Will Shropshire predicts a successful season for Sudbury CC in his latest column

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SATURDAY saw the start of the league season in what is our 225th year.

There are only five to 10 teams still in existence which can boast a greater age than us, including our far more famous brother the MCC (also formed 1787 – when leg before wicket (LBW) could only be given out if the batsman had deliberately stopped the ball hitting his stumps with his legs; if he had intended to hit the ball with his bat first he was not out).

So what better way to celebrate the milestone than with the first team in the highest form of club cricket possible.

Last year we finished seventh place, which was a great success, and no doubt this year we will be looking to go one better.

As a special 225th anniversary treat, first team scorer John Mallett is producing matchday programmes on sale around the ground for East Anglian Premier League (EAPL) games with up-to-date facts and figures for each week.

The winter was unusually quiet, there was one engagement and a birth or two bringing some very junior members of the club into the world and while the sun shone in February and March we netted indoors.

Then came the major issue of hosepipes, as cricket squares have to have water or they can become lethal highways.

Cricket organisations fought hard for leniency, even if unlimited use was out of the question, and thankfully the water companies, at the last minute, agreed that water could be applied to cricket pitches for the health and safety of participants.

The water problem at the minute is one of too much not too little and while we managed to get some friendlies in last weekend, this week was pretty much washed out – only Alan Macdiarmid’s Sunday seconds managed to finish, beating Bury at home, Daddy Dave Shropshire making 51 and Simon Ruffle 79.

Of the play that was abandoned, Adam Mansfield, in his new role as captain, scored his second century in successive Sundays before the rain prevented a good finish while Matt Pears top scored with a fine 49 in a low scoring encounter with Saffron Walden in Saturday’s first EAPL game. Johnny Gallagher took three early wickets in reply but the seconds and thirds never even bowled a ball.

I can’t really finish this week without mentioning three people. Ross Wallace, our former treasurer, and Jack Downs, a VP, former player and most entertaining of all supporters, are both struggling with health at the moment and we wish them well.

However, the winter for me and many members of the club was dominated by the sad loss of Sudbury rugby player and Hadleigh cricketer Josh Rix.

His talent, and more importantly his personality, is a great loss to both Hadleigh Cricket Club and Sudbury Rugby Club.

For this reason, as a club we have therefore chosen to support the ‘Rix Collection Trust’ as this year’s charity for cricket week in July and it is well worth supporting if you can.

So here we go again, off to a damp start but everyone is still keen nonetheless.

Our 225th could be our most successful year yet with added bonuses of the Cockspur Cup, Piri Piri Cup and Suffolk Cup all to play for I am predicting more than one piece of silverware this year.