Nine-man Bourne Vale favourites for drop

CRICKET: Nowton scored a morale-boosting win on Saturday to give them heart for the final weeks of the Suffolk Premier League season.They were promoted from the Intermediate Division last season behind Thurston, who have continued their winning ways to race into a seemingly unbeatable lead at the top of the table – their win at Eye on Saturday was their 11th in a row.

CRICKET

NOWTON scored a morale-boosting win on Saturday to give them heart for the final weeks of the Suffolk Premier League season.

They were promoted from the Intermediate Division last season behind Thurston, who have continued their winning ways to race into a seemingly unbeatable lead at the top of the table – their win at Eye on Saturday was their 11th in a row.

Nowton, meanwhile, have struggled in their first Premier Division season and were bottom of the table with just one win in nine outings when they went to Worlingworth on Saturday.

Things did not look to have improved much when they fielded on a hot day and a high-scoring wicket, and the home side rattled up 243 for six. The reliable Zac Rush (71) and Eric Davy (61) provided the foundation and Jim Menzies (44 not out) provided the later assault.

Ian Yapp, Nowton's captain for the last few seasons, had decided to hand over the captaincy to Paul Arnold to see if he could change the team's fortunes – and perhaps it worked.

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Yapp himself opened the innings and scored an important 84, while Mark Ainsley weighed in with 67. But it was opening bowler James Wharton who made the big difference.

The young paceman had not excelled with the ball, but after being promoted to number four he made a surprise impact with the bat.

"His top score for us was only a dozen or so," said fixture secretary Dave Meeson. "But we knew he could hit the ball and he batted really well."

Wharton had soon recorded his first half-century for the club, but when he had scored 66 and with victory in sight he top-edged a short delivery into his face and was taken to hospital with a suspected fractured cheekbone.

Three more wickets fell quickly before Meeson came in to hit the winning runs with just three balls to spare to secure a four-wicket success.

News of the win would have cheered Wharton in the casualty department, and Meeson reported: "He said he is hoping to play again next week."

Despite the win Nowton are still the main candidates for relegation back to the Intermediate Division along with Bourne Vale.

The Ipswich side were put to the sword at Woodbridge School where Adi Barham scored his first century, batting throughout the innings for an unbeaten 136. Ed Parker added 118 and the Woodbridge total was a mighty 297 for four. Bourne Vale, who were only fielding nine men, batted steadily in reply to reach 155 for three with Marty Daniels (44 not out), Steve Smith (43) and Chris Mutton (38 not out) remaining defiant.

Thurston's latest win came with another solid batting display, all seven batsmen getting into double figures in a total of 224 for five at Eye. Martyn Wilkins (52), Richard Baker (39) and Neil Baker (38) were the top scorers, while Jason Smithers grabbed five for 35 as Eye were held to 158 for nine in reply. Ian Crane and Dave Whiting both scored 50s for Eye.

Stowupland staged a successful run chase in an exciting contest at Coronation Park. Felixstowe Corinthians posted 200 for five (Andy Harrison 81, Mark Smith 44) and the visitors made a good response. Gavin Johnson scored 36 and Phil Cook 53 but wickets were falling steadily as Jon Jacobs picked up five for 99. Finally Jeff Lewis saw Stowupland home with an unbeaten 20, the winning run coming with the last pair together.

Sudbury Police lost twice and look set for a quick return to the feeder leagues as they remain anchored to the foot of the Intermediate Division table.

On Saturday they lost at Kedington, and on Sunday went down by 17 runs to table-topping Bury St Edmunds III. Stuart Fisher carried his bat for 85 in Bury's 196 for four, and Bryan Harwood replied with 54 for the Police, who ended on 179 for seven. Stuart Nunn took the bowling honours with four for 65.

Wortham are also in danger of relegation, losing at home to Elveden by five wickets. Tom Rash scored 53 in their total of 162 for eight, but Jon Trett followed up his four for 42 with an unbeaten 64 to take the visitors to their target with two overs to spare.

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