Copdock stars face big dilemma

CRICKET: Copdock and Old Ipswichians all-rounder James East confirmed today that top players at the club have been left with a dilemma following their heartbreaking four-run defeat at Fakenham on Saturday.

By Elvin King


COPDOCK and Old Ipswichians all-rounder James East confirmed today that top players at the club have been left with a dilemma following their heartbreaking four-run defeat at Fakenham on Saturday.

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The Marshall Hatchick Two Counties Championship runners-up faced the Norfolk League runners-up to see who would play Ramsey for a place in the East Anglian Premier League in 2003.

The champions of the three feeder leagues to the EAPL were all ineligible to gain promotion – giving Copdock and Fakenham a chance to take Ramsey's place.

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"We have got to think long and hard about what to do now," said East, who captained the side in the absence of his younger brother John who was away.

"Suffolk director of cricket Kevin Brooks has made it known that he would prefer to pick players for the county side from within the EAPL. This is fair enough as there is a big jump from the Two Counties to the Minor Counties.

"Players like myself and John, who have both been able to gain selection for Suffolk this year, Tim Percival and Tristan Jervis have to decide whether we need to move on to clubs some distance from Ipswich so that we can feature in Suffolk's plans.

"Tattingstone's Stuart Hammond has scored bags of runs, but found that his chances of playing for Suffolk have not been helped by playing in the Two Counties."

East, who bowled despite injury, helped keep the Fakenham total down after the Norfolk side, well served by an Australian overseas player, looked as though they were going to post a big score.

He took two wickets and off spinner James Druitt took four as the Norfolk side were dismissed for 147. Jervis also captured two wickets.

Copdock made the worst possible start in reply, losing wickets to the first two balls. Percival and Adam Baker were both leg before. On the first ball of the next over Andy Burch joined them back in the pavilion with the score 0 for 3.

Jervis looked at one time as though he was going to see his side home, but once he was out for 69 the home team regained control.

Tom Rash did well and John Bell appeared to have swung things back Copdock's way with a six off the first ball of the last over.

"It was their sixth bowler and we needed ten from the last six balls," recalled East. "When the first one went for six we thought we were going to do it.

"John took a swipe at the next ball and missed. He did the same for the third ball, which was slower, and was bowled."

It was a roller coaster ride for Copdock, who lost their three final league games last season to miss out on a tilt at the EAPL.

"When Sudbury were unexpectedly beaten ten days ago to allow us to leap frog them and finish second to Tattingstone, we thought our luck had changed," added East. "But it was typical of Copdock to fall at the last hurdle again.

"We were without Rob Earl, who was playing hockey, and Martin Holland, who was playing rugby.

"And rather miffed at having to play away, which meant an 8am departure from Copdock. Surely a neutral ground would have been fairer. Fakenham were no better than sides we meet every week in the Two Counties."

Club chairman Ray East said: "If our overseas player had stayed we would have won the league outright. He was good enough, but his attitude was not right and he left early by mutual consent."

Copdock's defeat means that Browns drop down to Division Two of the Two Counties along with Braintree.

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