Financial nightmare for Suffolk CCA

SUFFOLK County Cricket Association lost more than £6,000 last year – despite unprecedented success in the major national one-day knock-out competition.

SUFFOLK County Cricket Association lost more than £6,000 last year – despite unprecedented success in the major national one-day knock-out competition.

Suffolk won four matches in the Cheltenham & Gloucester Trophy (formerly NatWest Trophy) but made a loss on staging the county's first home match against first-class opponents since 1993.

After winning at Lincolnshire and beating a strong Essex Board XI at home, the prospect of a lucrative pay-day beckoned against Nottinghamshire at Mildenhall.

But Toby Pound, the Suffolk secretary, told Monday's annual meeting at Bury St Edmunds: "Unfortunately, the gods conspired to produce a damp, dreary morning which would have deterred all but the most hardy supporter."

He said worse was to follow when Notts won the toss, chose to bat first and had won the game by 3.30pm before a crowd of around 350 spectators.

"What could have been a financial success, both for the host club and the county, turned out to be a damp squib. No blame for that attaches to the Mildenhall club who worked hard to prepare the ground for a much larger crowd than eventually arrived."

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He continued: "Mike Clarke and his team should be congratulated on producing, as ever, an excellent venue for first-class opposition. The fact is that five weeks is totally insufficient to create the necessary infra-structure and to attract the sort of commercial and spectator support that is required to produce a financial success."

Having beaten Denmark and Herefordshire in the opening two rounds of the 2002 Trophy at the end of last season, Suffolk now had eight months to prepare to host Northants at Bury St Edmunds, added Pound.

He said he was confident that the county could show a "reasonable profit" on the match to claw back the deficit of £6,280.90 of expenditure over income on the year ending September 30, 2001.

This loss could be attributed to the cost of players' and officials' match expenses nearly doubling to £34,757.33 compared to £17,889.23 in 2000 as the cost of staging the extra games in addition to the format of six three-day matches rocketed.

Kevin Brooks, the county's director of cricket, paid tribute to captain Phil Caley, who he described as an exceptional talent at Minor County level, and to player-coach Andy Brown, who had done a tremendous job, especially at grass-roots level in schools around the county.

Caley said that although tasting success in one-day matches, the side had found difficulty coming to terms with the three-day format, especially occupying the crease for any length of time. Availability for three-day matches had also been a problem.

Caley, like Brooks, praised all-rounder Ian Graham for his contribution, culminating in his receiving the player of the year award from his colleagues.

Chairman Norman Atkins said the strength of cricket in Suffolk was shown in the various reports and paid tribute to all the volunteers who administer and coach cricket in the county.

There were no changes to the main officers, all being re-elected as follows:

President – Cyril Perkins; chairman – Norman Atkins; vice-chairman – Chris Winning; hon. secretary – Toby Pound; hon. treasurer – Neil Hammond.