First XI Victory!

Maldon visited Gandish Road, the home of East Bergholt determined to end a run of 12 successive defeats in Division 1.

Captain Toby Pugh won the toss, and on a good looking batting surface decided to bat first.

The visitors lost a wicket in the third over as Martyn Coker was caught behind by Daniel Loveless off the bowling of Kieran Schwartz for 4. Max Bryant, fresh from having missed the previous game against Hadleigh, joined ickle Ross Walpole in a partnership 54 for the 2nd wicket. Walpole, who used his elf-like stature to play off the back foot with great success, was then bowled by Oscar Dias for a well compiled 41 from 43 balls.

Ian Elliott joined Bryant in a partnership that show Maldon to 100, but that was when Bryant fell for 33 after a fine delivery by leg spinner Harry Nightingale saw him caught at slip.

Jimmy Ainscough entered the fray and boundary the boundary 3 times in his first 10 balls, before he departed for a quick fire 19.

Elliott looked set to take the game away from East Bergholt, but fell on 39 to off spinner Ross Taylor. Matt Anderson (33 from 39) and Liam Saxton (28 from 22) added impetus to the Maldon innings, with Saxton smiting two consecutive leg side 6s off Connor Oakley to see Maldon towards 250.

Schwartz returned to mop up the tail, and his 4/31 held Maldon to 232- a competitive total on a wicket that started to turn as the Maldon innings had developed.

Maldon started in positive manner with the ball, with both Anderson and Finlay Jones winning 2 lbw decisions inside the first 10 overs. At 33/2, South African Kieran Schwartz entered the fray, with Maldon aware he was the key wicket. A superb piece of agile fielding from Jamie Brown saw Schwartz dismissed for 25, as Brown swooped to hit one stump with a match-winning moment.

Oakley continued to defy Maldon, but he found support hard to come by. Maldon’s spin twins Ian Elliott and Toby Pugh tied the East Bergholt run rate up, and struck four times between them to take the hosts to 115-7. Elliott struck three times in four balls to dismiss Dias, Taylor and Hambrook, while Pugh deserved more than the one wicket he took, as he frequently spun the ball sharply and caused the batsmen trouble.

Oakley found some support from number 9 Alex Price, and the pair added 54 for the 8th wicket. However, the required run rate constantly rose during this time towards 8 an over. Oakley finally snapped, skying Matt Anderson to captain Pugh for 85. Price then fell lbw in the next over to Martyn Coker to leave Maldon on the brink of victory. Fin Jones did the honours, catching Harry Nightingale off his own bowling for 7, leaving East Bergholt 184 all out, 48 short of Maldon’s total.

The delight in the Maldon celebrations showed satisfaction at finally getting a second win on the board during a difficult year. They will look at make it back to back wins this Saturday as they host Mistley at Drapers Farm.

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