After a couple of weeks without a match, Maldon returned to the farm for a game with third placed Mistley. On a rain threatened day the game was reduced to 45 overs a side and when Maldon won the toss they elected to bat.
A solid opening partnership of 67 was broken when Jimmy Ainscough was caught at cover for 29. Max Bryant then fell for 39 when the score was 96 for 2 and Maldon had laid a solid foundation for the rest of their innings.
On a tough wicket Maldon were never able to break free and Mistley kept them in check throughout the innings. This meant Ian Elliott had to expertly guide the innings with an unbeaten 54 to finish at 212 for 7 off their 45 overs with both Matt Anderson 17 and Matt Wild 22 hitting useful contributions.
Definitely a competitive if not automatically winning total Maldon set about defending it with the returning Matt Anderson and Matt Wild leading the attack.
Mistley were intent on bludgeoning their way to victory though and despite early inroads with numerous boundaries the opening pair took vital early wickets with sharp catches from Ainscough and debuting Angus Beames to leave Mistley 52 for 3 and Maldon in control.
Mistley countered though and wrestled back the impetus with a sixty run partnership that Elliott brought to an end. At the 112 for 4 the game was in the balance but further partnerships put Mistley in control and despite losing wickets to Elliott and captain Pugh the elusive wicket of mainstay Callum O’Connell meant Mistley looked odds on for victory.
At 191 for 6 the game looked over but a resilient Maldon attack tried to bring the game back. First Wild with two more wickets and then Martyn Coker with one plus the excellent death bowling of Jack Bowen meant Mistley needed 3 off the final over with one wicket remaining.
It was left to O’Connell to finish off his match winning innings of 81 not out by scoring the winning runs and meant Maldon had for the fourth time this season been frustratingly one ball from victory.
With three games remaining Maldon next week head to Hadleigh hoping to get some reward for the cricket they are playing this season.