Walden overcome double century opening stand in draw

Joe Barrs. Picture: Jamie Pluck

Joe Barrs. Picture: Jamie Pluck - Credit: Archant

Saffron Walden managed to overcome a huge partnership from Great Witchingham’s openers to earn a draw in the East Anglian Premier League.

James Spelman and Sam Arthurton opened the game with a 264-run first-wicket stand to put Walden firmly on the back foot before they even started their chase of 295-7.

The task was made all the more daunting following their dismal batting display last week when they were scuttled for 72 in 30.2 overs by Vauxhall Mallards. They held firm, though, and led by Alistair Russell’s 74, they batted out their allotted 62 overs to earned a draw.

It was a result that looked improbable following Spelman and Arthurton’s partnership.

Arthurton hit 18 fours and a six during his 134-run knock that was ended when he was clean bowled by Walden captain Joe Barrs, who finished with three wickets. Spelman went in the same way after scoring 17 boundaries in his 156-ball 121.

Having hung around for so long, the openers were dismissed with the second and fourth balls of the 57th over.

James Hale added a useful 19 but the next five batsmen struggled against Barrs and Ben Waring, who took a four-fer, adding 29 in nine overs to set a target of 296 runs for victory.

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Michael Turner, Andrew Gale and Jason Gallian gave Walden a watchful, if not unspectacular, start, getting the score to 78-3 in the 28th over.

The match-saving partnership came from Russell and Matt Gouldstone. They put 84 runs on the board for the fourth wicket while using up nearly 20 overs and the best part of an hour.

Russell went first for a team-leading 74 and Matt Gouldstone followed as the sixth wicket to fall after Tom Picton-Turberville came and went for one.

Barrs smacked an unbeaten 34 from 43 balls to see Walden over the finishing line and earn a draw that earlier in the day had looked very unlikely.

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