Club History

Cricket teams have been in action in Suffolk from at least 1743, although the sport is known to have existed in a primitive form elsewhere in the country as early as 1550.  However, the first known record of the playing of the game by Sudburians has been confirmed as 1787 - a year of some importance as it was also the date of the founding of the Marylebone Cricket Club.

Thousands of words have been written about the playing of cricket in Sudbury since 1787, most recently by the club's historian Alan Cocksedge, and Alan's publications in 1987 - Cricketers of Sudbury and 2012 - Tales from the Dew Drop Inn, provide the majority of the information that is summarised in chronological order below.

Copies of 'Tales from the Dew Drop Inn' are available from the Club, price £10.00
 

1787      May 10th - the Sudbury Cricket Society began their regular weekly exercise on Bulmer Tye for the season.
              First reference to a Match between Sudbury and Lexden played on the green at Bulmer Tye.  After two innings each
              the match ended 'with a perfect equality of notches on each side' (104 runs).
              Sept 5th - the return match at Lexden Heath saw Lexden win by 15 runs.

1788      July 14th - at Nyland, Mr Humphrey (Sudbury) lost a single wicket cricket match against Mr Ratforn (Nyland).
              Aug 13th - Sudbury beat Stoke by Clare.

1792      Aug 13th - Sudbury and Bulmer beat the Clare and Stoke Club by 2 runs, the match played on Sudbury Common.

1793      Sept 17th - the gentlemen of Sudbury beat those from Brandiston in a match played 'for a considerable sum'.

1836      The Town's Gas Works was opened on Nonesuch Meadow to the eastern side of Quay Lane and there was sufficient
              room for cricket to be played on the field that backed onto the yard of the Angel Inn.

1865      Monday July 1st was the most notorious day in the club's history when a match between Sudbury and Tendring Park
              on the Mill Common was interrupted by rebellious town freemen complaining (illegally) the match had no right to
              take place on their grazing lands.  The match was switched to a field at Brundon Hall and the freemen
              subsequently condemned by borough councillors as being a disgrace to the town and guilty of unseemly and
              unjustified behaviour.

 
Earliest known Sudbury CC Photo from 1880s   Pavilion soon after the opening in 1891
 

1891      First season at the Friars Street Ground, and on March 4th the AGM agreed to proceed with the construction of a
              pavilion under the proviso that the cost was not more than £100.  Arrangements were also agreed with Sudbury
              Grammar School for the use of the ground for matches and practice sessions.  The fixture list included 18 home
              matches commencing on Whit Monday and Tuesday (May 18th and 19th) against Bury & West Suffolk, although the
              weather was the victor on the Monday with no play taking place.  Play on the Tuesday resulted in a draw.

1895      Wallis was appointed the club's first Professional Player

1897      The MCC made their first visit to Friars Street, and returned again in 1899

1902      The AGM voted to affiliate to the Suffolk Cricket Association and about 30 games were played during the season.

1904      With the need to keep the ground in good condition for cricket, football, cycling and activities of the Grammar
              School the club decided to dispense with the services of a Professional and hired a Groundsman.  The club
              held its first Cricket Week during this year.

1918      At the end of the First World War a group of local businessmen formed the Sudbury (Suffolk) Sports Ground Ltd
              company to buy the land for £1,000 in order to protect it for sporting purposes.  That company still exists and
              rents the ground to the Friars Street Sports Club Association (FSSCA) of which the club is a partner.

1919      Local farmers were to the fore in reviving the club after the First World War, and a second team was soon formed.

1920s    The club was facing decline during the mid 1920s.  The second team collapsed and the pitch was in very poor
              condition.  The club fortunately found a saviour in the form of Harry Gardiner who took over the captaincy in 1929

1934     The 'A' team that had been formed a few years earlier now doubled as a second team on Saturdays.  Also in 1934
             an all day match against the local farmers was instigated for Whit Monday and this strong link with the agricultural
             community continued until 1956

1953     The Football Club moved to the Priory Meadow enabling the Hockey Club to be re-started using a pitch across the
             bottom  of the field.  A consortium of cricket, hockey and tennis clubs took out a 21 year lease on the ground and
             no longer did the owners have to reduce their losses by letting the ground out to other activities which had included
             the annual town fair.

 
Ground c1936 during the football season, with Gas Works   Ground 1976 before the Square was turned round
 

1970s   League Cricket started to be developed within Suffolk, and Sudbury was a founder member of the Suffolk Cricket
             League and for a few seasons participated simultaneously in the Two Counties Championship.  Twice in the mid 70s
             the club came close to winning the Suffolk League.  Also at this time, the square was turned to run east-west rather
             than north-south in order to create more wickets

1980     Timur Mohammed (West Indies) was recruited as the club's first Professional since 1903, and the synthetic wicket
             was installed in the middle of the square.  This new wicket enabled the number of matches played at Friars Street
             to be increased, and a Youth Team was formed.

1982     The club visited Hercules Cricket Club (Utrecht, Holland) for the Dutch club's centenary celebrations.  The club
             adopted a more businesslike approach to organisation, with the previous three committee meetings a year
             being replaced by monthly meetings

1985     Second team games were introduced on a Sunday, and a Saturday Third team started to emerge.

1986     On June 11th, a £40,000 extension to the pavilion, which included a new Bar area, was officially opened.  The
             Saturday First and Second teams moved from the Suffolk League to the Two Counties Championship, following the
             path of the majority of the county's better sides.  The First team started in Division 2, and they took the title at the
             first attempt, winning all 17 games played.

1987     The Club's Bicentanary season, with the First team now in Division 1 of the Two Counties Championship.  The year
             also saw the club launch itself into one of the most hectic 12 months of its history with Essex sending a side to
             Friars Street, and a Summer Ball for 240 guests was held at the ground.  The striking blazers in the club's 
             traditional colours of maroon, gold and bottle green made their first appearance, and captains covering the past
             40 years witnessed the unveiling of a Past Captain's Board in the pavilion.  A new club flag was provided by Long
             Melford insurance company C J N Row (now Robins Row) and featured a Talbot hunting dog - the centre piece
             of the town's coat of arms.  The dog now features heavily in the club's promotion, with the club often referred to
             as the 'Talbots'. 

1990     The First team captained by Chris Grove were crowned Champions of Division One of the Two Counties, closely
             followed by the Second and Third teams also winning their respective leagues.  A fourth Saturday team known as
             'The Friars' had begun playing Friendly matches, using the Lucas (now Dephi) factory sports ground as did the Third
             team for their home matches.  During the winter a second sum of £40,000 was spent on new changing rooms.

1991     The Centenary of the opening of the Friars Street Ground, marked by a match against the England Women's Cricket
             Association.  Unfortunately the match was washed out just after the start of the Women's innings, with Sudbury
             having made 200 for 1 declared.

1998     James Smith returned figures of 10 for 84 in an unchanged 18 over spell against Clacton (away) in a Second team
             league match.  The Youth Section was flourishing and many young 'Talbots' were regularly displaying their talents in
             the club's Senior sides.

2002     A further expansion to the pavilion providing a new scorebox plus remote controlled scoreboard, facilities for the
             disabled, and extra storage was completed at a cost of £50,000

2004     Captain Louis Brooks guided the First team to the Two Counties Division One title and the opportunity to join the
             East Anglian Premier League, but unforunately the side lost to Norfolk side Great Witchingham in a play-off match.
             The Ladies made their first appearance and were rewarded with the League Title in their inaugural season.  The club
             inherited a legacy of £40,000 from the late Miles Radcliffe, a former First team umpire who had retired to the area.

2005     The Lord's Taverners visited Friars Street, raising £8,000 for Charity, and a further £4,000 for the Club.  Over 500
             spectators were entertained by showbiz figures Chris Tarrant and Lorraine Chase, plus players including Mike
             Gatting, Andy Flower, Alastair Cook and Pakistan Test player Younis Ahmed. The club was successful in achieving
             the coveted Club Mark status based on the efficiency of its Youth policy, which reqularly coached 70 or more
             youngsters.  The award qualified the club for preferential treatment in the issuing of grants for new facilities.

2006     Playing for the Sunday 1st XI away against Haverhill in the Suffolk League Division II, Will Shropshire scores 200
             before retiring

2007     The First team were League Champions again under the leadership of Steve Witham, but unfortunately lost
             the East Anglian Premier League play-off match to another Norfolk side, Fakenham.  The Third team join the
             Two Counties League in Division 9.

2008     The Lord's Taverners returned to Friars Street for another successful day watched by an estimated crowd of 800

2010     The new three-bay Outdoor Nets costing £45,000 were opened making Sudbury one of the best equipped clubs in
             the region.  Captain Pete Siegert guided the First team to their third League Championship in seven years, and with
             no other feeder League winners wishing to play-off for promotion to the East Anglian Premier League, the club duly
             attained their highest status since the introduction of League cricket.  Second team captain Steve Witham took just
             35 balls to reach his century against Clacton II at Friars Street - the event received national press and local television
             coverage and at the time was considered to be an unofficial world record in any format of cricket.  The Ladies
             moved leagues and joined the Beaumont Seymour Ladies League, playing their matches on Friday nights.  Not only 
             did this prove a popular attraction, but the Ladies reached the League Finals Day played at the Essex county ground 
             at Chelmsford. Not to be outdone, the Sunday First team won the Hunts County Bats Division One title, having
             started at the bottom in Division Five just six years earlier.

 
2010 Two Counties Division One Champions   2010 Ladies - Finals Day at Chelmsford
 

2012    The 225th Anniversary of the Club.  The Second team just fail to gain promotion to Division Two of the Two Counties
            by finshing third - their highest ever league position, but the Third team gain promotion by finishing runners-up in
            Division Seven.

2013    After many years of success the First team suffer their first set back by finishing bottom of the East Anglian Premier
            League, and thus return to the Two Counties Championship. The Second team again finish a frustrating third, but
            captain Matthew Pears scores a total of 1006 runs for the side in their league matches. During the season, both the
            senior Suffolk Minor County's side and their Development side featured several players from the club, many of whom
            had made their way in the game through the ranks of the club's Youth Section.

2014    A fifth place finish for the First Team ended any ambitions of a prompt return to the East Anglian Premier League,
            but the Second Team finally achieved promotion up to Division Two of the Two Counties Championship under the
            captaincy of Matthew Wooderson.  Once the final ball of the season had been bowled work began on replacing
            the synthetic wicket in the middle of the square with a new grass wicket.  The synthetic wicket had been installed
            in 1980 but had not been playable for many seasons.

2015   Following a two year absence the First Team returned to the East Anglian Premier League under the captaincy of
           Darren Batch.  Having won the Two Counties Division One Championship by a margin of 43 points, the team
           comfortably beat Godmanchester Town (Cambs & Hunts Premier League Champions) in the Play-Off final.
           Club Coach Tom Huggins scored a total of 1533 league runs during the season for the First Team - an all time
           Two Counties record - and became the second Talbot of recent times to pass the 200 mark in a league game
           (203 against Mistley in the final match of the season).  The First Team's success unfortunately could not be repeated
           by the rest of the club - Saturday 2nd and 3rd XI's were both relegated, and the club had to withdraw the Sunday 2nd
           team from the league due to lack of players - a growing problem for most clubs in the country.  Sudbury continued
           to supply the Suffolk Minor Counties team with many of its players including 5 in one match.  Off the field, Chairman
           Roger Troughton stood down after 13 years of invaluable service to the club and was succeeded by Louis Brooks who
           was Club Captain 2002 - 2005.

 
1st XI League Champions - Billy Moulton-Day, Jonny Gallagher, Akeil Hosein, James Poulson, James O'Brien,
Ben Reece, Kenny Moulton-Day, Nathan Poole, Darren Batch (Capt), Adam Mansfield, Tom Huggins

2016   The First Team's return to the East Anglian Premier League resulted in a creditable 7th place finish but after sitting
           in third place at the end of July, Darren Batch's team were probably a little disappointed at the final position.  The
           away match against eventual champions Swardeston will remain in the players' minds for a long time, and recovering
           from that last ball defeat proved difficult.  The Second Team spent most of the season in the promotion places in
           Div 3 of the Two Counties but just failed at the final hurdle, ending up 3rd, whilst the Third Team playing their
           home matches at Lavenham secured a mid-table finish.  The Sunday League Team escaped relegation but due to
           the difficulties of fielding a suitably strong side on a regular basis the club decided to withdraw totally from Sunday
           League cricket in 2017 - a decision that was also taken by several other leading clubs in the area.  The Sunday
           Friendly Team lead by Andy Holness proved a great success and the formula of fielding a side of a few older heads
           backed up by young and eager juniors resulted in many fine performances and senior club debuts for the youngsters.
           New sightscreens were purchased for the ground and the Fund Raising Committee successfully re-introduced the
           Six-a-Side Competition on the Sunday at the start of
Cricket Week.


2017   Without doubt, season 2017 was the finest in the club's 230 year history as the 1st XI won the East Anglian Premier
           League for the first time, the 2nd XI gained promotion from Two Counties Division 3, and the Suffolk Cup (T20) also
           found it's way onto the club's trophy shelf for the first time.  When Tom Huggins joined the club as Club Coach in
           2015 he placed a sign in the home changing room that read 'To win the EAPL in 2017' - three years on and what
           seemed an extremely ambitious statement became reality.  Tom took over as 1st team captain this season and led
           the team to glory but he will be the first to admit that the success belonged to the club as a whole, not just a few
           individuals.  The basis of the team remained very steady throughout the year, and regularly included eight players
           who were in the team that was relegated from the EAPL in 2013 - a fantastic team effort.  Overseas Dustin Melton
           was the league's leading wicket taker with 43 wickets, Adam Mansfield topped the league's wicket-keepers list with
           42 catches, whilst Tom was the team's leading run scorer with 833 runs.  Stuart Whitehart led the 2nd XI to runners
           -up spot in Division 3 of the Two Counties although at one time it looked as if they would finish as Champions only
           to fall away in the final weeks of the season.  The only disappointment in the league was the 3rd XI, captained by Will
           Amos, who finished in a relegation position in Division 7, but many youngsters made their senior debuts in this side
           which augers well for the future.  The experiment of only playing friendly matches on Sunday continued from the
           previous season and once again proved very popular with both the older and younger players within the club.
           After many years of trying, the Suffolk Cup (T20 format) was won by the club for the first time.  Initially captained by
           James O'Brien before he 'emigrated' to New Zealand, the team triumphed on a damp and cold finals day at Bury St
           Edmund's Victory Ground, beating Haverhill in the final.  Skipper Ben Reece held his nerve as he bowled the final
           over and his team won by just 2 runs.  The celebrations that ensued were only a 'warm-up' for the following week's
           EAPL triumph.  The Ladies team continued to improve with more younger players joining the club, and the Six-a-Side
           Tournament that was re-introduced in 2016 once again proved a great success.  The Junior Section witnessed the
           introduction of the ECB All Stars initiative which meant that on a Monday night up to 100 juniors could be seen at the
           ground learning their skills under Junior Head Coach Phil Halliday.  Finally, Adam Mansfield who came through the
           Junior Section of the club was appointed captain of the Suffolk Minor Counties side - a season to remember for so   
           many reasons.

 
Chairman, Louis Brooks, proudly holds the Suffolk Cup and EAPL Trophy

 
 

 
 

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