MARSHALL HATCHICK TWO COUNTIES
Halstead 149 lost to Sudbury 188-9 by 39 runs
Sudbury’s five-star start to the campaign continued with a 39-run victory over their old rivals at Halstead.
The win puts undefeated Sudbury on 100 points at the summit, two clear of nearest rivals Wivenhoe, who they meet in a fortnight’s time, while Halstead sit 10th.
Sudbury elected to bat first on what appeared a good batting surface, but Nathan Poole was bowled early for just eight and was followed shortly after by Adam Mansfield when he edged a wide delivery from Joe Morris to the wicketkeeper.
James Poulson then formed a solid half century partnership with Tom Huggins before the former chipped to midwicket to leave Sudbury 89-3.
That became 96-4 when Darren Batch was deceived by a David Elsbury arm ball and was bowled for just six. Wickets continued to fall as Sudbury’s middle order all came and went without providing Huggins with the necessary support he craved.
Huggins was eventually dismissed for an excellent 83.
This left tail-ender Jonny Gallagher to show what could be achieved on the slow surface if batsmen applied themselves. Gallagher struck a fluent 19 from 26 balls to guide Sudbury to 188-9 from their 50 overs.
Early wickets were going to be the key if Sudbury were to defend their modest total and Poulson had the in-form Charlie Douglas-Hughes caught by Huggins at slip for 19.
Halstead captain Josh Wells then mistimed a drive and was held at mid-on off the bowling of Gallagher to leave Halstead struggling at 39-2.
Sudbury then turned to spin and the lack of pace in the pitch helped keep a lid on the scoring rate, Ben Hyett particularly impressive, returning figures of 2-22 from his 10 overs.
Huggins was equally as miserly, conceding just seven from seven tight overs. As wickets fell at regular intervals at one end, South African import Dale Verreynne stood firm at the other, battling his way to 49 from 89 balls.
The return of Poulson into the attack finally saw the back of Vereynne, the ball taking a leading edge and finding the safe hands of Batch at mid-wicket. This left the Halstead tail exposed and Poulson and Billy Moulton-Day wasted little time in clean bowling the final two batsmen to clinch a 39 run win, and their five successes from five this season.