As probably anticipated we had to take the sad decision yesterday evening to suspend the playing activities of the club.

I appreciate everybody’s honesty in the conversations you have had with James and Jason over the past month. It was imperative that we knew the truthful position with availability before the season started, rather than attempt to start the season without adequate playing resources.

Accordingly I have spoken with the Chairman of the Two Counties league this morning and withdrawn us from the competition.

We have decided to keep the club going, the square will be maintained this summer, and all of our equipment retained. However it will be for new leadership to take the club forward, not me, but I hope that one day we will be able to play league cricket again.

I would like to thank you all for your loyalty and support over the past years. Your achievements have been truly fantastic. It cannot have been easy over the past couple of years in particular, to have to play with so many of your team mates lacking both ability and mobility. The results you have delivered in such circumstances have been truly remarkable.

I wish you all the very best for the future. You are, of course, free now to play for any other club of your choosing, once any outstanding subs/match fees have been paid.

You have all been part of a very special story, which has endured for well over 40 years. From being clearly the very worst village cricket club in the area in the mid-1970s, we went on to become one of the very best. Among many highlights were the North Essex 2nd Division championship in 1994 and the 1st Division title in 2011. We have toured Monaco, Scotland and Ireland as well as many to places in England. We have featured on television 3 times, and hosted MCC during a memorable cricket week, celebrating 250 years of cricket in St. Osyth, in 2004.

We had made good progress in the Two Counties, moving up from Division 8 to Division 5. If any consolation can be drawn from this, it is that we have gone out at our highest ever level in the cricketing pyramid, rather than suffer, as have so many clubs in our position, years of relentless relegation and remorse.

Finally, thank you all so very much once again for everything you have achieved and for having contributed to such happiness and success at St. Osyth Cricket Club.

Mark Shuttleworth.