Copdock & OI ready for promotion assault

COPDOCK & Old Ipswichians are poised to make a concerted bid for promotion to the East Anglian Premier League this season.After unluckily suffering relegation from Division One of the Marshall Hatchick Two Counties Championship at the end of 2005 due to Maldon's demotion from the EAPL, Copdock & OIs bounced back by winning Division Two last season.

COPDOCK & Old Ipswichians are poised to make a concerted bid for promotion to the East Anglian Premier League this season.

After unluckily suffering relegation from Division One of the Marshall Hatchick Two Counties Championship at the end of 2005 due to Maldon's demotion from the EAPL, Copdock & OIs bounced back by winning Division Two last season.

The return of three former Ipswich schoolboys - Chris Swallow, Tristan Jervis and Richard Mann - and the acquisition of Cambridgeshire's Michael Kay means the club will be able to field a side packed with Minor Counties and even first-class experience.

Promotion to the East Anglian Premier League therefore appears to be within the club's grasp this summer.

James East, who will be vice-captain to brother John, said: “We only went down two years ago because Maldon were relegated. It was the first time we had not finished in the top three for five years!

“We were able to bounce straight back up because the difference in standard between Divisions One and Two is the same as between the East Anglian Premier League and Division One of the Two Counties.

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“We only lost twice - once to East Bergholt when we had already won promotion - and the other time to Frinton, who were a good side and were promoted along with us.”

South African overseas opening bowler Bardo Fransman proved a big hit at Copdock & OIs last season, topping the Division Two bowling averages with 34 wickets at just 12.2 apiece.

East said: “Bardo will make a big difference to us. What we missed before in Division One was being able to bowl sides out, but he is able to blast out tailenders. We would get teams 100 for four but they would recover to reach 220, but with Bardo we can hopefully capitalise on such situations and bowl teams out for around 150.”

Suffolk's cricket development manager Kay, who this week has been captaining Cambridgeshire, has joined from East Anglian Premier League side Ramsey after settling in the Stowmarket area.

“Michael Kay will be a decent acquisition to the side. He is not quick but is brisk enough and, with Chris Swallow and John East, we have two of the best spinners in the league.

“Chris is a quality all-rounder who is returning from Clacton, while Tristan Jervis was playing in the Kent Premier League last season and batting in the top five.

“Richard Mann, the former Cambridge University captain, was opening the batting for Teddington last year and was keen to return as he and Chris were at school together.”

East acknowledged that a good start is of paramount importance if the club are to realise their ambitions.

“The first few games could make-or-break our season. We play Coggeshall, Mistley, Brightlingsea and Frinton and, with all due respect, they are likely to be among the weaker teams in the league, so we need to get off to a good start.”

Copdock & OIs can expect to face competition for the title from Halstead, Maldon, Mildenhall and Sudbury.

Ipswich-based Simon Steele led Halstead to the Division One pennant last season, while Maldon, in their second season after relegation from the EAPL, are likely to mount a serious assault again.

Perhaps the biggest threat to Copdock & OIs ambitions could come from Sudbury, who have South African one-day international Jon Kent returning to the club this season.

Ipswich & East Suffolk, winners of the title two years ago and third last season, are likely to find the going tougher this year.

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