Maldon hosted East Bergholt, hoping to post a second win of the season. The visitors were weakened with two of their top four batsman missing, while Matt Coppen was also unavaliable for the hosts after breaking in collarbone at training in the week.
After a week of wet weather, Maldon captain Toby Pugh won the toss and chose to bowl in challenging batting conditions. Bergholt openers George Foster and Alex Price found the going difficult as Matt Wild and Matt Anderson made it challenging for them. This pressure was rewarded in 6th over when Anderson found the edge of Price’s bat, and the dependable Jimmy Ainscough did the rest behind the stumps. Foster was able to find the boundary of a few occasions, especially when the Maldon bowlers dropped slightly short. The 2nd wicket partnership between Foster and Daniel Loveless bought about 47 runs until Loveless mistimed an Ian Elliott delivery to Matt Anderson at midwicket, who make no mistake- Loveless was out for 15 and East Bergholt were 55 for 2.
The two star performers in East Bergholt’s top four, Foster and South African Kian Schwartz then pressed on, despite the pitch began to spin prodigiously at points. Foster reached his fifty after a couple of lofted 6s off Toby Pugh, before he mistimed a third aerial stroke and was caught in the deep by Harry Grant to give Elliott a second wicket. Eliott then soon after picked up his third wicket of the day, when Alex Strong took a good running catch coming in from the boundary to dismiss Oakley for 0. Schwartz now became the key wicket, but he dealt with the Maldon spinners calmly, as he recieved support from Ross Taylor, who made a quick fire 23.
Toby Pugh returned for a second spell and had a great amount of success, claiming five wickets in quick succession. This included Schwartz, who was unfortunate to be dismissed for 73 after reverse sweeping Pugh 70 yards towards the cover boundary, only for Ross Walpole to swoop and claim the catch. Pugh, after a challenging start to his spell, eventually returned figures of 5/55 from 10 overs, with Elliott’s 3/18 from 10 overs having also stemed the Bergholt scoring. The final total of 181 was one Maldon felt confident in reaching.
Maldon’s reply started with Max Bryant retiring hurt with a calf injury. Ross Walpole joined Jimmy Ainscough at the crease, and the pair got the scoreboard moving after a tight opening to the innings following aggressive fast bowling from Schwartz, who continued to be a thorn in Maldon’s side.
Ainscough fell early for 5, but Ian Elliott entered the fray, and immediately made batting look easy on a challenging surface. He struck six 4’s in just 16 balls, before his 17th ball from Schwartz deceived him, as the slower ball dipped on Elliott and bowled him for 27.
Bryant returned to the crease with a runner, and he and Walpole looked to push Maldon towards the victory post.
At 25 overs, Maldon were 80 for 2, requiring 102 runs from the second half of their innings. Maldon’s innings took a sudden, and ultimately fatal turn soon after the team score reached 100. They lost 5 wickets for 21 runs, including both Bryant (33) and Walpole (31). Nathan Philpot well flighted spin bowling, deceived the Maldon batters, forcing errors that left Maldon 124 for 8. Martyn Coker and Alex Strong took the score to 139 before Strong was bowled off the inside edge by Philpot for 8. Coker then went on the attack, striking off spinner Oakley for three 4’s in 5 balls before a run out ended the innings. Captain Toby Pugh was short of his ground after attempting an ambitious third run as he tried to get Coker on strike for the following over. Coker was left on 22, as Maldon fell 29 runs short of their target.
This week, Maldon travel to high flying Mistley hoping to get some form and confidence back against a side firmly in the top four in Division 1 so far this season.