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Bill Byford passes 25,000 career runs for Long Melford Cricket Club just months after taking his 750th wicket

Long Melford Cricket Club’s Bill Byford has celebrated scoring 25,000 career runs, just months after taking his 750th wicket for his local side in his 31st season, writes Oscar Johnson.

The 53-year-old reached the club-record batting milestone last weekend during the first team’s defeat against Copdock & Old Ipswichian II, and spoke afterwards of his delight at the achievement.

“I’m very pleased with that total, it has taken me all this time to do it but I’m so pleased,” he said.

Bill Byford of Long Melford CC pictured receiving a guard of honour after passing 25,000 club runs and 750 wickets
Bill Byford of Long Melford CC pictured receiving a guard of honour after passing 25,000 club runs and 750 wickets

Byford became the club’s record run-scorer in the same season as he took his 750th career wicket, the third highest of any player in the club’s history.

Despite now playing for more than 30 seasons having joined the club in 1989, he is not looking to stop any time soon.

“I had no intentions of playing until this age, but now that I have I will carry on for as long as I can.

“As long as I can keep contributing to my team, then I will keep playing,” he said.

Melford finished fifth in Marshall Hatchick Two Counties Championship Division Three this season, but Byford remembers playing in several different divisions.

“I remember being in many different leagues over the years, and going to play against lots of different teams,” he said.

His time at Meeting Field has not been limited to on the pitch, as he has also fulfilled several other roles in recent years.

“I was the club’s groundsman for around five years, and now I am the vice chairman,” he said. “The club has always been a huge part of my life, it’s like a family.

“ My wife Shelly has always been involved, whether its cooking for 50 people on president’s day or in an administrative role.

“Both my daughters are also involved. Natasha is the manager of the Sunday first XI and Danielle is social media and website administrator too.

“There is a real family feel here and the club is heading in the right direction.”

Now on 760 wickets, Byford has managed 22 centuries during his time at the club.

Since reaching the age of 50, he also now enjoys being able to represent Suffolk in the county’s over-50s team, which plays mid-week matches.

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