Suffolk cricket's future still in doubt

MINOR Counties cricket continues to face an uncertain future.Toby Pound, secretary of Suffolk County Cricket Association, told the county's annual meeting that proposals put forward by Mike Gatting, the ECB managing director of cricket partnerships, had been rejected by the Minor Counties Cricket Association.

Nick Garnham

MINOR Counties cricket continues to face an uncertain future.

Toby Pound, secretary of Suffolk County Cricket Association, told the county's annual meeting that proposals put forward by Mike Gatting, the ECB managing director of cricket partnerships, had been rejected by the Minor Counties Cricket Association.

Pound, speaking at Monday's meeting at the Ramada Hotel in Bury St Edmunds, reported: “As we stand today, Mike Gatting has served notice of change, MCCA has rejected all his proposals and there is an uneasy truce while we wait further developments.”


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The proposals included the Minor Counties Championship being reorganised into three divisions comprising one division of seven counties to be known as the National League with two feeder leagues of seven counties each and sides selecting no fewer than eight players aged under 23.

Pound said that the county was facing change within the Suffolk Cricket Board, which will follow the example of the Essex County Cricket Board which has incorporated as a company limited by guarantee.

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This means that an EGM will be called, which is likely to take place in early April, when officers will be elected for a business that will shortly employ four members of staff in addition to Martin Taylor, the county's cricket development manager, with an annual turnover in excess of £150,000.

Bobby Flack, the Suffolk's director of youth cricket, expressed his thanks and paid tribute to Alan Scholey, who has stood down from his role of coaching youngsters in the county.

He said: “He has been a devoted servant to Suffolk Youth cricket for the last 16 years. In all that time he has watched and coached countless numbers of young players, and nothing has given him more pleasure than when they go on to play at Minor Counties level and beyond.”

Pound said that there was much to look forward to in 2009, not least an Ashes series, which would in normal circumstances generate much-needed revenue for the ECB.

However, he warned: “There must be some uncertainty as to whether all the Test match grounds will sell out and recent events in India, which have forced the abandonment of two one-day matches and could also see the loss of two Test matches, may significantly affect the funds made available to county boards.”

Decisions on whether Phil Caley, who has been captain since 1994, will continue, whether Paul Jarvis will be re-engaged as coach and whether the county will employ a professional next season will not be discussed further until January.

Election of officers for 2009: President - GC Perkins; chairman - NP Atkins MBE; vice-chairman - C Watson; honorary secretary - TJ Pound; honorary treasurer - N Hammond.

Bury St Edmunds all-rounder Justin Bishop was voted Suffolk's player of the year for 2008 by his team-mates.

Suffolk's 2009 fixtures

Minor Counties Championship

Sunday, June 7 - Tuesday, June 9: v Bedfordshire, at Ransomes Sports Club, Ipswich.

Sunday, June 21 - Tuesday, June 23: v Hertfordshire, at Hertford.

Sunday, July 5 - Tuesday, July 7: v Norfolk, at Ipswich School.

Sunday, July 26 - Tuesday, July 28: v Staffordshire, at Knypersley.

Sunday, August 9 - Tuesday, August 11: v Cambridgeshire, at Wisbech.

Sunday, August 23 - Tuesday, August 25: v Lincolnshire, at Bury St Edmunds.

Sunday, September 6 - Wednesday, September 9: Championship final, Eastern Division winners at home.

Minor Counties Knock-out Trophy - Group 2

Sunday, April 26: v Staffordshire, at Audley.

Sunday, May 10: v Hertfordshire, at Woodbridge School.

Sunday, May 17: v Norfolk, at Manor Park, Norwich.

Sunday, May 31: v Northumberland, at Mildenhall.

Sunday, June 14: Quarter-finals.

Sunday, July 19: Semi-finals.

August: Final, at Lord's, tbc.

Friendly

Sunday, April 19: v Essex II, venue tbc.

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