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Plans afoot to re-stage Crane Sevens again

PUBLISHED: 15:37 27 January 2011 | UPDATED: 15:53 27 January 2011

PLANS are afoot to stage the Cranes Sevens again this year.

For many years it formed a popular part of the football calendar in the Ipswich area with most of the top teams having their names etched on the trophy.

Ipswich Town used to enter a team in the early days winning it once with Mick Mills in their team.

Gordon Blake, who was secretary of Cranes Sports club at the time, was behind the idea to start the event 45 years ago.

“One of our ex-players Brian Rowlands mentioned it and it proved to be a big success,” said Gordon.

“We had every top club in the area taking part at some stage, and the tournament was eagerly awaited each year.”

The last time Cranes staged the event was in 1998, immediately before their ground was taken over by Ipswich Town, and the following year it moved to Ipswich Wanderers’ ground in Humber Doucy Lane with full size goals being used for the first time.

It was 2007 when it was last held.

In its early days the competition run with eight leagues of four teams from Monday to Thursday evenings during a summer week.

The semi-finals were staged on one night the following week and the final and plate final staged during the Crane Sports Day.

Steve Roper chairman of Kingsley Healthcare Crane Sports is the man behind the plan to bring it back, and he said:

“We are looking at the end of June or early July with the competition taking place on one day.

“With four leagues of four teams we can get through the preliminary stages and then play the final in the early evening.

“Along with my committee I’m in discussions with Mark Calver and Barry Turner at Greshams sports ground where we now play and everybody is right behind the idea.”

The seven-a-side tournament would see games played seven minutes each way with the quarter-finals and semi-finals 10 minutes each way and the final 15 minutes each way.

When a firm date is set, the 16 clubs taking part will be confirmed.

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RESPECTED and long running Sunday club Taverners were regulars in the Crane Sevens, and club supremo Bob Bullamore has welcomed its possible return.

“It would be great to see the ‘Sevens’ back in full swing,” said Bob.

“We first took part in 1985 and felt privileged to be invited being a Sunday side and with participation by invitation in those days.

“It was regarded as the top small-sided competition in the area with several Ridgeons League clubs such as Stowmarket, Sudbury and Brantham taking part as well as the leading sides from the SIL.

“The evenings attracted big crowds to watch some of the best players in the area; the Cranes bar also did a roaring trade afterwards.

“Gordon Blake ran the tournament with military-like precision and also involved top referees, with referee and two assistants on every game.

“Full reports and league tables - sometimes plus photos - always appeared in the Evening Star the following night, together with a list of the forthcoming fixtures.

“When the ‘Sevens’ moved to Wanderers it was also well attended, with Wanderers officials - especially Roger Wosahlo - doing sterling work with barbecue refreshments and, of course, a busy bar.”

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