Saturday switch may kill off clubs

CRICKET: Bourne Vale chairman Graham Howell feels that the switch to Saturday league cricket is likely to kill off a number of clubs.The 57-year-old, who is now in his 43rd season, was a member of a nine-man Bourne Vale side that was dismissed for just 17 by Tuddenham in the Suffolk Premier League earlier this month.

By Elvin King

CRICKET

BOURNE Vale chairman Graham Howell feels that the switch to Saturday league cricket is likely to kill off a number of clubs.

The 57-year-old, who is now in his 43rd season, was a member of a nine-man Bourne Vale side that was dismissed for just 17 by Tuddenham in the Suffolk Premier League earlier this month.

"We fielded a full side last week against Woodbridge and had players over, so while we are confident about the future, we are certainly not going forward," said Howell.

"Four of our side are in their fifties and being part of a sports and social club we find it hard to attract new players."

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The Ipswich-based club lost to Woodbridge when chasing under 100 on Saturday after being 78 for five.

Although viewing the future with a certain amount of optimism, Howell feels that being unable to play on Sundays is a big problem.

"It means we lose players who have things planned on Saturday nights," he said. "The match might not end until 8pm so no one is going to commit themselves to a game of cricket if they are going out.

"If league matches could be switched to Sundays some weekends it would make a big difference.

"The only Sunday cricket we play is in the Federation Cup.

"In this day and age friendlies have gone out of the window. Youngsters are not interested. We had just three regulars against Tuddenham and I was one of them.

"Looking ahead, it should not happen again, but it may a be a struggle to field full strength sides some weekends."

Bourne Vale, formerly John Player, are lucky to have a number of stalwarts including talented bowler Chris Mutton, who works in the London area but still returns to Ipswich to play most weekends.

Any youngster looking for a game will be made welcome at Bourne Vale, but if they are forthcoming there is the threat that another cricket side may have to go out of business.