Long Melford stand-in captain Jason Wade has suggested relegation could be a ‘good thing’ for the club.
The Meetingfield-based outfit have dropped down to Marshall Hatchick Two Counties Championship Division Three after finishing the 2016 season second-from-bottom in Division Two at the weekend.
But all-rounder Wade believes dropping down a division will allow the club to build a better team for the future.
“It’s been a long, hard and painful season for those that have stayed at the club,” Wade conceded.
“The club have lost nine first teamers and have struggled to stay in Division Two.
“It was not through the want of trying. We’ve given as much as we could.
“It’s disappointing to drop down, but relegation can be a good thing. We’ll find our level again and come back and have a good go next season.
“We’ve got some cracking facilities at the club and a good backbone. We need to find some more local talent, and a few more have come out of the woodwork saying they want to play next season.”
Melford went into their final game of the season on Saturday three points adrift of Lakenheath in 10th place.
As luck would have it Lakenheath were the visitors to Meetingfield, as both sides effectively went head-to-head in a shootout to avoid the drop.
Out of the two sides it was Melford who went into the crucial clash out-of-form, having failed to win in their previous 11 fixtures, while Lakenheath had won two of their last three completed games.
Melford openers Cameron Stace (six) and Steve Hale (14) both left with the score on 23, while Ben Barnbrook departed without scoring a run to leave the home side in trouble.
Bill Byford (21) and Wade (31) were the top scorers with the bat for Melford as their partnership took the score to 62-3, before the former was caught out.
Adrian Howlett (10) was the only other batsman to reach double figures before being caught to leave Melford on 85-5, with only 18 more runs being added to the score as the home side were bowled all out for 103.
In reply, Lakenheath rarely looked in danger as, aside from Wade (1-34) claiming the wicket of opener Frank Gammon (30), Dominic Palmer (28 not out) and Shane Leech (40 no) steered them to a comfortable nine wicket win.
n Elsewhere, Hadleigh will play in Division One next season after Coggeshall decided against appealing a 77 points deduction.
On Monday a statement on the league’s website read: ‘Coggeshall CC have decided against appealing the management sub-committee’s decision to deduct 77 points from their accrued total.
‘The effect sees them drop into 11th position in Division One, and, with it, relegation to Division Two for next season.’