Historic day for Woolpit cricket as they win promotion to East Anglian Premier League

CLOSE CENTURY: Dudley Spiers top scored 97 from just 108 balls as Woolpit recovered from the loss of three early wickets
CLOSE CENTURY: Dudley Spiers top scored 97 from just 108 balls as Woolpit recovered from the loss of three early wickets
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Woolpit are celebrating their promotion to the East Anglian Premier League after an enthralling, last-gasp play-off triumph against Norwich on Saturday.

The hosts opted to bat and suffered an indifferent start when they lost Will Parker, Craig Rutterford and the prolific Michael Jones with just 47 scored.

However, the home side recovered well, with Dudley Spiers making 97 off just 108 balls and Andy Northcote 66, to set Norwich a target of 245 – the highest score the visitor’s bowling attack had conceded all season.

The final was not decided until the very final over of a tense affair, with Norwich needing six runs from the final five balls to clinch the win.

Parker sealed Woolpit’s victory and promotion by five runs with a devastating delivery to break Norwich hearts, meaning they will join the East Anglian Premier League for the first time in their history.

And Northcote, who played a pivotal roll in the Woolpit victory, believes the hard work starts now as they look towards next year’s Premier League campaign.

“The whole game was extremely nerve wracking,” he said. “The previous ball went for four and I literally wasn’t thinking anything apart from what is Will (Parker) going to do with the last ball.

“We obviously can’t wait for next season. It is going to be an extremely testing, long winter and a lot of preparation, but it is going to be a great opportunity.”

He added: “It has been a massive achievement. We will make sure we are fully prepared and are ready for the challenge.

“If we can pick up five or six wins and stay in the league, that will be sensational.

“The club has moved through so many leagues so quickly, it has been an amazing journey.”

The chance to meet four other Suffolk sides — Sudbury, Saffron Waldon, Bury St Edmunds and Copdock and Old Ipswichian — in next year’s competition is another bonus for Woolpit’s South African-born Italian international.

“There are four Suffolk sides with good grounds and not so much travelling to do.

“Four derbies, eight big games home and away, so it will make the season very enjoyable.

Northcote, was also quick to highlight three key performers who contributed to the success of the Rectory Lane outfit this season.

“Michael (Jones) has been scoring and has done really well with the ball, and there has been key moments this season when Will (Parker) has come through and stood up. Craig (Rutterford) has just been unreal- they have been brilliant.”