Norfolk stars stunned by coach's exit

Two of Norfolk's top players paid their own tributes to Paul Newman as they prepared for their first match since his resignation. Skipper Paul Bradshaw described him as the “heartbeat” of the county cricket club, while off-spinner Chris Brown said being recruited by Newman for Norfolk five years ago had changed the course of his life.

By DAVID CUFFLEY

Two of Norfolk's top players paid their own tributes to Paul Newman as they prepared for their first match since his resignation.

Skipper Paul Bradshaw described him as the “heartbeat” of the county cricket club, while off-spinner Chris Brown said being recruited by Newman for Norfolk five years ago had changed the course of his life.

Ahead of tomorrow's vital MCCA Knockout Trophy Group Two match against Suffolk at Copdock (11am), the recently-married Brown described the former team manager as “my best mate and my best man”.


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He recalled how he first met Newman in 2000, the year that his man of the match performance helped Cheshire beat Norfolk in their farewell match at Lakenham, a Minor Counties one-day semi-final.

Said Brown: “I spoke to Judge at Lakenham in the break between the innings that day and again after the game. I knew Norfolk had a good set-up and he asked if I was interested in moving to Norfolk the following year.

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“He put me in touch with David Browne and that's how I joined Horsford, and coming to Norfolk in 2001 has made a huge difference to my life.

“If I hadn't come to Norfolk I wouldn't have met my wife, Emma, who I met on the day I arrived. And my cricket and my coaching career would not have developed the way they have.

“I would probably still have been playing in the Lancashire leagues somewhere.”

Brown, 31, who also plays club cricket with Newman at Horsford, said: “From a coaching point of view Judge has improved my own game immensely over the last five years - both batting and bowling - and I made my first-class debut in Sri Lanka in the winter.

“I've been coached by international coaches like David Lloyd and Dav Whatmore, but I just sort of clicked with him.”

Bradshaw, an 18-year-old in the county side when Newman arrived in Norfolk in 1996 and his successor as captain in 2003, said: “It's a sad day, certainly. I think the place and the team will be weaker without him.

“We are close mates as well as having an excellent captain and coach relationship and I am exceptionally disappointed that he has resigned.

“Nobody can knock the enormous amount of work he's done over the last 10 years. He's been the heartbeat of everything that went on in the club. He's been at the centre of everything and we're going to miss him.

“There will be nobody off the field to give his kind of different input from a coach's point of view.”

Newman submitted his resignation as team manager and executive committee member to Norfolk chairman Keith Bray on Wednesday, claiming the club's executive committee had made his job "impossible" over the past 12 months.

Bradshaw hopes to shrug off a hamstring injury in time to lead Vauxhall Mallards at Cambridge Granta today and captain Norfolk against Suffolk tomorrow.

Victory at Copdock is essential to keep alive Norfolk's hopes of retaining the one-day trophy they won last season. A win for Suffolk would leave Norfolk five points behind their old rivals with only two games to play. Staffordshire have also taken a maximum four points from their first two games.

James Spelman, omitted when last Sunday's opening Group Two match against Staffs was reduced to 20 over per side, returns to the side in place of Matthew Wilkinson.

Norfolk: Carl Amos, Carl Rogers, James Spelman, Trevor Ward, Chris Borrett, Richard Moores, Luke Newton (wicket-keeper), Chris Brown, Paul Bradshaw (capt), Ian Slegg, Martin Addison.

Suffolk: Phil Caley (capt), Ben France, Andrew Mawson, Martyn Cull, Chris Schofield, Chris Warn (wicket-keeper), Toby Hembry, Justin Bishop, Chris Swallow, Paul King, Andrew McGarry.

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