The MCC may be the world’s most active cricket club playing over 450 matches against schools, universities and clubs each year, but that doesn’t detract from the value or prestige of playing against such distinguished opposition.
This week the MCC returned for their annual Suffolk Schools’ Week playing against West Suffolk Schools, Woodbridge, Framlingham, Culford and St. Joseph’s with a view to developing young cricketers and spreading the message of the Spirit of Cricket. The MCC even invite any youngsters scoring centuries or taking five wickets against them to be the Club’s guest at a Lord’s test match; as if any incentive was really required!
In 2007 Framlingham College batsman Rob Newton (now playing for Northamptonshire CCC) famously became the first ever schoolboy to register a double century against the old Club. He went on to captain an MCC School’s side on tour to India that year before bringing the curtain down on his illustrious school career with an unbeaten 165 against them in 2008. Other outstanding individual performances over the years are too numerous to mention and indeed the focus is more on producing closely fought contests than championing the individual as Wednesday’s match against Framlingham College demonstrated.
In a picture postcard setting under bright blue skies, the MCC declared on 250-4 built around an impressive 137 from Sam Platear. Any thoughts of allowing the sumptuous food to digest whilst taking in the breathtaking Framlingham scenery were quickly dispelled by the schools’ positive reply. Kristian Williman led the way with 81 as partners came and went at the other end until six runs were required from the last two balls. Tension mounted as both sides held their nerve to escape with a draw and reflect on a contest that had been exciting, educational and emotional, but above all played in a spirit befitting such a fine and civilised game.