Home record is their Achilles heel

ACHILLES sit top of the Fourth Division table in the Marshall Hatchick Two Counties Championship – but have a shaky home record.They have lost three of the four games they have played at their new ground at St Joseph's College, but have a 100 per cent record away.

By Elvin King

ACHILLES sit top of the Fourth Division table in the Marshall Hatchick Two Counties Championship – but have a shaky home record.

They have lost three of the four games they have played at their new ground at St Joseph's College, but have a 100 per cent record away.

Tomorrow they entertain Hadleigh looking for a double after winning by eight wickets in the corresponding match last May.

Cricket will never be played at Pauls Social club, Stone Lodge Lane, Ipswich again with housing about to take up much of the site.

"Football and bowls are set to continue, but we have moved across the fence to St Joseph's," said Achilles opening batsman Martin Langley today.

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"We still use the Pauls clubhouse, and from next week we will be playing on the main St Joseph's square. I don't think we will ever regain Division One status but we have already moved up from Division Five and hopefully we can advance higher this year."

Achilles, who will be facing former player Richard Marston tomorrow, are well served by stalwarts like skipper Eddie Green, former Suffolk player Clive Stafford, Adie Taylor, Rob Wignall, Trevor Bowdler and Dave Smith.

"Hadleigh started slowly but have picked up some good results, so we know we are in for a tough game tomorrow," added Langley.

Also in Division Four, East Bergholt are at home Wivenhoe seconds while Stowmarket travel to Little Bardfield.

In the First Division, leaders Tattingstone will be looking to get their show back on the road after losing for the second time last weekend. Chris Bell's side travels to Wivenhoe where they could find the Essex side a handful although if they play to their full potential they should keep themselves in pole position to win the championship.

Sudbury, who beat Tattingstone last Saturday, will be out to inflict more pain on Ipswich area sides when they take on Copdock and Old Ipswichians at Friars Street.

Copdock are one of the top flight sides who would jump at a chance to move up to the East Anglian Premier League and they know they cannot afford many more slip-ups if they are to finish top of the table this summer.

Skipper John East won a deserved place in the Suffolk side for their Minor Counties Championship match against Hertfordshire this week and he could be a trump card with his right arm spin bowling.

Father Ray East must be proud. The former Essex spinner, and current Copdock chairman, has now seen sons James and John both win full Suffolk recognition.

Browns look too good to face any relegation problems despite their slow start to this campaign. Their win last Saturday over Exning was a bonus, and Martyn Kidd's side will be out to gain another victory when they visit the well-appointed Victory Ground to take on Bury St Edmunds second eleven.

Bury has not been a happy hunting ground for Browns over the years with not one win in many Suffolk Cup final appearances.

John Stuck, still scoring centuries and a valued member of the Suffolk Over-50 side, is one of the umpires. Clacton-based Stuck, who scored over 2,000 runs for Suffolk as a distinguished opening bat, took up Saturday umpiring duties a couple of years ago.

Division Two leaders Ipswich and East Suffolk do not have a game due to Felixstowe withdrawing their first team at the start of the season. Having only played seven league matches, and with the season fast running out, a number of their senior players are likely to play for the second team in Division Five over the weekend.

The IES second string has two games with a strong Maldon II at Chantry Park tomorrow, and a visit to Cavendish Wanderers on Sunday. IES celebrate their 150th anniversary next year and are already planning a bumper year of events.

Easton can still make an impact at the top of the Second Division table, and their capable young side is good enough to gain victory at Elmstead Grasshoppers.

The wicket at Ransomes ground in Ipswich played superbly in Suffolk's innings victory over Hertfordshire this week, and St Margarets will be keen to benefit when they take on Harwich and Dovercourt at Sidegate Avenue.

In the Suffolk Premier League, the crunch match takes place between Felixstowe Corinthians and Thurston. The latter have not been beaten in the league since 2000 and will virtually seal the championship with victory tomorrow against a side who have lost just twice this year.

Bourne Vale, who have thankfully been able to field full sides after a worrying start to the season, entertain a strong Walsham-le-Willows side at Halifax Road, Ipswich, while Woodbridge, who would surely like a side in Two Counties Championship, are at home to Eye and District.

The team finishing top of the Suffolk League gains entry into the Two Counties Third Division, and Woodbridge have the pedigree to follow Woolpit – and most likely Thurston – into the higher flight.

Achilles v East Bergholt