Small ground will not prevent promotion

FIRST-CLASS DEBUT: Sudbury's James Poulson
FIRST-CLASS DEBUT: Sudbury's James Poulson

Rumours Sudbury Cricket Club’s ground size would 
prevent them regaining their 
East Anglian Premier League status have been quashed.

On the eve of the Talbots’ season getting under way at Witham on Saturday (1pm), the Free Press has been told minimum boundary lengths would not stop Sudbury bouncing back to the region’s top tier.

The news will come as a big relief to new Sudbury captain Jonathan Phillips, who has outlined his intentions to lead them back to the EAPL by winning the Marshall Hatchick Two Counties Championship and a promotion play-off.

There had been fears circulating that the nature of Sudbury’s hemmed-in ground at Friars Street — bordered by two roads, a line of cottages and a protected woodland nature reserve — would act as a barrier to promotion.

But Andy Abbott, honorary secretary of the EAPL, said: “There is currently no regulation in place regarding size of grounds.

“It was discussed at ECB level two years ago, but if it does come in we would give clubs at least 12 months notice, so it would not affect next season (2015).”

Opening batsman Phillips, 37, has stepped up to the captain’s role for the first time since joining the club in 1997, after Darren Batch’s personal circumstances meant he could not fully commit to it.

But while he is confident they will be able to mount a title challenge, he will not be underestimating the league.

“It is a new challenge now,” he said. “There are clubs we have not played before or for some time.

“It is still a very strong league and not far below the standard we faced in the Premier League with some strong teams, but I am confident.

“We have kept a lot of players, with the exception of Adam Mansfield (Bury St Edmunds), and if all the guys perform to the level they are capable of, we will be there or thereabouts.”

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