Wills World Sudbury CC column: party time after 13-year wait

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IN 1998, France beat Brazil 3-0 in the World Cup final, Pol Pot and Frank Sinatra died and Bill Clinton definitely did not do anything with Miss Lewinsky.

All right maybe he did, but the significance of this year is that it was the last time a Sudbury first team beat Bury firsts in a league game.

In that same year the Euro was created, a younger Pete Siegert was just in the middle of his first spell of captaincy at the club and on the field in the fourth test at Nottingham a certain Michael Atherton didn’t walk after gloving Allan Donald to Boucher; and so began 60 minutes of what can only be described as one of the greatest individual cricket contests in modern history as Atherton weathered a barrage of hostility, almost physical abuse in the shape of short bowling from one of the games great quick bowlers.

So as you can see it was a while ago, so it is easy to understand why it was met with great satisfaction at the club on Saturday, more so the manner in which we won with Bury needing just 70 to win and 10 wickets left, chasing just 121.

Hasantha Fernando arrived back from Sri Lanka this week and put in a match-winning performance of 49 and five wickets and it leaves us 74 points clear of Norwich at the bottom and only eight from our rivals up the A134, bang in middle of the table. Absolutely Magic and a happy birthday present for the captain.

Elsewhere the second team were back to their self-destructive best, failing to capitalise on a good start to leave them fifth bottom but by no means safe. Mathew Wooderson’s four wicket haul the only plus point.

Matt Griffith stepped up a level this week as he also took four wickets for the Saturday thirds in their defeat to Long Melford.

Adam Mansfield continued his good form with 79 on Sunday as the firsts dented Mildenhall’s Sunday title chase in a 100-run victory.

So after a flamboyantly high-scoring cricket week it seems it was repay time for bowlers this week. At home, the heavy rain has meant the outfield is unusually lush for this time of year, allowing some hold on the ball and rightfully so as the square continues to play well for the batters.

After 10 days of continuous cricket, Dave Oakes and Andy Dodds have kept the place in tip-top order which is no easy feat in the middle of summer and one that hopefully won’t go unnoticed by the members. Let’s hope the next six weeks go slowly because that is all that is left of the 2011 season – make the most of it while you can.