Graham Gooch is surprise visitor to Suffolk school

BOYS at Orwell Park School in Nacton, just outside Ipswich, had a surprise visitor ahead of their first match of the season.

As the 1st and 2nd XI cricket teams prepared for their matches against Culford thanks to some miracle working from groundsman Kelvin Gunnell, who should drop in but ex-England and Essex captain Graham Gooch!

A friend of some of the parents and captain of the 1992 Essex County Championship winning-team which included the school’s headmaster Adrian Brown, Gooch spent an hour in the nets watching the school’s teams warm up.

He then gave the opening batsmen a special talk before signing autographs on cricketing items such as bats, gloves and helmets for almost the entire school.

When one of the masters apologised for the long lines Gooch, who is now England batting coach, cracked: “I would be more worried if nobody asked for it!”

He was given a tour of the school by his old playing partner, before watching the match against Culford.

Brown said of his former team mate: “While the parents remember him from his playing days, the pupils know him as Alastair Cook’s batting coach.

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“He told the boys that they should practise as though they are playing in a match, and that hard work brings success, which was very much his own ethos.

“He stayed until the end of the match against Culford and proved to be a very popular visitor.”