Maldon travelled to Hadleigh, looking to make it two wins in a row after a convincing win over Worlington the previous week. The hosts were boosted by the return of two key players- Zimbabwean Kudzai Maunze returned from international duty, while Suffolk all-rounder Dominic Manthorpe returned to the side.
The visitors lost the toss, and were asked to field first on a pitch that looked good for batting, with a history of turning as the day progressed. The hosts openers Marlon Dias and Jamie Colcomb got off to a strong start, making use of the lightning quick outfield to score several early boundaries. Hadleigh steadily progressed at over four runs per over, until a change of bowling bought about a double break through. Jack Bowen struck first, having Colcomb mis-timing a pull to Harry Grant at mid-on for 37. Three balls later, Maldon captain Toby Pugh struck, bowling Dias as he looked to play off the back foot for 39. This left the hosts 84 for 2 after 20 overs, which set the stage for Maunze to enter the fray. He struck straight boundaries off both Bowen and Pugh, as he maintained the run rate. At the other end, Josh Davey found scoring trickier, and succumbed as he ventured down the pitch to Pugh, missing the ball, leaving Jimmy Ainscough with a simple stumping. Suffolk all-rounder Manthorpe then only lasted one ball, as he attempted an aggressive sweep against Pugh, and was adjudged lbw by umpire Clive Vickery.
Hadleigh’s positive batting order continued to play shots, with Tom Piddington joining Muanze and scoring quickly, before Harry Grant knocked back Piddington’s off stump, clean bowling Piddington for 21. When Callum Morrin edged his second ball into the gloves of Jimmy Ainscough from Martyn Coker’s third ball, the hosts were 145 for 6 in the 32nd over. Coker soon took another wicket as Matt Anderson took a steepling caught to dismiss Ben Wallis for 20.
This was the moment Muanze took centre stage. He reached his 50 from 64 balls, before accelerating his own scoring rate rapidly. In the final ten overs, he scored 62 of the 66 runs Hadleigh made, striking the ball powerfully over and through the covers. The Maldon fielders kept them in the game with three run outs in quick succession closing out the innings. Grant, Ross Walpole and Ben Gibbons all were responsible for excellent individual piece of fielding, which meant the hosts finished their innings on exactly 250. As for Muanze, he finished on an unbeaten 112 from 91 balls, which contained 15 boundaries. His innings had led the home side to a strong total, which ultimately proved too much for the Maldon batting line up.
The Maldon reply struggled to get started. A fine delivery accounted from Piddington accounted for Jimmy Ainscough, before Kyle Tanner dismissed fellow opener Max Bryant for 10, leaving Maldon in trouble at 21 for 2. Maldon struggled to form any large partnerships, with Ross Walpole, Ben Gibbons and Matt Coppen all falling after having begun to build towards a recovery. When Coppen was caught at cover for 15, the contest was effectively over with the visitors 72 for 6. Matt Wild contributed some powerful strikes as he made 30, and he alongside captain Toby Pugh helped the Maldon score past 100. However, shortly after, Pugh edged off spinner Wallis to Piddington at slip, and the contest was over, Maldon all out for 108, losing by 142 runs.
Maldon host East Bergholt this week at Drapers Farm looking to bounce back from this defeat. Their cause will not be helped after it was confirmed that two important members of the squad, Reece Bawden and Matt Coppen, are both to miss the remainder of the season with serious knee and shoulder injuries. Maldon will hope to overcome this set back, and pick up 20 points however, and look to get their campaign back on track.
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