What was dominating the back page headlines during 2013?

AFC PRAISED: Colchester United boss Joe Dunne
AFC PRAISED: Colchester United boss Joe Dunne

A new manager and an influx of players at AFC Sudbury; a rugby team who could not kick an early winning habit and two schoolgirls at Newton Green who made history — RUSSELL CLAYDON looks back on an action-packed last six months of sports headlines in 2013.


n A second successive home defeat, to previously winless Woolpit, sets up a ‘make-or-break’ three weeks for Sudbury Cricket Club. Hadleigh’s excellent season continues as they rise to third in the Two Counties Championship Division One table, following promotion.

n AFC Sudbury’s Ryman League season opener was plunged into doubt as Thurrock appealed their relegation. Colchester United boss Joe Dunne says he would not hesitate to bring the U’s back to AFC after speaking in glowing terms of the facilities after their 5-0 pre-season victory. Meanwhile, Leon Antoine is released as David Batch trims his squad after bringing an influx of new players, including nine signings from his former club Wroxham.

n Halstead’s Chris Bastick was crowned Midweek MX Champion as his Halstead Motorcycle Club hosted a high-class conclusion to the season at Little Loveney Hall.

n Former Sudbury Rugby Club prop Bob Waller takes over from Mike Beckett as chairman at Sudbury Rugby Club.

Scott Mitchell

Scott Mitchell


n A £25,000 renovation project to rebuild Sudbury Amateur Boxing Club’s crumbling gym in Great Cornard, behind the King’s Head in Bures Road, is completed.

n AFC Sudbury won David Batch’s first competitive match 3-1 at relegated Thurrock. A busy start to the month had seen former Ipswich Town defender Scott Mitchell join on loan, bringing the number of new arrivals to 13, with 11 departures – before Jemel Fox returned later in the month. Batch plays down talk of a promotion push, saying ‘progress’ is the aim, after their 17th-place finish in 2012/13.

n Following a review, it was announced Ian Manby’s services had been dispensed with at AFC Sudbury and Dave Walton was named the new reserve team manager as they were accepted to play in the Thurlow Nunn League First Division, alongside Cornard United, Halstead Town and Long Melford.

n Sudbury Rowing Club hosted their 133rd regatta, the biggest they had run, and one of the most successful for home rowers, who picked up 13 wins from 16 entries.

n The Thurlow Nunn League season kicked off with wins for Hadleigh United (4-0 at home to Woodbridge Town), Halstead Town (3-1 at home to Dereham Town Reserves) but defeats for Cornard United (5-0 at home to March Town United), Long Melford (3-0 at home to Swaffham Town) and AFC Sudbury Reserves (3-1 at Team Bury).

n Edwardstone’s Fran Tew was England Under-21s’ youngster player at the ERGO Hockey Junior World Cup in Germany, as they only missed out on a medal after a 3-2 shootout defeat to India in the brozne medal match.

n Newton Green Golf Club enjoyed a stellar end to the season with one of the highlights being schoolgirls Alice Barlow and Ellie Aldous becoming the youngest ever winners of the Haskell Trophy, while their ladies’ section won three titles.


n Sudbury’s budding hockey players were put through their paces by Great Britain’s Olympic bronze medallist Laura Bartlett. Meanwhile, the club’s ladies’ first team won 7-0 at home to Haverhill to get their East Women’s League Division Two C campaign off to a flyer.

n Darren Batch announces he will be stepping down as captain of Sudbury Cricket Club for family reasons, but will play on, after the Talbots’ relegation from the East Anglian Premier League is confirmed.

n Sudbury Rugby Club’s London Three North East season gets off to a flying start as they beat Wymondham 34-12 at home, in a game which sees Alex Pears return from a near-career-ending injury.

n Sudbury Storms finished an impressive 13th out of 133 teams at the British Gas SwimBritain competition held at Blenheim Palace.

n Stoke-by-Nayland hosts the inaugural WPGA International Challenge with home wildcard Hannah Moul unable to have a fairytale run into the weekend, while a Hannah did win it – Hannah Ralph.


n Former Sudbury Ladies player Sasha Acheson made her debut for England Women’s rugby union team in their Autumn International Series.

n Ted Clarkson was given a lifetime achievement award by the England Cricket Board (ECB) to recognise his 40 years of dedication to Sudbury Cricket Club.

n AFC Sudbury’s FA Cup campaign ends at the third qualifying round stage at local rivals Needham Market in a game watched by a bumper crowd of more than 600 people amid a striker injury crisis.

nNewton Green Golf Club’s James Cooper, 13, won the club’s Junior Shield less than 12 weeks after undergoing open heart surgery.

n The row over the renegotiation of a lease culminates in Cornard United being locked out of Cornard Parish 
Council-owned Blackhouse Lane, with the council later agreeing to open the gates with a caretaker on matchdays.

n Mark Benterman believes his Halstead Town side’s 2-2 draw at league leaders Whitton United shows they can go the distance in the Thurlow Nunn First Division title race, while Hadleigh United end the month with a healthy lead at the top of the Premier.

n Ipswich Bicycle Club dominated Cycle Club Sudbury’s annual hill climb at Semer, taking the individual honour and team trophy.

n Despite winning their first six games, Sudbury RFC head coach Graham Richards says their goals will not be reset on winning the league title, with beating relegation still their main aim.

n AFC Sudbury’s top scorer, Jamie Forshaw (eight), is ruled out for 10 weeks with knee ligament damage with Ollie Hughes signing from Leiston.


n Polstead Heath’s bowling sensation Reece Topley flies out to Australia with the England’s Performance Plan development squad to gain experience by training with the senior team ahead of their Ashes tour.

nSudbury Hockey Club’s under-14 girls team returned from France as Euorpean tournament champions, following the EuroLuc Hockey Festival.

n Just days after he leaves jail having served time for a rape conviction, the Free Press breaks the news former Southend United striker Tesfaye Bramble has signed for Hadleigh United.


n After a 2-2 draw at home to Cheshunt, AFC Sudbury player-coach Michael Shinn says some fans need to gain some perspective amid growing criticism towards the players. David Batch signed 21 players since his summer arrival, with his side ending 2013 in 10th place.

n Sudbury Ladies Hockey Club’s first team finish 2013 second in East League Division 2C, with the men’s side fourth from bottom in Division 2N.

n Hadleigh’s Curtis Hammond is dreaming of clinching a place on the Professional Darts Corporation (PDC) tour after winning a place at qualifying school.

n Ten-man Hadleigh United book their place in the fourth round of the FA Vase with a deflected Michael Barwick strike at home to Welwyn Garden City.

n Sudbury Rugby Club end the year scoring 11 tries with a 65-15 win over Canvey Island to leave them in third.