It will be hard to better this season, says Woolpit’s Mike Jones

RECORD-BREAKING Woolpit skipper Mike Jones admits it will be hard to top this season, after leading his side to promotion to the Gibbs Denley East Anglian Premier League.

Jones, who took over as skipper from Craig Rutterford towards the end of the campaign, saw his side defeat Norwich by just five runs in Saturday’s thrilling play-off tie to clinch a place among East Anglia’s elite next season.

That came just a week after Woolpit lifted the Two Counties Division One title and the South African-born all-rounder broke the record for the highest number of runs scored in a Division One season.

Jones surpassed the record of 1,138 set by Clacton’s Alvin Greenidge in 1983 during his innings of 71 against Lakenheath on the final day of the season.

That innings saw him end with 1,171 runs at an average of 90.08. He also took 39 wickets at an average of 22.44.

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He said: “It was the year (1983) I was born, so it is easy for me to remember when the record was set.

“I don’t usually get nervous, but last week I was petrified going out to bat. It is a milestone which doesn’t come along very often.

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“I didn’t think the season could get any better, winning the Two Counties title, then the play-off and to break the Division One batting record, well it is going to be hard to top that next year!”

Jones said of Saturday’s match: “I thought 245 was a par score, but we had the runs on the board and the plan was to hopefully bowl well and put them under pressure.

“We had an okay start, but they then had a good partnership which we could not break. We missed a catch and a run out, but then Tom Whiteman got two wickets in one over which turned the game in our favour.

“Chris Sutton played a fantastic innings for them – he is almost as good at cricket as he was at football – and once we got him out we thought we were there or thereabouts, but it was really nerve-wracking.

“It was only my sixth game as captain, but I have loved it to bits. It has been a fantastic challenge, but I have had all the lads behind me which has made life easier for me.

“I don’t think anybody expected us to do this well, although we had high hopes for the season.”

Jones is already looking forward to leading Woolpit, who have enjoyed a meteoric rise since re-joining the Two Counties in 2008, in next season’s EAPL.

“I have already signed a contract to come back next year – this is a fantastic club which is on the up.

“I think the club is targeting two or three high quality players, and we will be pushing hard to strengthen the side.”

Jones is due to fly back to Australia today and play his first club match of the season for Bundy CC, who are situated an hour from Melbourne, on Saturday.

He added: “I will be back at the beginning of April for next season.”

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