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Kings of Anglia Issue 10 Magazine Offer

Kings of the Castle hit the rest for six

PUBLISHED: 13:34 06 September 2002 | UPDATED: 12:36 03 March 2010

CRICKET: Showing all the spirit and resolve of a lengthy Michael Atherton innings, Castle Cricket Club have hit the rest for six this year.

They are celebrating winning Section E of the Medite Suffolk Alliance, after years of struggling at the wrong end of the table.

CRICKET

SHOWING all the spirit and resolve of a lengthy Michael Atherton innings, Castle Cricket Club have hit the rest for six this year.

They are celebrating winning Section E of the Medite Suffolk Alliance, after years of struggling at the wrong end of the table.

Despite losing their ground and most of their better players over the last ten years, Castle refused to be bowled over.

They finished rock bottom of the lowest league in local cricket – Section E – for a number of times in the 1990s.

But two years ago they showed an improvement by ending one off the bottom, and last year they reached the heady heights of fifth.

Now they have gone through a season losing just one of their ten league matches.

"For a number of years we used to think that we had done well if we managed to win one match a season," said club stalwart Steve Clark.

Castle began life as Stutton and in 1990 when Clark joined were successful members of Section C of the Alliance, but by 1995 most of the better players had gone.

To make matters worse, the club then lost its pitch and for three years played home games 'away'. They borrowed Brantham's ground for two years and then Stone Lodge Lane, Ipswich, for one campaign. They then made a plea for a ground and were contacted by Framlingham, whose own side had just folded.

"We could easily have closed the shutters ourselves but moving to Framlingham perked everybody up," added Clark.

"With virtually the same players we began to win matches and this has been a wonderful and satisfying year for us."

This year the club's name was switched to Castle. "This is because we can just see Framlingham Castle from our new ground," said Clark.

"We have one player, captain Clive Lewis, who lives in Stutton with the rest coming from the Ipswich area."

Plans to find a new ground in Stutton after the original one was ploughed up failed to materialise partly because of red tape over possible part funding by the National Lottery.

"Our perseverance has paid off," said Lewis. "Our former neighbours Holbrook have folded this year and it is not a good time to find young players to bring to clubs.

"For a while we had to go into the pubs and almost beg players to make up the team, but it has now come together."

With the highest score of 53 by a batsman and the wickets being shared around, it has been a total team effort by Castle this year. And Mr Atherton, like all cricket lovers, couldn't fail to be suitably impressed.

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