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Friars Street set to host Witham this weekend as cricket returns to Sudbury CC after 300 day absence




It started with their bar opening at the weekend but the feelgood factor will properly flow back in at Sudbury Cricket Club on Saturday as Witham get set to visit for the first game of 2020 (11am).

Before the Covid-19 outbreak the north Essex side were meant to take part in the curtain-raising friendly to the new season at Friars Street three months previously, on April 11.

And following the announcement from Prime Minister Boris Johnson last week on club cricket being able to return from Saturday, Talbots officials swung into action to ensure they didn’t miss an opportunity to play.

Friars Street is ready to stage cricket once again after a long hiatus due to the coronavirus pandemicPicture: MARK BULLIMORE
Friars Street is ready to stage cricket once again after a long hiatus due to the coronavirus pandemicPicture: MARK BULLIMORE

Despite the tricky situation of the club having been on tenterhooks waiting for the England & Wales Cricket Board (ECB) to release details with regards to the format of matches, club captain Darren Batch said yesterday: “We have got a friendly lined up this Saturday against Witham at home so that is good and cricket will be back at Friars Street this weekend.

“The pitch is on its way to being ready and Adam (Mansfield, first-team captain) has picked his team.”

It comes as the first team’s East Anglian Premier League has presented three scenarios to sides to salvage the 2020 season.

Sudbury, Suffolk. Sudbury Cricket Club ground. ..Picture: MARK BULLIMORE. (38070520)
Sudbury, Suffolk. Sudbury Cricket Club ground. ..Picture: MARK BULLIMORE. (38070520)

One was to play half the games by extending the season by a couple of weeks, starting on July 25.

Playing matches within two regional hubs – which would mean less fixtures – and a Twenty20 competition were the other two options, with the result of the vote expected to be known this evening.

“Our preferred option is a north and south split,” said Batch.

“We do not know what the ECB are going to say about indoor provision and we do not want to be travelling up to Norfolk without that and having to sit in our cars.

Sudbury's home game with Mildenhall on September 14 was the last game to be staged at Friars StreetPicture: Phil Morley
Sudbury's home game with Mildenhall on September 14 was the last game to be staged at Friars StreetPicture: Phil Morley

“Transport is the other consideration for us and if we are looking to get up to north Norfolk for 9.30am we are probably relying on parents to take people up and that could prove to be a barrier.”

There had been some suggestions matches may be reduced to either six-or-eight-a-side by the ECB, but a preview to the announcement yesterday afternoon confirmed the sport will be able to return in the 11-a-side format.

With the guidance coming late in the week, both Hadleigh and Halstead – whose Two Counties Championship league had already abandoned competitive play – decided not to put any games in place for this weekend.

Sudbury captain and coach Tom Huggins with chairman Louis BrooksPicture by Mark Westley (4187761)
Sudbury captain and coach Tom Huggins with chairman Louis BrooksPicture by Mark Westley (4187761)

Sudbury chairman Louis Brooks said: “I am just pleased the Premier League are doing something. I do not mind which format they go for as it will just be good to have some cricket to play. With other leagues not playing it might generate some good interest and get people coming along to watch. There is still a good amount of time to go as we can play through to mid-September.”

He was happy to encourage people to come along and watch socially-distanced and make use of the bar being open again on Saturday.

Sudbury’s seconds will go to Witham and Acton are set to visit for a Sunday match (both 1pm).


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