Loss of sponsor hits Suffolk

SUFFOLK'S chances of remaining in the forefront of Minor Counties cricket hangs in the balance.Unless a major sponsor can be found, there is no chance of engaging a professional of the calibre of Chris Schofield and Devon Malcolm in 2007.

By Elvin King

SUFFOLK'S chances of remaining in the forefront of Minor Counties cricket hangs in the balance.

Unless a major sponsor can be found, there is no chance of engaging a professional of the calibre of Chris Schofield and Devon Malcolm in 2007.

Schofield, who has a contract with Surrey next year, helped Phil Caley's Suffolk remain unbeaten this year while another former England Test player, Malcolm, was in the side that won the Eastern Division title in 2005.


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Suffolk have hit the financial buffers following the loss of sponsors the Braceforce Group, after the property company injected around £20,000 into Suffolk cricket over the last three years.

And when added to the revenue loss following the decision to omit Minor Counties clubs from the Cheltenham and Gloucester Trophy, Suffolk are significantly poorer going into the 2007 season. Suffolk played first class county Glamorgan at Bury St Edmunds in May 2005 and, thanks to the hard work of director of cricket Kevin Brooks and others, they raised £6,000 from their final game in this competition.

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“Unless we find a replacement for sponsor Quinton Hembry and his Braceforce Group we will struggle to continue in the way we have,” said Brooks.

“We will be unable to field players of the quality of Chris and Devon, while we also had pace bowler Trevor Smith as a professional up to this year.

“If we do not identify a main sponsor by January 1, then our financial situation will be stretched.”

Last season's side, when Suffolk were denied any silverware because of rain and not meeting Eastern Division winners Buckinghamshire because of the rota system, was generally recognised as the best balanced team the county has ever fielded.

They have a nucleus of talented players who will continue to fill the majority of the team, but without a Schofield or Malcolm their chances of making a big impact for the third year running will be greatly reduced.

Lake Bushells teamed up with Braceforce to help fund Suffolk, while Brooks and Wood and Biffa Waste are other valued sponsors.

THE annual general meeting of the Suffolk County Cricket Association will be held at the Ramada Hotel (formerly Butterfly), Bury St Edmunds on Monday, December 4 at 7.30pm.

All members, club and league representatives are invited to attend.

SUFFOLK have announced their fixtures for next season with Ipswich School making their Ivry Street ground available for two one-day matches.

In the Championship, Suffolk travel to Sedbergh School and Burnham for the first time to play Cumberland and then current Eastern Division champions Buckinghamshire.

Minor Counties Championship Eastern Division

June 10-12 v Cumberland at Sedbergh School.

June 24-26 v Staffordshire at Ransomes, Ipswich.

July 8-10 v Northumberland at Bury St Edmunds.

July 22-24 v Cambridgeshire at Mildenhall.

August 5-7 v Buckinghamshire at Burnham.

August 19-21 v Lincolnshire at Grantham.

September 9-12 play-off final - Eastern Division winners at home.

Minor Counties Knock-Out Trophy

May 6 v Staffordshire at Ipswich School.

May 13 v Norfolk at Manor Park, Norwich.

May 20 v Lincolnshire at Woodbridge School.

June 3 v Bedfordshire at Flitwick.

July 1 semi-finals

August 27 final at Lord's.

Friendly

April 29 v Essex II at Ipswich School.

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