Former Hadleigh star Dom Manthorpe is preparing to take the next steps to what he hopes will be a career as a first-class cricketer.
The 20-year-old all-rounder who moved from Friars Road to play in the East Anglian Premier League with Bury St Edmunds last summer, is starting a one-year summer contract with the MCC Young Cricketers.
Manthorpe, who played age group cricket for Suffolk from Under-11s upwards and was previously with the Essex Academy, spent most of last season on trial playing 2nd XI cricket with first-class county Leicestershire in pursuit of his dream of a first-class career.
His performances across the summer and in a three-day trial at High Wycombe in September attracted the attention of MCC Head Coach Steve Kirby, the former Gloucestershire, Somerset and Yorkshire fast bowler.
Manthorpe is one of 17 players contracted to the MCC Young Cricketers, and will be hoping to catch the eye against county 2nd XIs in three-day Championship fixtures, the 50-over Trophy and T20 competition.
When not required by the MCC Young Cricketers, Manthorpe will be available to play for partner county Leicestershire and club side Bury St Edmunds in the Gibbs Denley East Anglian Premier League.
He said: “It was a great feeling putting pen to paper on my first contract. It is a summer contract that lasts until September.
“Hopefully at the end of the season I will have impressed enough to be picked up by my county Leicestershire or offered another contract with the MCC Young Cricketers for next summer.”
The Bury St Edmunds-born left arm fast bowler, who also bats left-handed, continued: “I can’t wait to get outside. I haven’t been abroad to play this winter, so have been netting indoors and in an outdoor marquee at Merchant Taylors’ School.”
Manthorpe was playing for home-town club Hadleigh when he made his Minor Counties Championship debut for Suffolk in a two-wicket win versus old rivals Norfolk at Copdock in 2015.
He played twice more that season and once the following season, but did not feature last season when he was playing for Leicestershire 2nd XI.
He is looking forward to linking up with Bury St Edmunds when available, and said: “We are a young side, but we have got a lot of talented players who I hope to help get over the line to win games.”
• Meanwhile, there will be no competitive cricket for Hadleigh, Halstead, Sudbury II and Long Melford as planned this weekend, after the Marshall Hatchick Two Counties Championship followed the East Anglian Premier League’s move last week in announcing it was delaying the start of the season by a week.
The prolonged wet weather is said to have left grounds unready to host the opening weekend action, so like the EAPL, the Two Counties has moved those fixtures scheduled for April 14 to September 15 as an additional Saturday to conclude the 2018 campaign.
It means that in Division One, Hadleigh will now open up on the road at last year’s second place side Wivenhoe, while Halstead will host Ipswich at Star Stile.
In Division Two, promoted Sudbury II will now start life at the higher level on their home wicket, with Kelvedon & Feering visiting, while in Division Three, Long Melford will begin on the road at Kesgrave.
Clubs will be hoping an improved forecast for this weekend allows them to get some practice on the wicket before the 2018 campaign starts.
• For season previews with Sudbury, Halstead, Hadleigh and Long Melford, don’t miss next Thursday’s Free Press.