Village cricketers aim to put problems behind them
- Credit: Colin Finch
The cricket season has finally got under way at one of the county's most picturesque venues after a troubled spell for Aldborough.
There was a big setback for cricket in the village before the new campaign even got under way, with a lack of players forcing the club to pull out of the Dipple and Conway Norfolk Alliance.
And it was beginning to look ominous when Aldborough's remaining Saturday side, who play at the lowest level of the Norfolk League, had to concede their scheduled first away match of the summer after seeing their opening fixture called off because of a sodden playing surface.
But their next two games of the season went ahead as planned – and with the Sunday side also competing at a decent level officials are hoping it's a case of onwards and upwards from now on.
The club addressed ongoing problems with raising a side last season by linking up with Great Witchingham – but while the joint side completed their campaign in Division Six of the Alliance the experiment is not being repeated this time around.
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'We had the same problems as a lot of clubs our size in the county in terms of getting enough people to play on a regular basis,' explained club chairman Richard Fisher.
'Linking up with Great Witchingham helped to a certain extent – but when we looked at the players we had available for the new season there just wasn't enough strength in depth to compete in the Norfolk Alliance. We lost a couple of players after they got jobs in other parts of the country, while our skipper Mike Cramp retired.
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'We still have a team in the Norfolk League, but it's been a tough start for them.
'We couldn't play our first home match because the grass was so wet that we couldn't get a mower on it.
'Then we had to concede our second fixture because we couldn't get a side together - which was very disappointing. It's seems to be happening more and more at our level.
'It's a shame because it was a lovely day for a game of cricket.'
The good news is that there still appears to be a future for cricket on Aldborough's beautiful village green, where the lack of a pavilion means changing facilities are provided by the local pub, the Black Boys.
There should be regular fixtures throughout the summer from now on, with the Norfolk League side now up and running, and the Mid-Norfolk League outfit - who tend to have fewer problems mustering 11 players - competing in the second tier of their structure.
Aldborough were well beaten in their first game of season, losing by nine wickets to Horsford C after being bowled out for 82.
They suffered another defeat on Saturday after being dismissed for 111, with opponents Old Catton C then getting home for the loss of two wickets – but the good news is that cricket is being played!