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Bowled over by a cricket dream come true

PUBLISHED: 01:16 16 July 2012 | UPDATED: 21:37 20 February 2013

Bowled over by a cricket dream come true

Bowled over by a cricket dream come true

From open field to top class cricket pitch about to be graced by some of England's finest-ever players. Nick Garnham discovers how Clay Hall Farm came <br/><br/>to host the PCA England Masters

From open field to top class cricket pitch about to be graced by some of Englands finest-ever players. Nick Garnham discovers how Clay Hall Farm came to host the PCA England Masters

It is just eight years ago that Graham Denny stood on the edge of two fields where a new cricket ground was to be created.

Those same fields at Clay Hall Farm, Copdock, just outside Ipswich, will later this summer play host to a team of former England cricketers.

It is the latest chapter in the remarkable rise of Ipswich Cricket Club, formed out of the merger of Browns and Tattingstone Cricket Clubs.

Such has been the progress made by the club since the first game was played at the new ground in 2005 that even chairman Graham Denny admits it has taken him by surprise.

"We have come a long way long way in a short space of time. Browns and Tattingstone were two normal clubs, and we had a conversation recently during which we wondered where both clubs would be now without the merger."

The new club has gone from strength-to-strength, and hosting the PCA England Masters is the latest feather in the cap for the club, which fields five teams in the Marshall Hatchick Two Counties Championship and two in the PiriPiri North Essex Cricket League. The club also boasts a successful ladies team and a thriving junior section.

Denny said: "Teams visiting the club for the first time cant quite believe the amount of work that has gone into getting it to where it is now in such a short space of time.

"We now have two pitches of such high quality that for the last two years umpires in the Two Counties Championship have voted it the best ground in Suffolk."

Denny paid tribute to those who have been responsible for the ever-changing landscape at Clay Hall.

"Without the volunteers and club members we could not have done anything like we have done. We are now well-established, and what is now taking place is upgrading and general improvements to makeshift facilities.

"Apart from CricketForce, hosting the PCA England Masters is the biggest project we have taken on. We have got a team, headed up by Rick Jones, who are working really hard to bring it all together.

"We are always up for a challenge, and hosting this match will be the icing on the cake. All we need is a nice day!"


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