Brandon Cricket Club forced to fold

Brandon Cricket Club has been forced to fold through lack of players, writes Viv Thomas.

Club secretary Christine Clark said: “Due to lack of support, Brandon Cricket Club has been forced to close. After nearly 40 years we couldn’t get a team, we just didn’t have the numbers.”

The players have gone to other local clubs such as Hockwold, Mundford and Thetford.

Clark, whose sons and husband played for the club in the past, said that after 30 years of involvement she was “gutted” at the decision.

An emergency meeting held last Thursday decided that the club simply could not continue.

The team had been struggling for several years and it reached crisis point when the first game of the Hunts County Suffolk League season had to be called off as they could only get five players.

“We got everything ready, everything was in place,” she said sadly, reflecting on the run-up to the season. “We had to forfeit the game, we only had five players.”

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She added that the club’s equipment had gone up in the loft and that if anyone in the future wanted to try and set a team up, they could use it.

Brandon started off in Division Four of the league and reached Division One for a couple of seasons at their peak and were also League Cup winners once.

Mike Roberts, an ex-player who has tended the cricket square at Brandon Recreation Ground for many years, said: “Obviously it’s very disappointing.

“I think, to me, the biggest disappointment is that a town the size of Brandon can’t seem to get 11 players to play cricket on a regular basis.

“There used to be a Saturday and a Sunday team but it has been a struggle for about the last four or five years now to get one team out.”

He pinpointed two reasons why he thought the club had struggled – the lure of better facilities elsewhere, and that youth nets had stopped years ago as vandals would wreck them within days of them being put up.

“It’s difficult for Brandon to present the sort of facilities that other local cricket clubs can,” he said.

“People see nice little grounds at Mildenhall, Lakenheath and Mundford which can offer rather better facliities. It’s all run on rather a bit of a shoestring at Brandon. We’ve not got the appeal other clubs have been able to offer.

“Cricket seems to thrive in certain areas like villages. Brandon is quite big but has quite an old population,” he explained, adding that youngsters in the town seemed to be attracted to the thriving football club instead.

Roberts said he will look after the cricket square at Brandon Rec for a year. “I am happy for the rest of the season to continue to tend the cricket square in case cricket can be reborn. Beyond a year, money would have to be spent.”

Roberts is hoping that this article prompts someone to get in touch to use the Rec to play friendly or even league cricket in the near future.

Just give him a ring on 07786 266417 if interested.