Suffolk Cup final defeat does not sour true ‘season of progress’ for Bury St Edmunds
Ahead of the season coming to an end this weekend, David Barker believes the 2019 campaign has been one of ‘real progress’ across all the teams at Bury St Edmunds CC.
It was a mixed penultimate weekend for the club as they celebrated the promotion of the seconds to Two Counties Division Two while the firsts lost twice to rivals Sudbury, including a big defeat in the Suffolk T20 Cup Final at Woolpit on Sunday.
But president Barker said: “I think the club is in a good place.
“All the teams have improved on their league positions from last season, which shows real progress is being made.
“Until Saturday – when we gave debuts to two 16-year-olds – we had only used 16 players in the first team this season and having a settled first team benefits the second team as it makes them stronger, which is what we had wanted to do.
“Ben Whittaker captained that side and had said ‘we are going to get promotion’ and he has done very well to achieve that, although he was away at the weekend.”
At the Victory Ground on Saturday, Sean Park’s first team (223-8) looked well placed to record a win against the reigning champions in their penultimate Read Brothers East Anglian Premier League fixture.
After being inserted in to bat on a damp surface, openers Justin Broad and Alfie Marston played well, scoring 90 for the first wicket.
Ben Curran remained not out for an excellent 70 and was joined in the final over by 16-year-old Finlay Bonas who along with his twin brother Elliott were making their EAPL debuts. Finlay’s first ball was guided for four as the innings closed on 223-8.
But after a shaky start to their reply, Sudbury (224-6) – who were 160-7 at one point as the game hung in the balance –ended up claiming the derby spoils and securing third place thanks to former Bury player Adam Mansfield.
The wicketkeeper, who recently stood down as Suffolk captain, dug his heels in to hit his way to 54 not out from number six in the order to see his side home by two wickets.
The seven points for Bury leaves them eighth in the table heading to Saffron Walden, the side directly below them in the table (13pts behind), tomorrow (11am). A win for the visitors will guarantee eighth but they cannot catch seventh-placed Great Witchingham.
There was joy Bury St Edmunds II (213-6) though, following a good four-wicket win away to Abberton (210-6) to secure promotion to Division Two of the Marshall Hatchick Two Counties Championship.
It closes the gap between the club’s top two teams and increases the standard they will be playing at in 2020, with mainly first teams at that level.
Abberton scored 210-6 off 45 overs with two wickets each for Adam Kizis and George Loyd.
Good wicketkeeping from Mike Skelton and an excellent run-out by Ollie Self helped keep the score down with four home batsman scoring more than 30.
Loyd batted well with 60 from just 45 deliveries and was well supported by Andrew Longfield (38), James Sturgeon (33), Adam Kizis (23) and captain Tom Curran (22) to secure victory with nine balls to spare.
Bury can clinch the Division Three title at the Victory Ground if they beat Long Melford (1pm). They hold a two-point lead over Copdock & Old Ipswichian II, who are at home to Haverhill II.
Bury St Edmunds III’s Division Seven matchagainst West Mersea was conceded by their scheduled visitors.
Bury’s Sunday first team stuck with the side which had got them to the final of the Suffolk T20 Cup at Woolpit, but James McKinney’s side came up 98 runs short to a strong Sudbury side’s 218 target.
Barker, who scored the game, said: “The boys did well to get to the final, but in fairness we did not put out as strong a side as Sudbury and fair dues, they were miles ahead and performed much better on the day.”
Bury Sunday II (119) were on the end of a six-wicket loss at Cavendish (120-4) despite Raj’s 62 and three wickets for Saurabh Gupta.
Greene King Players of the week: George Loyd, Justin Broad and Raj.
More by this authorRussell Claydon