HARRY Wright has led his third XI to promotion. Another 20-point victory on Saturday secured it and now all that is needed to seal the league title is six points at Halstead this week.
The team was the brainchild of Andy Holness about eight years ago. The idea was to help bring youngsters into adult cricket at a reasonable level in which they could be expected to perform, overriding the previously huge jump to second XI cricket, which any youngster coming out of junior cricket normally had to make.
It has paid dividends over the years and first teamers such as Ben Hyett, Adam Mansfield, James Poulson, Nathan Poole and Kenny Moulton-Day have all come through the ranks, progressing from thirds to seconds to firsts.
The core component of the team is that there are at least four or five juniors playing each week alongside adults and ensures that the youngsters get a fair crack.
This season Charlie Holt and James O’Brien have progressed from the thirds to the seconds while Adam Clark’s bowling performances have been outstanding and a major contributor to the promotion campaign.
So well done to Harry, Phil Halliday and Dave Shropshire for their stints as stand-in skippers, and everyone that played.
The team will now play cricket in Division Six next year, which will provide not just a greater challenge but a platform for juniors to excel at and ease into the seconds.
The other teams chasing promotion this year didn’t fare so well at the weekend. Ali Younger’s seconds lost after scoring 230 at home, Younger and Matt Pears the main contributors.
However, three missed chances allowed Yoxford’s star player Damian Ciallani to slice a quick century and do enough to let the other Yoxford players scramble home.
The second team now sit third, five points behind Melford who are second and 14 behind Copford who are top and visit Friars Street on September 8.
Alan Macdiarmid’s Sunday seconds also lost ground in their promotion chase, losing by 10 wickets after posting a reasonable 160.
Tendring Park’s openers showed how crucial valuing your wicket is as they stuck at the crease, albeit at a slow rate, until they had found the pace of the pitch and then unleashed boundary after boundary to see them home.
The firsts were abandoned yet again after bowling and fielding well for 50 overs to reduce Burwell to 208, but as is the norm this year, the rain interrupted.
However, some of the players had managed to have a bat for the Suffolk development squad; Ben Reece and Nathan Poole both scoring half-centuries for the county second XI, and well done to James Poulson, who took two wickets for the full Suffolk side in their minor counties match versus Lincolnshire.
James opened the bowling alongside Justin Bishop and his wibbly wobblers caused untold problems to the Lincolnshire top order.
Andy Holness’s vision all those years ago isn’t just producing good cricketers for Sudbury, it is producing good cricketers for Suffolk and that shows the wider importance of the third XI.