Bury St Edmunds have agreed to sign two of Suffolk’s best young cricketers as they bid for an improved East Anglian Premier League (EAPL) campaign.
Wicketkeeper-batsman Adam Mansfield and leg spinner Russell Stockdale — who both featured for Suffolk last season — will turn out at the Victory Ground during 2014 after leaving Sudbury and Frinton-on-Sea, respectively.
Bury captain Tom Huggins — whose side open their EAPL campaign at local rivals Woolpit on April 19 — is pleased with his newest recruits, but hopes to add another couple of players, including at least one fast bowler t0 replace Matt Hunn, who joined county side Kent at the end of last summer.
“In my opinion, Adam is one of — if not the — best wicketkeepers in the Premier League,” said Huggins. “He got a Premier League century last year, so will strengthen our batting as well.”
Stockdale, who can also bat in the middle-order, took 12 wickets in Marshall Hatchick Two Counties Championship Division One last season, at an average of 16.17 runs.
Woolpit —in their first season of EAPL cricket — and Bury both survived relegation last season, with Bury looking particularly in peril for much of the campaign, but fantastic personal contributions for Huggins and vice-captain Justin Bishop just about carried their side over the survival line.
In their bid for better fortunes on the field this term, Huggins is also looking for some of the club’s current youngsters to step up.
“Obviously we needed to strengthen, but the lads are a year older and a year more experienced in the Premier League,” said the skipper, who reached 100 career centuries during last summer. “We are looking for the likes of Toby Adams to back up his maiden hundred last year and put in some regular contributions, as well as people like Tom Rash to step up with the ball.”
In the Two Counties Championship, Mildenhall open their Division One campaign with a tough fixture against Hadleigh.
Hall — runners-up to Woolpit in 2012 — had an indifferent 2013, eventually finishing fourth, 23 points behind third-placed Hadleigh.
Division Two champions Worlington will be looking to continue their form of last season when they visit Haverhill for their first Division One clash.
Lakenheath — who were relegated from Division One in 2012, but promoted back at the first attempt when finishing Division Two runners-up to Worlington in 2013 — open at home to Wivenhoe.
Brockley will be looking to improve on finishing sixth in Division Two last season when they begin at home to Copford, while Needham Market travel to Long Melford in Division Three and Stowmarket — relegated from Division Four last year — visit Kelvedon and Feering II.