Former England bowler Dean Headley is a big hit at Hadleigh

FORMER England bowler Dean Headley proved a big hit when he opened the new artificial wicket at Hadleigh Cricket Club.

Headley, who played for both Kent and Middlesex during his first-class career, visited the Friars Road club on Tuesday to officially open the new facility, which cost a total of �8,900.

Half of the cost was funded by the Cricket Foundation through the Chance to Shine project and the other half was raised by the club.

The artificial wicket replaces the previous one which was more than 20 years old.

A large crowd gathered to watch Headley, who was guest of honour in his role as a Chance to Shine representative, cut the tape to declare the wicket open.

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The 42-year-old, who played 15 Tests and 13 one-day internationals for England between 1996 and 1999, then played for a BBC Radio Suffolk XI against a Hadleigh CC Select XI in a Twenty20 match to christen the wicket.

Woolpit’s Mike Jones scored a half century for the BBC Radio Suffolk XI and Headley just missed out on a fifty of his own as they totalled 144 for seven in their 20 overs. The Hadleigh CC XI replied with 133 for six, thus going down by 11 runs.

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David Mann, who is vice-chairman of Hadleigh and also BBC Radio Suffolk’s cricket correspondent, said: “It was a very enjoyable evening and everyone brought into it. Dean Headley was great value in his role as the Chance to Shine ambassador for the day.

“Before the opening and Twenty20 game there was a junior competition within our own junior section involving 30 youngsters and culminating in a final.

“The artificial wicket will be invaluable to us as a club as we have 100 children in our junior section, so it will help us on practice nights and also staging junior games.”

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