AS THE final songs and fireworks at the closing ceremony of the Olympics marked the end to an iconic sporting moment, so the town marked the end to an iconic sporting man with a memorial service to Jack Downes last Wednesday.
Jack had been a member and vice president of Sudbury Cricket Club for 66 years, playing between 1946 and 1958. More recently he was known as the most entertaining of all our supporters, driving his wheelchair down to the ground, halting play as his parking bleepers blurted out while he tussled for position between two benches in front of the clubhouse before ordering a drink and then recanting tales and fables from the local sporting past.
Some people come and go and are seldom talked about later on. Jack was so full of fun and character that it would be impossible to forget him while his valued support will be remembered for quite some time to come.
Phil Halliday saluted Jack in the best way possible, leading the thirds to victory at Gestingthorpe to stay top, Paul Harris top scoring with 43no to set up an eight-wicket win.
The thirds need just six points from three games to ensure promotion and sit dead level with Kesgrave — what a finale to the season that should be.
On the pitch at Friars Street on Saturday the seconds romped to victory to also stay top, now 11 points clear with five games left.
This Saturday is a big one though. Long Melford, who sit third and just nine points from second place, will host the seconds for the toughest fixture of the season so far, and what a corker it should be.
Melford won at Friars Street earlier in the season in a last-over thriller — it should be just as close this time too.
The first team have had a tough few weeks, you may have noticed the results dipping slightly and after playing a resurgent Bury and a ferocious Michael Comber (Essex) for Clacton, at the weekend they had a 7.30am meet to go up to Norwich to play league leaders Vauxhall Mallards.
By noon they were 27-7. Thankfully, Ben Reece was showing the sort of form that his talent so often suggests, striking 51, while ever-reliable Welshman Johnny Gallagher stayed with him to get three figures posted.
Not enough as you can imagine, Northamptonshire young gun Matt Platter with 60no seeing the league leaders home.
Sunday saw a win and a loss. Cornard were the thorn in the Sunday seconds’ side, yet again dropping them to third in table while Adam Mansfield’s Sunday firsts kept pressure on league leaders Worlington with a 30-run win at third placed Woolpit.
So Norfolk’s top four batsmen come to Friars Street this week as Great Witchingham are the visitors and Darren Batch tries to get his men back on track while the seconds travel up the Stour to Melford for their top-of-the-table crunch match.
The Sunday seconds face Horringer at home in what could be a run-fest as the team bounce back from this week’s defeat.
Whoever said cricket is boring? It certainly won’t be this weekend.