‘Huggins the best Suffolk has ever had’

HIGH PRAISE: Tom Huggins in action for Sudbury last season
HIGH PRAISE: Tom Huggins in action for Sudbury last season

Tom Huggins was described as ‘arguably Suffolk’s finest ever all-round cricketer’ at the county’s annual meeting.

Toby Pound, Secretary of Suffolk County Cricket Association, paid tribute to Huggins in his report at the county’s annual meeting, held at Martlesham.

Pound said: “Tom Huggins’ 11th and final season as a Suffolk cricketer came to a fitting conclusion at Ipswich School when he batted throughout the Suffolk first innings for an undefeated 168, his final innings for the county, at which point he was the highest scorer among all 20 counties in the three-day MCCA Championship and the leading centurion (15), not to mention the taker of 185 Championship wickets. He is, arguably, Suffolk’s finest ever all-round cricketer.”

Huggins, who has taken up a coaching role with Essex County Cricket Club, bowed out from three-day cricket in that match against Staffordshire, which was Suffolk’s penultimate game of a ‘season of steady progress,’ according to Pound.

He said: “Despite losing all four Trophy matches with a young, relatively inexperienced team, the championship started with a bang, with the defeat of champions Cumberland at Carlisle on a turning pitch.

“Against Cambridgeshire, Jed Cawkwell, in his first season, scored a fine century and shared what should have been a match-winning partnership with Tom Huggins, only for Ben Smith to steer Cambs home to a large target.

“Ben Parker, a 19-year-old from Felixstowe, made a maiden century against Bucks and 17-year-old Josh Cantrell also showed great promise.

“Matt Salisbury and Matt Wareing could prove to be a formidable opening attack, 2016 was therefore a season of steady progress.”

Pound also praised the work of Andy Northcote, who took over the role of team manager last season, and former player Andrew Squire.

“I would like to pay tribute to our new team manager, Andy Northcote, who was a pleasure to work with and was totally committed to the philosophy of giving our best young cricketers exposure at the highest level.

“And also to Andrew Squire, whose vast experience of Minor Counties and Suffolk club cricket was enormously helpful in the selection of our teams,” said Pound.

He added that the county were planning to take advantage of the excellent facilities at Copdock at the home match against Hertfordshire next season.

Suffolk are organising a gathering of former players, probably on Sunday, July 2, and a formal lunch with a guest speaker the following day. Further details will be announced in due course.

Chairman Norman Atkins told the meeting: “It is obvious from all the reports that have been given tonight there is much activity at all levels of Suffolk Cricket, and it is a tribute to the volunteers concerned that things are progressing as well as they are.”

n Pound was elected to the Minor Counties Cricket Association Management Committee the following day at Lord’s. He replaces ex-Staffordshire skipper and subsequent secretary Nick Archer, who has stepped up to become chairman. Archer takes over from John Pickup of Cheshire who had been chairman since 1995.

And former Suffolk captain Phil Caley, who is currently chairman of the MCCA Cricket Committee, was appointed as MCCA Secretary. He replaces of Geoff Evans, who died suddenly in October.

Archer and Caley will be heavily involved in discussions surrounding the new Memorandum of Understanding (financial agreement) between the ECB and MCCA to come into effect in 2018.