Round 16 of the Two Counties season saw Maldon host Hadleigh at Drapers Farm. The Dons were in much need of a win after a disappointing and frustrating season so far. Hadleigh on the other hand sat 3rd in the Division 1 table, boasting one of the most powerful batting line ups in the league.
Maldon captain Toby Pugh won the toss and elected to bat, despite his side missing club legend Ian Elliott and the vertically challenged opening batsman Ross Walpole.
Former captains Martyn Coker and Jimmy Ainscough started the Maldon innings in positive manner, with Ainscough especially finding the boundary with one front foot boundaries off both Dominic Manthorpe and Kyle Tanner. Tanner eventually struck in fortunate manner, as a leg side delivery ricocheted off Ainscough’s foot and onto the stumps. Ainscough (24 runs from 22 balls) was soon followed back to the pavilion by James Ellis. Ellis, a centurion for the 2nd XI 7 days prior, dabbled with Daniel Shanks’ first delivery, only managing to steer the ball to Josh Davey at slip. At 44 for 2 from 10 overs, Maldon needed a big stand, and Coker and Matt Anderson built a solid partnership.
Anderson hit several boundaries, with some excellent straight drives giving the bowlers plenty to think about. Coker was more reserved, but still managed to find the boundary, as the pair kept the score moving at 4 runs per over. At the halfway point, Maldon were 104 for 2, with Anderson 37 and Coker 32. A flurry of boundaries after drinks bought both batsman their half century. Sadly, Anderson departed soon after for 52 as he chipped Zimbabwean international Kudzai Maunze to mid wicket. From 136 for 3 with 20 overs remaining, Maldon looked well placed to post a minimum of 250 which was needed with a fast outfield and good batting wicket.
The Maldon batting order struggled to keep the rate moving, as wickets fell as regular intervals. Jamie Brown (8) found the boundary with a lovely straight drive. However, he fell to Tom Piddington, as did both Matt Wild and Toby Pugh, leaving the score 208/8 with 4 overs left.
Coker has continued to score at the other end, hitting a total of 11 fours and 1 six in his total of 95 off 135 balls. His resistance ended when he inside edged a ball from Manthorpe into his off stump to be 9th out, one ball before Manthorpe rounded off the innings by bowling Keith Sharp. The Maldon score of 210 looked short of a target needed for victory. However the side has shown some fight in posting a score in excess of 200 against a strong bowling line up.
Maldon got the perfect start they wanted, with Jamie Colvin edging to Martyn Coker at gully off the resurgent Matt Anderson. Kudzai Maunze (43 from 38) batted with positive intent from the outset, while Isaac Toombs (87 from 70) was quick to jump on anything short of a length through the leg side.
Maunze fell to Coker, caught on the boundary by Anderson. By this point, Hadleigh were 85 for 2 from 12 overs, with Maldon ruing dropping both Maunze and Toombs inside the first ten overs.
Toombs looked set to reach a century before quick glovework by Jimmy Ainscough had him caught behind off Toby Pugh 13 short of a century.
Matt Kent and Tom Piddington kept the run rate high, as Maldon tried 8 bowlers in the vain hope of stemming the torrent of runs. Hadleigh romped to their target off 211 runs with more than 18 overs in hand. Maldon were left to lick their wounds, and reflect on another Saturday that had not gone as planned.
This week Maldon start August by travelling to East Bergholt.