Spin kings are key to survival
CRICKET: SPIN kings Ian Johnson and Wasim Riaz could hold the key to the survival hopes of Ipswich and East Suffolk.The Chantry Park side currently occupies eighth spot in Division One of the Hargreaves Two Counties Championship – and if they are still there at the end of the season it could spell relegation.
SPIN kings Ian Johnson and Wasim Riaz could hold the key to the survival hopes of Ipswich and East Suffolk.
The Chantry Park side currently occupies eighth spot in Division One of the Hargreaves Two Counties Championship – and if they are still there at the end of the season it could spell relegation.
With Halstead looking hot favourites to drop out of the East Anglian Premier League and return to the Two Counties, three sides would go down unless the Division One champions gained promotion via the end-of-season play-offs.
However, IES skipper David Leach does not want to have to rely on ifs and buts and wants his side to climb away from the possible drop zone.
Said Leach: "I'm optimistic that we can lift ourselves away as we have some talented players in the side, but the problem is that they're not all clicking at the same time.
"If they did, we wouldn't be in this position, but we've got six games left and I feel that we can gain enough points from those to get out of trouble."
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Left arm spinner Johnson, who has now recovered from an ankle injury, returns to the IES side at Braintree tomorrow and will be in tandem with leg spinner Riaz.
Said Leach: "We've missed Ian for much of the season but I'm glad he's back because I think he's the best spinner in the league.
"Wasim has only just joined us after moving into the area, but I've already seen enough to know he will cause a few sides a bit of trouble and the two of them could be our passport to safety."
He added: "It is still very open, but if the worst were to happen and we got relegated, we would come straight back. Our players are loyal and would stay with the club to get us back in the top flight."
Leach is glad that three sides close to Ipswich – Copdock and OI s, Browns and Tattingstone – are in the top half of Division One.
"It's important that a town like ours has good representation at the highest level and all credit to Copdock for going top at the weekend after their narrow victory over us.
"It was actually a game we should have won, but sometimes when things aren't going right for a side, those sort of results don't go your way.
"I felt we played well against a side I believe are the best in the division and I just hope we can reproduce that sort of form in the last half a dozen games."
Leach will be missing tomorrow due to work commitments, while Nick Palmer is also unavailable and Robbie Glassford, who injured his right hand against Copdock, is likely to be out for a couple of weeks.
Copdock should cement top spot with victory at Felixstowe, while Browns will be out to halt a run of two successive defeats at Sudbury.
Captain Martyn Kidd and batsman Matt Perry are both unavailable, but Ed Flather and David Drury return to the side that narrowly lost to Braintree last week.
Tattingstone, who have been enjoying a highly-successful cricket week, travel to Wivenhoe, where defeat for the home side would push them closer to the danger zone.
Easton are clinging on by their fingertips to second place in Division Two and will want to put a little bit of daylight between them and the chasing pack with a home victory over Mildenhall seconds.
Stowmarket will be hoping they can finally play some cricket after last week's game again fell victim of the weather when they travel to Clacton seconds in Division Three, while St Margaret's entertain Elmstead Grasshoppers.
Two successive victories last weekend shot East Bergholt up to fourth in Division Four, but their position is slightly false as they have played two more games than any other club and only have four left.
Tomorrow, they travel to leaders Haverhill, while Achilles take on Wivenhoe seconds at Stone Lodge Lane and Hadleigh visit Kelvedon and Feering.