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Bury St Edmunds bowler Sean Cooper picks his top five team-mates from down the years




Sean Cooper's cricketing career has taken him all around the world.

The England Over-50s international, who currently turns out for Bury St Edmunds in the East Anglian Premier League, has enjoyed tours to the likes of the West Indies, Namibia, South Africa and New Zealand with the Royal Air Force side and the Combined Services.

Cooper – a bowler – has also featured for Fakenham and Worlington in seasons gone by.

CRICKET - Bury St Edmunds (Bowling/Fielding) v Mildenhall (Batting)..Pictured: Sean Cooper bowling...PICTURE: Mecha Morton. (34623942)
CRICKET - Bury St Edmunds (Bowling/Fielding) v Mildenhall (Batting)..Pictured: Sean Cooper bowling...PICTURE: Mecha Morton. (34623942)

Picking his top five team-mates has been a tall order, but here is who made the cut.

Ian Slegg: Sleggy is without doubt the best fast bowler I have played with. At Fakenham we formed a successful bowling partnership for the best part of a decade.

We had some great overseas professionals at the time, but Sleggy was always the primary bowler.

CRICKET - Bury St Edmunds (Bowling/Fielding) v Mildenhall (Batting)..Pictured: Sean Cooper bowling...PICTURE: Mecha Morton. (34623978)
CRICKET - Bury St Edmunds (Bowling/Fielding) v Mildenhall (Batting)..Pictured: Sean Cooper bowling...PICTURE: Mecha Morton. (34623978)

He never seemed to be fazed in any situation and always had a smile on his face, even when he was having a word with the batsmen!

Seeing his name on the team-mate sheet would always raise spirits because you knew he was capable of dismantling the opposition in a six-or-seven-over spell.

We had Stuart Williams – the West Indian international – playing with us for a spell and he could not believe a big county did not pick Sleggy up.

Paul Dunger: I have known Dilly since I was a cocky 18-year-old, having just joined the military.

Fakenham Cricket Club. Front LtoR - Chris Spenceley, Sean Cooper, Keegan Monahan-Fairlie (capt), Paul Dunger, Ben Harvey. Back LtoR - Stuart Broughton, Lloyd Marshall, Omar Phillips, Ashley Jarvis, Billy Yarham, Yin Lo.. (34624013)
Fakenham Cricket Club. Front LtoR - Chris Spenceley, Sean Cooper, Keegan Monahan-Fairlie (capt), Paul Dunger, Ben Harvey. Back LtoR - Stuart Broughton, Lloyd Marshall, Omar Phillips, Ashley Jarvis, Billy Yarham, Yin Lo.. (34624013)

Dilly is one of the best captains I have played for because he got to know me as a character and he made me earn my stripes.

We forged a good batting partnership but he made me wait when it came to bowling. I had to earn the right.

He is the backbone of the club at Fakenham. He has run the bar, been on the committee, was the entertainment man and still plays for the thirds. These days he is also the groundsman and is responsible for one of the best grounds in East Anglia.

Sean Park: Parky is the other captain that I have massively enjoyed playing under.

MBFP-06-08-2016-005 Bury v Sudbury Cricket Batsman Sean Park plays a reverse sweap shot Bury Free Press 06.08.2016. (34624143)
MBFP-06-08-2016-005 Bury v Sudbury Cricket Batsman Sean Park plays a reverse sweap shot Bury Free Press 06.08.2016. (34624143)

He is a match winner and I am happy to be on his side at Bury having spent a number of years trying to duck his short stuff when he was at Granta with his brothers.

He is an excellent all-round player – there is nothing he cannot do. He can bat, bowl pace, bowl spin, field and keep wicket. You always have a chance with someone like Parky in your side.

He knows my character and allows me to play. Bowlers don't tend to like captains changing their field, but I let Parky because he knows what he is doing. And even if I don't agree, he let's the old man vent and then tells me to just bowl!

He wants everyone to do their best and because of his coaching background he is able to provide them with the environment to do that.

Sudbury Cricket Club v Bury St Edmunds. Bury batsmen Mark Nunn and Sean Park making a run.. (34624276)
Sudbury Cricket Club v Bury St Edmunds. Bury batsmen Mark Nunn and Sean Park making a run.. (34624276)

Paul Turner: I played with Pinhead – that's his nickname because he has the smallest head in the world – for more than 10 years in the RAF.

He was an exceptional bowler who was very quick, but then had to change to medium pace because of an elbow injury.

What he could with the ball was magic. When others were struggling, he would always find a way to confuse batsmen and showed that you did not necessarily need pace to be effective. It is just about knowing what type of bowler you are, and what you can and cannot do.

He could hold a bat as well for someone that came in at eight or nine.

Nick Goacher: He was the senior player when I joined the RAF team and we went on to play for 10 years together.

Cricket Burwell & Exning v Bury St Edmunds Sean Cooper bowling for Bury Picture Mark Westley. (34623998)
Cricket Burwell & Exning v Bury St Edmunds Sean Cooper bowling for Bury Picture Mark Westley. (34623998)

It was always a pleasure to be on the same field as Nick. Everyone had total respect for him because he was a gentleman who carried himself in a professional manner, on and off the pitch.

He was a medium pace bowler who did the dirty work that others did not want to do. He would run up the hill into the wind and let others reap the rewards.

He showed that there are other ways of being a valuable member of the team, and that every team needs a player like Nick.

He also batted at 10 or 11, but I cannot recall seeing him ever get out! We went to places like India, Australia and New Zealand, and yet he always seemed to be in at the end!

My top five cricketers (click on name to view their list)

Adrian Dellar, Josh Wells, Liam Bryant, Liam Botten, Ben Shepperson, Rob Thurley, Darren Batch


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