A royal seal of approval

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A SPORTING institution has been given the royal seal of approval as it celebrates its 225th anniversary.

Sudbury Cricket Club has reached the amazing milestone in great shape, with the first team in the East Anglian Premier League, and secretary Will Shropshire felt compelled to share the good news.

“I decided to write a letter to the Queen, congratulating her on behalf of the club on her 60th year on the throne,” he said.

“I also told her about our 225th anniversary, which is happening in the same year.”

Mr Shropshire, who also writes a regular column for the Free Press, was pleased to receive a reply from Her Royal Highness’ senior correspondence officer.

“It said thanks for the letter and that the Queen was very interested to hear about our anniversary,” he said.

“She also noticed we have a cricket week coming up – whether that means she is planning on coming or not I don’t know.”

Sudbury’s cricket week, which is held every year, will feature a range of fixtures, including a number of familiar faces from the club’s past, alongside youth and women’s matches and the longest-standing fixture against the Gentlemen of Suffolk, who have been regular opponents for 120 years.

“We want to make this year’s event the biggest cricket week ever,” said Mr Shropshire. “We want 100 people in the tent every day for five days and to showcase the ground and club.”

Club historian Alan Cocksedge explained that the team started when cricket was in its infancy in 1787 and began playing on common land in Bulmer, before staging games on Sudbury meadows and behind The Angel pub in Friars Street, before settling at their current home in 1891.

The biggest names to turn out for the side in their 225 years have been legendary England batsman Ranjitsinhji, who played one match for Sudbury while he was at Cambridge University in 1890, and current Middlesex all-rounder Neil Dexter, who was Sudbury’s overseas player five years ago.

“We are as strong as we ever have been,” said Mr Cocksedge. “We are fielding three teams on a Saturday, two on Sundays, a ladies team and a wide variety of youth sides. We have never had so many players in the club’s history.”

Sudbury Cricket Club’s cricket week takes place at the ground in Quay Lane from July 23 to 27, with Sri Lankan player Hasantha Fernando’s benefit match on Sunday 28.

This year, proceeds will go towards a trust fund set up for the son of former Sudbury Rugby Club and Hadleigh Cricket Club player Josh Rix, who died in Australia in January, aged 23.