Suffolk batsmen Mickleburgh wins Minor Counties award

LEADING LIGHT: Suffolks Jaik Mickleburgh who has won the Wilfred Rhodes Trophy for the leading Minor Counties batsman in 2017 Picture: Nick Garnham

Suffolk’s Jaik Mickleburgh said he was not even aware of the Wilfred Rhodes Trophy for the leading Minor Counties batsman until he was told he had won it.

Mickleburgh scored 815 runs at an average of 116.43 to win the award, which is made annually to the batsman with the highest average in the Minor Counties Championship.

The 27-year-old, who signed for Suffolk before the start of last season after being released by Essex nine years after making his first-class debut, enjoyed a prolific campaign.

He scored three centuries, with a highest score of 218 not out against Northumberland, and four 50s that included two scores in the nineties as Suffolk finished second in the Eastern Division.

Mickleburgh’s 815 runs were just two more than Lincolnshire’s Matt Lineker – who scored 188 of his tally in the play-off final defeat to Berkshire – but Lineker’s came at a significantly lower average of 67.75.

Staffordshire’s Kadeer Ali, brother of England all-rounder Moeen Ali, was runner-up to Mickleburgh, scoring 772 runs at an average of 70.18.

Mickleburgh becomes the fourth Suffolk batsman to win the award since its introduction in 1955, following in the footsteps of Stuart Westley (1977), Timur Mohammed (1979) and Sudbury captain and former Bury St Edmunds player Tom Huggins (2013).

Mikleburgh said: “I was not even aware there was an award, so it is obviously a great honour to win it, and I am very grateful.

“I worked hard over the course of the season, so to win an award is always nice as no-one can score your runs for you.

“The team did well this year and it was pleasing being able to put in performances consistently throughout the season and contribute to that, although it would have been nice to win the group and reach the play-off final.”

The award is due to be presented at a lunch at Lord’s on Thursday, December 7, following the Minor Counties Cricket Association AGM.

Martyn Cull, Mickleburgh’s opening partner, finished fifth highest run-scorer in the Eastern Division with 520 runs at an average of 52.00, while a third Suffolk batsman, Mildenhall's Ben Shepperson was 12th, scoring 432 runs at an average of 43.20.

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