Billy given contract at Lord's

A SUFFOLK youngster who has already bowled England captain Michael Vaughan this season is taking the first steps towards a career as a professional cricketer.

A SUFFOLK youngster who has already bowled England captain Michael Vaughan this season is taking the first steps towards a career as a professional cricketer.

Sudbury's Billy Moulton-Day so impressed coaches at Lord's during a two-day coaching session that he has been signed up on an MCC Young Cricketers' contract for the rest of the season.

The 17-year-old fast bowler will be hoping to follow in the footsteps of stars such as England's Ian Botham and Phil Tufnell, Australia's Mark Waugh and Hamish Marshall and Ross Taylor who are in the current New Zealand Test team.

They all started their careers on the Lord's groundstaff, where youngsters benefit from expert coaching, intensive playing programmes and top-class facilities.

The MCC Young Cricketers mainly play fixtures against county 2nd XI sides and the programme also helps them to develop their non-sporting skills to ensure they have a number of non-cricketing career options.

Moulton-Day was invited to Lord's as part of his prize for winning the Cliff Piper Memorial Award, set up 10 years ago in memory of the former Suffolk cricketer and administrator.

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Born in Bury St Edmunds, Moulton-Day joined Sudbury Cricket Club four years ago and played regularly for the first team in Division One of the Marshall Hatchick Two Counties Championship last season after making his debut the year before.

Moulton-Day, who lives in Gestingthorpe and has just left Hedingham School, was selected for Suffolk at both Under-16 and Under-17 level last season.

He said: “I didn't really know what the award was when I was told I had won it, but then when I realised I was excited about going to Lord's as it was the first time I have been to London.

“I spent two days at Lord's and Clive Radley (the MCC head coach) was in charge of the course. I have been offered a contract until the end of September and I am really looking forward to it.”

Moulton-Day was invited to Lord's last week to bowl in the nets at the England and New Zealand teams ahead of the first npower Test match.

“I got Michael Vaughan out first ball and also bowled Ryan Sidebottom. I was a bit shocked when I got Vaughan out,” he admitted.

Bobby Flack, Suffolk's director of youth coaching, said that Moulton-Day had impressed when he played for Suffolk Under-17s last season.

He said: “Clearly he was quicker than many of his contemporaries. He has a slingy action similar to Lasith Malinga, the Sri Lankan fast bowler, and he swings the ball. He has a good attitude, tries very hard and is a good team player.”

Norman Atkins, chairman of Suffolk Country Cricket Association, said: “I think Cliff would be absolutely delighted that the award in his memory has enabled Billy to progress in the way he has as he was always keen to see young cricketers develop.”

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