Go-it-alone policy paying off for leaders Sprowston
Milton LindsaySprowston CC's home-grown policy is paying rich dividends as the club blazes the trail at the top of Norfolk Alliance Division One. And club chairman John Murrell is delighted that the success, which currently sees them unbeaten and 50 points in front of their nearest pursuers, has been achieved without what is widely regarded elsewhere as a must-have accessory at that level - the overseas professional.Milton Lindsay
Sprowston CC's home-grown policy is paying rich dividends as the club blazes the trail at the top of Norfolk Alliance Division One.
And club chairman John Murrell is delighted that the success, which currently sees them unbeaten and 50 points in front of their nearest pursuers, has been achieved without what is widely regarded elsewhere as a must-have accessory at that level - the overseas professional.
Sprowston decided to go it alone around five years ago and have not looked back since.
'We have got no regrets at all,' said Murrell, 'and the fact is the club is stronger for it.
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'There are more coaches which encourages a club atmosphere. Overseas players, from my experience can get carried away with their own importance.
'Even if we do go up into the Premier Division next season we still won't have one. We have found that it just isn't cost effective.'
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The success of Sprowston's policy was underlined in Saturday's nine-wicket win over Topcroft, as nine of the 11 players in the side, including skipper Phil Glozier, had emerged through the youth ranks.
Even the old head of the side, all-rounder Geoff Roff, could rightly call himself a Sprowston youth product. The former Norfolk and Essex Seconds all-rounder was a fresh-faced talent in the team skippered by Murrell himself in the 1980s.
Sprowston finished in mid-table last year, but the improvement so far this term comes as no surprise to club insiders.
'We knew we would be up there somewhere because the division is slightly weaker this year,' commented Murrell.
'Our young players have continued to develop and we have got at least 14 players who could get in on merit so we have got strength in depth.'
With four Saturday sides, two Sunday sides, and a crop of youth teams, backed up by a an eight-strong ECB qualified team of coaches headed by Iain Murrell, the Barkers Lane conveyor belt of talent promises to keep running for many years to come.
The community club with around 100 players on its books, including around 60 juniors, is certainly providing cricket for all.
The Saturday second team, skippered by Liam Palmer, is flying high in second place in Alliance Division Four, while the club's B team captained by stalwart Ian Doy is setting the pace in Norfolk League Division Three.
The fourth Saturday league side, captained by Alex Palmer, is giving several youngsters their first taste of competitive league cricket in Norfolk League Division Five.
On Sundays Will Hampson can be found leading the first team into Carter Cup and Mid Norfolk Sunday League top flight battle, while a new team this year, skippered by groundsman Shaun Corcoran, has joined the popular Friendly Alliance. There are plans to add a �24,000 double bay net to the impressive array of club facilities next season.
t SPROWSTON FACTFILE
Chairman: John Murrell
Secretary: Steve Wigney
1st XI captain (Norfolk Alliance Division One): Phil Glozier
A XI captain (Norfolk Alliance Division Four): Liam Palmer
B XI captain (Norfolk League Division Three): Ian Doy
C XI captain (Norfolk League Division Five): Kevin Palmer
Sunday captain: Will Hampson
Sunday A XI captain: Shaun Corcoran
Head coach: Ian Murrell