Russell pulls off the great escape for Saffron Walden
- Credit: Archant
Alistair Russell, Saffron Walden’s number six batsman, snatched a draw from the jaws of defeat against Copdock and Old Ipswichian in the East Anglian Premier League.
Chasing 312-6, Russell top scored and spent over two-and-a-half hours in the middle as Walden batted out 59 overs for a draw.
Copdock’s Chris Warn played a masterful innings on his way to an unbeaten 104 as Walden were set the task of overturning a mammoth total.
Warn’s man of the match award looked all but certain as early as the 12th over of the reply as the scoreboard showed 35-4 and Walden were staring down the barrel of their fifth loss, and first when batting second.
But, as they have done time-after-time this season, Joe Barrs’ side found a hero who batted them to a draw.
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More often than not it’s been Matt Gouldstone. With 746 runs on the year, he has more than twice as many as the next highest scorer - Barrs with 367 - and he played an integral part in Saturday’s rescue act. Gouldstone’s 53 was his seventh half-century of the season and, more importantly, the time he spent in the middle, 95 minutes in total, helped Walden bat out 59 overs and earn a draw.
It was Russell, however, who was the main inspiration behind the escape.
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Not only did he top score with 60 - his best knock since his 86 against Swardeston at the end of May - he frustrated Copdock’s bowlers for over 20 overs. He didn’t get the unbeaten walk off the pitch his performance deserved after he was caught by Hugo Douglas, but he did set up Ben Waring and Cameron Taylor with the task of batting out the final seven overs.
It was a day to forget for Walden’s bowling attack.
The morning started so well. After winning the toss and electing to field, Walden got the most out of the Anglo American Playing Field pitch to take three quick wickets.
Sam Webb-Snowling took eight from the first over and was run out by Russell in the second. Waring then cleaned up Chris Swallowed and, in the ninth over, Barrs trapped Martyn Cull in front.
The pressure slowly dissipated and partnerships of 60 and 50 put Copdock in charge. Warn had put 39 runs on the board when he was joined by Jack Beaumont and together they pushed the winning line further and further back for Walden.
By the time the innings closed, they had racked up 133 runs off 109 balls to set an imposing target of 313 runs to win.
Four quick wickets ended any hopes of Walden steal a victory, but Russell’s resilience earned his side a draw.