Ely move clear of drop zone after Wilburton win

CITY of Ely struck a decisive blow in their battle to beat the drop this season as they edged to a nail-biting nine-run win over Wilburton.

Ely had won just three games out of 12 going into Saturday’s match, but produced one of their best batting performances of the season to edge a tense encounter against mid-table Wilburton.

The win keeps Ely once place above Littleport, who occupy the second of two relegation places, with a cushion of more than one avergae point going into the business end of the season.

An indifferent start from Ely’s top order quickly saw them reduced to 68-4 batting first, with openers Steven Bone and Michael Sellers managing only 21 between them as Wilburton turned the screw.

The innings turned on the arrival of Andrew Foster at the crease however, and the experienced middle-order batsmen smashed 68, including eight boundaries, to lift Ely out of the danger zone.

Richard Lee (16) and S Jackson (12) also pitched in to keep Ely’s total ticking over.

A helpful tally of 29 extras boosted Ely’s total to a respectable 165-7 at the close of the innings.

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Wilburton’s Lee Newton 3-38 and Ryan Newton 2-25 led the way with the ball, while Darren Bentick and Callum Steel came away with a wicket apiece.

A decent early partnership from Steel (17) and Lee Newton (16) ensured Wilburton settled quickly after Stuart Buller fell early and some good work from number six batsmen Bentick (36*) kept the visitors in the hunt as the match progressed.

Chris Holden (10) and Thomas Juden (13) battled hard lower down the order to keep the visitors in the match but, unfortunately for Wilburton, their tail end batsmen proved unable to withstand a late charge from Ely’s bowlers, who managed to take the last wicket with nine runs to spare.

Andrew Foster (4-42) starred for the home side while Nigel Hailstone (3-23) also came away with a notable haul. Simon Sellers (2-32) also played a key part late in the innings to remove a troublesome tail end.