Stowmarket pay for poor organisation
CRICKET: STOWMARKET'S nosedive continues and a glance at this week's Division Five Hargreaves Two Counties championship table sees them bottom of the Third Division with just one victory.
STOWMARKET'S nosedive continues and a glance at this week's Division Five Hargreaves Two Counties championship table sees them bottom of the Third Division with just one victory.
Seven years ago they were the top Suffolk club in the First Division behind champions Bury St Edmunds but since then it has all gone wrong despite having excellent facilities – and two squares – at their Chilton Way ground.
So why the fall from grace?
Mick Crane is vice chairman and takes charge of youth coaching at Stowmarket. He said today: "The problem goes back around six years.
"We suffered from bad organisation and some bad captaincy. Players were fed up with how matches were being handled on the field.
"They were being messed about and the best was not being obtained from the team. And off the field it was sometimes chaotic and I can remember being sent to play at Mistley one day when I should have been at Mildenhall.
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"The people responsible for that have gone now but we have no option than to start building from the bottom again. It might take a long while but we must try.
"It was sad to see players like Peter Whitefield, Justin Mills, Mick Peck and Adam King leave. And last winter William Spreadbury joined the exodus when he moved to Copdock. I still don't really know why."
Peck and King were regular Suffolk batsmen in the Minor Counties Championship for a while and Stowmarket was one of the best half dozen clubs in the county.
"We papered over the cracks for a while, and then a descent down the leagues started," added Mick, who has high hopes for a number of young players currently being coached at the club.
He picks out Chris Newman, Paul Blake, Lewis Mitchell and John Richardson for special mention and waits for a time when they are good enough to bolster to first team.
"Whether we return to our former status remains to be seen, but we will find our own level once we are sorted out. We are making every effort to reverse our current plight and a drop down to the Fourth Division would not be the ideal end to this season."
Michael Hunt is captain of the first team and with a relatively small squad of players the Stowmarket second XI can struggle to field a side when the first are short.
The likes of Maldon and Braintree – and Mistley this year – have dropped out of the First Division and become the better for it. But Stowmarket's downhill tumble has still to be arrested.