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Anti-climax end game still sees Luke score top runs

BEST BATSMAN: Luke Youngs topped the leader board (Picture: Richard Marsham)
BEST BATSMAN: Luke Youngs topped the leader board (Picture: Richard Marsham)

Haverhill batsman Luke Youngs has scored the most runs in this season’s Marshall Hatchick Two Counties Championship – one of only two players in all divisions to score more than one thousand runs.

The player, who is also the club’s top wicketkeeper, scored 1,041 runs across all 22 of the Division Two side’s fixtures, helping them to a promotion-winning second spot.

His impressive strike rate of 92.22 – with an average score of 61.24 – saw him record five not outs, including his all-time high score of 176.

The club’s vice chairman Greg Street was full of praise, despite the side falling to a four-wicket final game loss at home to Sudbury II on Saturday.

“It was a bit of a dead rubber match,” he said.

“We knew fairly early on that Lakenheath had won the division so it was a bit of an anti-climax in the end.

“But Luke was again excellent – he has been very consistent and has been very important to our season, brilliant in fact.

“He, along with Mark Barrell and Adam Dellar, have committed to next season too, and we are delighted they will stay.

“We are keen to be competitive in Division One and we will need the top scorers to do that.

“Obviously we have a lot to discuss about the team for next season, and we will look at bringing some more players in as well as the overseas player thing – it will depend on cost and squad strength.

“But we’ve already been approached by a few players about joining so things are looking good.

“The manner in which we lost against Sudbury II was a bit of a reminder though, of what can happen at the top level if you don’t close a game down when you have the chance.”

Haverhill (247-6) felt they had posted a competitive total in their 45 allotted overs at Manor Road – helped by a top knock of 91 runs by Youngs and 70 from captain Anthony Phillips.

But Sudbury II (250-6), perhaps buoyed by the first team securing back-to-back East Anglian Premier League titles, managed to catch the total in the final over.

Will Bailey took a four-wicket haul, helped by two wickets from Ben Wilkins, but could not stop the runs piling up against them.

Street said the result was, in part, the ‘incredible’ run rate of their number eight Steve Martin, who hit 62 off just 31 balls – and remained unbeaten.

“But we didn’t kill them off when we had the opportunity,” he said. “And it ended up costing us the match.”

He said the club were more than ‘just the first team’ and felt this had come across strongly during the season, with a number of players moving between the squads as required.

But defeat was the order of the day, as Woolpit II (169-4) also inflicted a final game loss on Haverhill II (167) in Division Three.

Haverhill III face Stowmarket II in the final fixture of Division Nine West this Saturday (12.30pm).

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