Bishop’s role evolves ahead of Minor Counties opener

SUFFOLK SKIPPER: Justin Bishop feels happy to continue opening the batting for his county
SUFFOLK SKIPPER: Justin Bishop feels happy to continue opening the batting for his county

Skipper Justin Bishop accepts that he now has a different role to play in Suffolk’s Minor Counties side to the one when he first started.

When Bury St Edmunds all-rounder Bishop first played for Suffolk in 2005, he regularly opened the bowling and batted in the middle order.

Last season he regularly opened the batting and looks set to continue in that role in three-day championship cricket this season, starting against Bedfordshire on Sunday.

And he is less likely to take the new ball — unless conditions favour swing bowling.

Bishop said: “I will probably open the batting again in the three-day games.

“I used to open now and then for Bury St Edmunds because at times no regular opener was available to do it on the day and then last season I opened for both Bury and Suffolk and really enjoyed it.

“Tom Huggins (his opening partner for both club and county) takes the pressure off the other batsman whoever he is opening the innings with.

“I have found that not many times have I had to push the scoring rate along because he usually scores freely at the other end.

“My role in the team as a bowler has also changed over the last 10 years since I made my debut.

“I used to be an opening bowler who batted at seven, eight or nine.

“I used to bowl quicker, but now I am 32 I can’t consistently bowl as fast and I now use myself in more of a containing role.

“There will be times when I take the new ball for Suffolk such as when the ball is swinging, but I am not going to blast batsmen out as I did when I first started playing.”

Bishop will lead Suffolk in their first Minor Counties Championship match of the season, against Bedfordshire at Wardown Park in Luton.

Suffolk have named a 13-man squad for the match that includes former Bury player and ex-Culford School pupil Josh Davey, who has a summer contract with Somerset.

Bury players Bishop, Huggins, Sasha Ward, Michael Comber, Russell Stockdale and Adam Mansfield have all been named in the squad, along with ex-Bury player Tom Rash and former King Edward VI pupil James Poulson.

Suffolk: Bishop, Huggins, Cull, Rash, Guy, Poulson, Ward, Comber, Stockdale, Davey, Ellis-Grewal, Foster, Mansfield.