Maldon started the second half of their Division 1 season with a comprehensive victory over Braintree at Drapers Farm.
Stand-in captain Jimmy Ainscough lost the toss and was asked to bat in helpful bowling conditions. A pre-match rain shower delay the start and saw the game reduced to 40 overs per side. When the action did start, the visitors utilised conditions, taking three early wickets to leave Maldon 18/3 in the 3rd over.
Ainscough and Mackenzie Jones rebuilt steadily, although boundaries we hard to come from. Jones released some pressure with three boundaries through the leg side, before he departed lbw to Barry Stephens for 22, leaving Maldon 82/4 after 19 overs. Soon after Ainscough reached 50, as he and Matt Coppen began what would ultimately be a match-winning partnership.
Maldon reached the final ten overs on 132/4, with Ainscough on 57 and Coppen 29. The pair then produced a devastating display of hitting, with Ainscough clearing the boundary rope four times. He raced to his second century of the season in 85 balls, before being eventually dismissed for a brilliantly paced 117 from 96 balls.
Matt Coppen added an unbeaten 59 which was full of positive running that never let the Braintree bowlers build pressure. The hosts added 96 runs in the final ten overs to post a final score of 227/5 which looked likely to be incredibly challenging to match.
The Braintree reply never got going. Matt Wild struck first before shortly afterwards Mackenzie Jones did the same. Braintree, with a much depleted batting order, we’re soon 4/3 and the wickets kept on coming. Jones bowled with fire and accuracy, bowling five consecutive maidens to end his first spell with 3/3 from 6 overs. Wild constantly got the ball to swing and seam, and richly deserved more than the four wickets he took. His 4/22 left the Braintree 28/7 after 16 overs and totally out of the game. Steve Hale made 41, and with some help from the lower order, Braintreee eventually crept to a score of 75 all out, with Reece Bawden and Ian Elliott both taking wickets to leave Maldon winners by the margain of 152 runs.
The win consolidated Maldon’s place in 7th in Division 1, which they will look to build up next week as they travel to Halstead.