Bury captain confident of side’s must-win abilities
Bury St Edmunds Cricket Club have just one final chance to avoid the Gibbs Denley East Anglian Premier League play-offs this weekend.
Having won five games in a row, they were brought back down to Earth with a bump and a loss last Saturday, as Burwell & Exning (250-6) beat the side (129) by 121 runs.
Despite their impressive run of form, the defeat saw them return to the foot of the table, after a brief foray above Norwich, with this Saturday's away trip to Frinton-on-Sea (11am) their final match of the season.
Bury lie 10 points adrift of relegation rivals Norwich, who arguably have the tougher fixture away to top-of-the-table Sudbury, with both ends of the EAPL coming down to final game shoot-outs.
Bury captain Sean Park said it makes for a 'high-stakes' weekend with a number of permutations possible – with whichever team finishing bottom due to face Fakenham on Sunday in a play-off semi-final.
"We are looking at it as three finals in the next few days," he said. "It's a high-stakes weekend for a lot of Teams in the league, which makes for an exciting finish to the season.
“That’s been true of our season throughout though, we have already played so many of these must-win games.
“It’s been frustrating for us, but also exciting as every game has had something riding on it.
“Obviously we don’t want to have to play again on Sunday, we want to avoid the play-offs and retain our EAPL status by winning our final league game, but we are ready for whatever happens.”
He said that match at Fakenham would be a 50/50 game, against the Norfolk Premier Division League winners, who they have not played for a long time.
“It’s an unknown for both teams,” he said. “So we want to avoid that game, they also haven’t played for a few weeks while we will have played the day before.”
He said this was due to the opening game of the EAPL being postponed, pushing the whole season back a week, and into the play-offs weekend.
This change has also meant Bury cannot play at home, with work already having started on their Victory Ground pitches, to prepare them for the winter months.
“It’s frustrating,” Park added. “But it is what it is, and Fakenham, in particular, is a lovely ground.
“Hopefully we won’t have to play there though as it’s all or nothing at Frinton on Saturday. They are a very tough side but we have won five of our last six games.
“It’s just one more game where we need to put a strong performance together.
“Hopefully we can do that, the loss at Burwell was us coming unstuck and was a game to forget.
“I’m looking at it as a blip in a side that knows how to play the shorter-form game.”
Bury won the toss and elected to field but a significant rain delay impacted on their game plan at Burwell.
Despite capturing the first wicket for just three runs, Burwell steadied the ship and reached 250-6 in the 42 overs reduced game.
Dominic Manthorpe’s two wickets for 32 runs were the best bowling figures for the side with James McKinney (2-46), Josh Cantrell (1-40) and Sean Cooper (1-54) taking the other wickets.
In reply, Bury got off to a great start, putting on a 91-run first-wicket partnership, with Murray Commins (59) and Alastair Allchin (30) leading from the front.
But the side then collapsed with the 11 runs extras column the next best score.
In Division Three of the Two Counties Championship, Bury St Edmunds II (147-8) beat Tuddenham (146-8) by two wickets.
In Division Two of the Suffolk Sunday Cricket League, Tuddenham (231-5) beat Bury St Edmunds Sunday II (230-5) by five wickets.
Greene King Players of the Week: Murray Commins, Yogesh Kumar and Saurabh Gupta.