Percival's Pitch

Local cricket: WELL done to all those involved with the organisation of The Lord's Taverners versus The Beckett's All Stars XI game held at Copdock & Old Ipswichians CC on August 18.

WELL done to all those involved with the organisation of The Lord's Taverners versus The Beckett's All Stars XI game held at Copdock & Old Ipswichians CC on August 18. It was a fantastic day.

Unfortunately, cricket is a game like no other that relies so heavily on the weather. So after a week of sweltering heat, sure enough on Sunday morning it rained. As a result the game was reduced to 30 overs a side and batting first the All Star XI hit a competitive 182 for seven. In reply The Lord's Taverners were not to be intimidated and Russell Osman (ex-Ipswich & England footballer) and Brian Close (ex-Yorkshire & England cricketer) put on 50 before Close retired. The Taverners chipped away at their target and ended up needing just one off the last ball to win. It was nail-biting stuff but the calmness and composure of Peter Scudamore (record breaking jockey) made sure they went home victorious.

Osman went on to pass 50 and appears to be a pretty decent cricketer. He is one of those lucky people who is talented at nearly everything they put their hand to. But it was Close who really – and I mean really – impressed me. Like all great players no matter what the situation, they always bat properly. I am told that Mike Atherton was the same. Regardless of what kind of game he was playing in, be it a winter net, a pre-season friendly or a Test match, he batted the same as he always would.

It would be so easy to mess about in charity games like this but Close batted with patience and concentration, determined not to give his wicket away. At 71 he is no spring chicken and I only hope I can still be playing golf at his age let alone cricket! It was an absolute pleasure to watch him and he got me thinking about how I should apply myself to building an innings.

It is just that kind of event that we need to see more of in Suffolk and was a great advert for the game locally. I was particularly pleased to see so many youngsters playing their own mini games around the boundary and showing an interest in what was going on out in the middle - after all they are the future of local cricket.

However, having said this, it worries me how many young cricketers I have seen playing in Division One this season. There aren't many I can tell you. Each week I turn up and it seems to be the same old faces who have been playing in this league for years.

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Of the youngsters that I have seen this year only Gavin Driver of Tattingstone has really impressed me. He is a surprisingly mature bowler for his years and has the ability to consistently bowl in the right areas. With continued progression and another yard of pace he should become a very useful new ball bowler.

As it stands Tattingstone look to have the Two Counties Division One title in the bag. At the start of the year I honestly didn't think they'd do it but I must give credit were credit is due.

They are a resourceful bunch with some talented players and have played good cricket time and again this season. Well done lads, you deserve it. It is just such a shame that they do not have the facilities to move into the East Anglian Premier League next season.

Green Lane is a beautiful ground, the wicket is good and the outfield is spick and span. The club itself is well supported and well represented by its players but unfortunately the pavilion is the size of a shoebox.

If ever a cricket club in Suffolk needed a lottery grant and quickly for a new pavilion then Tattingstone must be top of the list.

I have waxed lyrical this season about the importance of an East Suffolk club playing in the EAPL to Suffolk cricket. Tattingstone has the makings of an important Suffolk cricket club and I only hope they can continue their high standards for years to come. They can be a force in not only Suffolk cricket but in East Anglia.