Tonge in the groove for Ely

A REMARKABLY gritty performance from Matthew Tonge ensured the City of Ely squeezed to victory in a tight encounter with Cottenham on Saturday.

With Ely’s innings threatening to crumble around him, Tonge’s grim determination kept him at the crease for more than 20 overs as he slowly accrued the 43 runs that would ultimately prove crucial to their six-run win.

The victory, a much needed tonic after last week’s loss at Longstanton, moved them back up into Senior League Division 2 mid-table.

After losing the toss, Ely were sent in to bat and the decision looked an inspired one with just a few balls gone as Andy Buck fell for a duck to a ball that plugged and skimmed under his bat before dislodging his bails.

A failure to cope with the surprise bounce in the pitch time and again caught the Ely batsmen cold and they were soon in considerable trouble at 47-5.

Cottenham hadn’t reckoned with the obstinacy of Tonge however, and his 43 made from 100 balls helped keep Ely away from a potentially heavy defeat.

A timely partnership between Tonge and Mick Tickner (19) later in the innings pushed Ely’s score towards the 100 mark before Vincett (14*) chipped in with a late flurry to move the score on to 127-9 at the close, Ely managing to use all of their allotted overs.

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Regular wickets were crucial in Ely’s bid for victory and Chris Reay (2-47) ensured their start was the ideal one as he removed Cottenham ace Chris Tuck in the first over.

Pace duo Ben Storey (3-21) and Nigel Hailstone (3-20) weighed in with some superb bowling to turn the screw on the floundering Cottenham, who quickly found themselves at 59-7.

A brisk 32 from Samir Khan threatened to spoil Ely’s party but his dismissal was the crucial late breakthrough the home side needed to wrap up the win, with Cottenham’s final wicket falling for 121, some seven runs short of victory.