Village toasts Ashes success of its famous son

THERE were some bleary eyes in Wickham Bishops yesterday morning after many cricket fans stayed up into the small hours to watch a local boy help England’s cricket team to retain the Ashes.

The rural Essex village, on the outskirts of Witham, has toasted the success of opening batsman Alastair Cook after England’s comprehensive victory in the fourth Test in Melbourne.

The 26-year-old left hander, who grew up in the village and plays county cricket for Essex, has had a key role in England’s success including a huge score of 235 not out in the first Test of the series.

Parish councillor Barry Sayers said: “Everyone on the council is extremely pleased with Alastair’s efforts in Australia and we send him our congratulations. He’s a real credit to the village and a great role model to the youngsters here who are getting into sport.

“We’ve always had a lot of sport being played in the village and membership of the football and tennis clubs are very high.

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“I think more young people in the village have become interested in cricket and are watching the Ashes because of Alastair’s involvement and I’m sure this will be a boost for the local cricket club.”

Revd Stuart Batten, the Priest in Charge of St Bartholomew’s in Wickham Bishops, said: “Everyone at the church sends their warmest congratulations to Alastair Cook and the whole England team for their success.

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“I enjoy following the cricket and have had a few late nights staying up to watch it, but it’s certainly been worth it.

“The village has always had a good provision of sports clubs and that is down to the great job done by the volunteers who run them. There are long-established football and tennis clubs here and I’m sure they’ve all wanted him to do well; he sets an excellent example as a professional sportsman.

“I hope England can wrap the series up with another win.”

Manager of The Chequers pub in The Street, Paula Walsh, said: “I don’t usually follow the cricket, but lot of people in the pub have been talking about it so I know we’ve been doing well.

“At The Chequers we’re proud to celebrate the success of a local boy – it’s well known that Alastair Cook grew up here. There’s definitely been of added excitement here because of the cricket.”

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