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England Over-50s win opening World Cup fixture with Bury St Edmunds cricketer Sean Cooper claiming the first two wickets

It was the birthday present Sean Cooper had hoped for, as the Bury St Edmunds cricketer took two wickets to lead the England Over-50s squad to an opening World Cup victory in Cape Town.

Cooper, 53 on Wednesday, collected the first two wickets as England (104/2) beat India (101/7) by eight wickets in their first Division B group game.

Speaking to the Free Press before flying out to South Africa, he said: “I just can’t wait, I’m like a little child when it comes to cricket, I’m just so excited.

CRICKET - Bury St Edmunds (Bowling/Fielding) v Mildenhall (Batting)..Pictured: Sean Cooper bowling...PICTURE: Mecha Morton. (31222231)
CRICKET - Bury St Edmunds (Bowling/Fielding) v Mildenhall (Batting)..Pictured: Sean Cooper bowling...PICTURE: Mecha Morton. (31222231)

“Obviously it’s amazing to get the chance to play for your country at any age and to get the chance twice is very special.

“It’s my birthday on the day of our first match against India and it would just be the perfect present to get going with a win and if I can pick up a wicket or two, well that would be even better.”

The right-arm medium pace bowler, who represents Bury St Edmunds at club level in the East Anglian Premier League, got off to a near perfect start with early wickets to leave India at 6-1 and then 11-2.

Bowling nine overs, he recorded figures of 2-10 to bode well for his form at the second-ever O50s World Cup – following the success of the 2018 version in Sydney, which Cooper was also involved in as England lost to Pakistan in the semi-finals.

He was not required to bat as England easily knocked off 104 runs in just 17.4 of their 45 allotted overs.

Their second match is today (Friday, March 13) in the ‘Back to School’ round which will see England face hosts South Africa at the Jacques Kallis Oval at Wynberg Boys’ High School, before facing Namibia on Sunday at Western Province’s Wally Wilson Oval.

On Monday they face a home nation in Wales in the ‘Out of the Country’ round at the Paul Roos Gymnasium in Stellenbosch before their final Division B match against Pakistan at Langa CC on Wednesday.

The semi-finals and playoffs will follow next Friday before the cup final on Tuesday, March 24.

“There’s more teams in this cup than the first,” he said. “And the success of the first has seen even more ex-first class players involved too, which is great to see, more and more want to get involved as they realise it’s still a good standard.

“So it’s going to be even harder but, with the squad we have now, we would have won in 2018 which gives me a lot of confidence.

“I think we can – and will – finish in the top two from the group and then we will just do the best we can.”

Matches are being live streamed on: pitchvision.com/#/pv-matches

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