to go clear at the top of the Marshall Hatchick Two Counties Division One table.

CRICKET

TATTINGSTONE won their biggest game of the season on Saturday to go clear at the top of the Marshall Hatchick Two Counties Division One table.

They beat last year's champions Exning by seven wickets and at the halfway stage are in a great position to win the league for the first time in their history.

Tattingstone knew they would have to be at their best as they were missing three key players in Indian all rounder Darshan Silvalkar, Ajit Achar and prolific batsman Stuart Hammond.

However, the Tattingstone bowlers reduced Exning to only 110 and crucially removed the Suffolk pair of Tim and Matt Catley for a combined total of only three runs. Captain Chris Bell took three wickets, as did his brother Steve, before 65 from

in-form Ian Connell set Tattingstone on their way to a crucial victory.

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Copdock, who had been in second, failed to keep up the pressure as they were beaten by 31 runs against Browns. Australian Brendan Meagher was again the star for Browns and he has to be regarded as one of the best players of the season as he scored 72 and then took three for 43.

Sudbury moved up to second after a four-wicket success at Halstead and Bury St Edmunds seconds gained a rare win at home to Braintree, who are bottom.

Ipswich and East Suffolk look like they will make a swift return to Division One as their seven wicket win against Frinton has taken them to the top of Division Two. IES were unlucky last year as they finished third from bottom but Halstead's relegation from the East Anglian Premier League affected their own status. Exning didn't go up to replace Halstead which meant another team would have to be relegated from the first division.

"I'm absolutely thrilled to go top and it has always been our aim to come straight back up," said IES captain David Leach. "It was unfortunate last season as we thought we were safe but it was out of our hands and the league has its rules."

"A lot of people were surprised we had gone down but we are probably stronger now than we were last year. We knew we were capable of going up and I would have been disappointed if players had left but I was pleased they wanted to give it a go at this level for a season.

"But, it would be a disaster if we do not go up and if we didn't we would probably lose some of our players."

IES have only been beaten by Mildenhall seconds and Leach said his side has a squad good enough to win promotion.

He added: "We are in a nice position as we have a settled team and players like Nick Palmer, who missed a lot of cricket last year, have been available for most of the season. We have two or three players going to our second team who are all good cricketers and we are lucky as we have 14/15 players capable of first team cricket. The strength of the batting isn't as good in this division and in the first division each side would have six or seven strong players, but now the teams might only have three or four of them."

Ipswich and East Suffolk have a youthful team and their key players are left arm seamer Mark Smith, who has already gained 18 wickets, Australian all rounder Mike Pitman and Palmer who is the captain of the Combined Services team.

They suffered a frustrating start to the season as they went three weeks without playing due to two games being postponed due to weather and Felixstowe withdrawing from the league.

"It was a bit of a nightmare," said Leach. "We had no league game until the last week in May and when Lakenheath were playing their fourth match we were playing our first. That was difficult for us and we were without five first team players but the guys did well and it was a crucial win. If we had

started with a defeat then it would have put doubts in people's minds right from the start. We are quietly confident of going up but I have to keep people's feet on the ground and there is still a lot of hard work to do."

Elsewhere Easton lost to Coggeshall by 48 runs, St Margaret's in Division Three were beaten by ten wickets against Haverhill and Division Four side Achilles skittled out Copdock seconds for only 40 to win by 157 runs.

AFTER drawing with Browns Seniors, the Marshall Hatchick Two Counties Over-50s lost their first game of the season when they were beaten by the Suffolk Premier League.

Against Browns, the Over-50s declared on 180 for five with Ray Digweed top-scoring against some tight bowling, while the home side were 29 runs short with two wickets standing at the end.

Three batsmen shone for the Suffolk Premier League seniors in a 45-over per side game but their total of 275 for four was almost overhauled by the Two Counties team for whom Graham Penny, Phil Cox and Martin Blackwell all scored half centuries.

Two Counties Over 50s 180 for 5 (Digweed 73, Bibby 39, Philpott 25, White 2 for 56). Browns Seniors 151 for 8 (Manning 31, Norton 23, Mobbs 21, McKnight 3 for 24, Bibby 3 for 39). Match drawn.

Suffolk Premier League Seniors 275 for 4 (Read 90, G Dale 64 n.o., Barden 64). Two Counties Over-50s 267 for 5 (Penny 58, Cox 57, Blackwell 55, D Robinson 41, Jones 39 n.o., Collen 2 for 46, C Robinson 2 for 51). Suffolk Premier League won by 8 runs.

On Wednesday, the Two Counties side play Halstead Seniors at Star Stile (2pm start). The team is: Phil Cox (capt), Graham Penny, Brian Challis (all Long Melford), Colin Philpott (Maldon), John Stonehouse (Eight Ash Green), Martin Southwell (Braintree), Martin Blackwell (Coggeshall), Neal Manning, Martin White (Browns), Sylvester McKnight (Boxted), Paul Dale (East Bergholt). Scr: Kenny Sparkes.

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