End of an era for Debenham
FOUR decades of cricket at Debenham came to an end over a couple of pints at the Horsley Cross pub on the Colchester to Harwich road.Marshall Hatchick Two Counties Championship representative Colin Gayfer says that he is disappointed, but realistically there was no other decision.
By Elvin King
FOUR decades of cricket at Debenham came to an end over a couple of pints at the Horsley Cross pub on the Colchester to Harwich road.
Marshall Hatchick Two Counties Championship representative Colin Gayfer says that he is disappointed, but realistically there was no other decision.
"We were on our way back from losing heavily to Harwich and Dovercourt seconds having played with just nine men," explained Gayfer.
"At pre-season nets we were only attracting six to eight players and we had already pulled a side out of the Medite League side.
"We hoped we could survive in the Fifth Division of the Two Counties, but with only eight to ten players to call on each week it was impossible."
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The Debenham square at the well-appointed Leisure Club on the outskirts of the village will now lay idle. Geoff Miller, one of the founder members, will no longer have any wickets to prepare.
When a village the size of Debenham cannot provide enough cricketers it is a warning sign to all Suffolk clubs. Only two of the club's regulars came from the village and the interest in the club had waned.
"Last season we were helped by an influx of younger players from the community, but the organisation behind this has now gone," added Gayfer.
"We decided in the pub at Horsley that it was the end of the road and we pulled out before last weekend's fixtures.
"It has been impossible to draw any interest from within Debenham, I think it is a sign of the times."
Gayfer's brothers, Tony and Steve, were Debenham regulars while the Aldis brothers Mel, Roger and Terry, were once stalwarts.
David Leach the current Ipswich and East Suffolk captain, and Jonathan Leggett, the former Suffolk Colts bowler, are two former Debenham players. Leggett is now at university but is also playing for IES.
Nick Read, a talented young player, has moved to Easton and a number of other players left during the winter.
Those who are now left without a game, like Suffolk Under-50 bowler Willie Mugglestone, can move to other Two Counties clubs once the formalities over the financial situation between Debenham and the league has been completed.
"We are dreadfully disappointed, but realistically we had no other choice," said Gayfer.
With Felixstowe withdrawing their first team from the league and Bourne Vale experiencing considerably problems this year in fielding a side, it is a worrying situation for Suffolk's cricket authorities.
Three of the four planned Two Counties Sunday Challenge matches were conceded last weekend to show what a waste of time that competition has become.
It may only be a matter of time before another club goes.