'Vintage year for Suffolk cricket'

“A VINTAGE year for Suffolk cricket” was how secretary Toby Pound described 2007 at the county's annual meeting.“A first ever KO Trophy in the county's first appearance in a Lord's final, a win in the Development XI competition and a Suffolk player selected to play for England in the Twenty20 World Cup.

“A VINTAGE year for Suffolk cricket” was how secretary Toby Pound described 2007 at the county's annual meeting.

“A first ever KO Trophy in the county's first appearance in a Lord's final, a win in the Development XI competition and a Suffolk player selected to play for England in the Twenty20 World Cup. It doesn't get much better than that,” Pound told the meeting at the Ramada Hotel in Bury St Edmunds.

“The sight of Phil Caley lifting the trophy on the pavilion steps was certainly the highlight of the year,” said Pound, referring to the victory over Cheshire.

He reminded those present that in the group stages Suffolk were indebted to two match-winning innings by Chris Schofield, against Staffordshire and Lincolnshire.


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Schofield, given a second chance in the first-class arena with Surrey after his excellent season with Suffolk in 2006, made his mark with his new county and finished as the leading wicket-taker in the domestic Twenty20 competition.

“Selection for the England World Cup Twenty20 squad was a wonderful achievement for someone who had been discarded from the professional game at such an early stage in his career. And seeing Chris line up for England against the best players in the world was quite a thrill.”

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The Minor Counties Championship again eluded the county's grasp after a nail-biting climax to the season at Grantham.

Pound said that the weather had again intervened to frustrate Suffolk's chances, and while congratulating Northumberland on their success, he said whether the champion county is actually the strongest is open to question.

Suffolk's proposal to restructure the championship to create a premier division and two regional divisions again fell on deaf ears with only a minority of counties in support, and it is unlikely this will change in the short term.

Pound reported that one important change for next season sees a quarter-final round introduced in the KO Trophy, which means that two counties, rather than just one, will qualify from each group. This will make qualifying from a group containing Hertfordshire, Norfolk, Northumberland and Staffordshire slightly easier.

Next season will see Suffolk play two of their three home championship matches in Ipswich and one at Bury St Edmunds - with Mildenhall only being used for a one-day game.

Pound paid tribute to the Suffolk team, managed by Gary Kirk and coached by Andy Brown, for winning the East of England Development competition, after winning all three of their completed matches.

He also said that Brown, who has been reappointed to the coaching staff at Derbyshire, will be a big loss to Suffolk after playing a key part in the county's success over the past seven years.

The county's income and expenditure account showed an increase of more than £20,000 for the year ending September 30, 2007 due to late payments of 2006 ECB grant money.

Match expenses for players and officials and ground expenses and catering rose from a total of £38,891.92 in 2006 to £42,679.79 in 2007 due to a combination of two extra cup matches and increased running expenses.

A minute's silence was held at the start of the meeting to remember former Suffolk captains Brian Belle and Ian Prior.

Fixtures for 2008

Friendly

Sun, April 20 v Essex 2nd XI at Ipswich School

Minor Counties Championship

Sun, May 25 - Tues, May 27 v Bedfordshire at Dunstable

Sun, June 22 - Tues, June 24 v Cumberland at Ransomes Sports Club, Ipswich

Sun, July 6 - Tues, July 8 v Buckinghamshire at Ipswich School

Sun, July 20 - Tues, July 22 v Northumberland, away - venue TBC

Sun, Aug 3 - Tues, Aug 5 v Norfolk at Manor Park, Norwich

Sun, Aug 17 - Tues, Aug 19 v Hertfordshire at Bury St Edmunds CC

Sun, Sept 7- Wed, Sept 10 - Championship Final. Western Division winners at home

Minor Counties KO Trophy - Group 2

Sun, April 27 v Northumberland at South Northumberland CC, Gosforth

Sun, May 4 v Norfolk at Woodbridge School

Sun, May 11 v Hertfordshire at Welwyn Garden City

Sun, June 1 v Staffordshire at Mildenhall CC

Wed, June 18 - Quarter-finals (ties can be played on Sunday 15th if both sides agree)

Sun, July 13 - Semi-finals

Wed, Aug 6 - Final at Lord's

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