Maldon’s 4th XI arrived at Chantry Park in Ipswich looking to make it six wins from six games this season. The wicket looked good thanks to the opposition’s grounds team. Unsurprisingly Joe Figg lost the toss once again and Maldon were put in to bat first.
The 4th XI have a good record when batting first this season, having defended a total on four out of the five games played previously. After a few overs it was clear that a lower score may win the game as the wicket had variable bounce. After 10 overs Maldon’s openers had reached 36 without loss. Soon after both openers, Steve Brown (8) and Mark Thorn (20), were dismissed with the score at 47/2. The Ipswich bowlers put the ball on a consistent length, and with the variable bounce, runs dried up quickly.
At 20 overs Maldon had reached 62/2. Both Oliver Hull (19), Alex Strong (6) and Richard Buckby (2) were all caught out soon after the drinks break, bringing Joe Figg and Callum Figg to the wicket. The pair put on 47 runs together from 51 balls that took the score from 78 to 125. This partnership would prove pivotal to the Maldon victory. Both Joe Figg (40) and Callum Figg (18) were dismissed with three overs to go. The Maldon tail then took the final score to 135/8 with Al Johnson (1) and Kian Woolston (1*).
All of the wickets were caught showing that on a difficult wicket for batting the Maldon batsman were taking the variable bounce out of the equation and protected their stumps well by playing forward. There were some great catches by the Ipswich fielders too.
Following the interval the Maldon team were confident that their score was enough, despite leaving a few runs out in the middle during the first innings. Maldon may have been about 15 – 20 runs below par but the opening bowlers bowled well once again and restricted Ipswich to 24 runs from the first 10overs with William Hayes and Callum Figg picking up a wicket each. Both bowled a great line and length and moved the ball all over the place with pace.
The Ipswich batsman, realising they were behind the run rate, started to apply the pressure back onto the Maldon bowlers and started to score more freely. It was clear that this was a day to rotate the bowlers and following a bowling change, Vice-Captain Al Johnson came into the attack and claimed the wicket of the Ipswich number 4 with the score at 72/3. Dave Blackboro and Al Johnson bowled well as a pair and claimed 3 wickets between them. Following their spells of bowling, Ipswich were still well placed at 111/5 needing 25 runs for victory.
Joe Figg and the senior members of the team kept the team believing that victory was possible and Joe continued to rotate the bowlers bringing on Oliver Hull and bringing Callum back on. Oliver quickly got into his stride bowling out the Ipswich Captain with the score at 111/6. Both Callum and Oliver bowled accurately and with pace and were unlucky on more than one occasion and the ball narrowly missed the edge of the bat and the stumps. The Ipswich batsman were trying to hit everything and with the ball falling into gaps and several catches dropped, Maldon were beginning to feel that victory would not be there’s. After 37 overs Ipswich needed 9 runs for victory with 4 wickets in hand.
In the 38th over Oliver claimed the 7th wicket and Alex Strong’s accurate throw allowed Joe Figg to whip of the bails off to leave Ipswich needing 3 runs from 12 balls with 2 wickets remaining. Al Johnson bowled a superb maiden in the 39th over to leave Ipswich needing 3 from the final over. Oliver took the ball and claimed a wicket from the first delivery.
The Ipswich batsman were going to run for everything at this stage, with just four balls remainingand just 2 runs for victory. The field was brought in and in the 3rd ball of the over Alex Strong threw the ball into Joe Figg accurately once again who took the bails off once more to claim an unlikely victory for Maldon.
Al, Callum and Oliver bowled with great accuracy in the final four overs and dealt with the pressure with confidence and in Callum’s and Oliver’s case maturity beyond their years. All of the bowlers bowled extremely well and were unlucky with dropped catches and edges flying over the heads of the keeper and slips. However, this did not stop their belief or desire to win a game that was effectively lost.
The ground fielding was superb and with a small boundary on one side of the wicket it was imperative that Maldon protected that side of the wicket. Kian Woolston’s one hand diving stop with 3 overs to go, was superb and stands out from several other great fielding performances. Steve Brown took 2 great catches at gully and slip too.
This was a great all round team performance once again with everyone playing their part. The smiles and team spirit at the end shows why we play this amazing game.
It would be remiss of us not to thank Ipswich and East Suffolk for their great hospitality but also preparing a wicket during a tough week of inclement weather. The Maldon 4th XI make the journey to Woodbridge next weekend looking to continue the fine start to the season.