Clubs boost squads ahead of first games
Cricket international Andy Northcote has made his return to Woolpit in time for their 2018 season in Division One of the Marshall Hatchick Two Counties Championship.
The 34-year-old head coach of the Suffolk Minor Counties side, who has 71 caps for Italy, is no stranger to the club having spent more than five years with them from 2009.
The South Africa-born all-rounder, who also works as head of cricket at Culford School, joined the club when he first came to the United Kingdom.
They were playing in the East Anglian Premier League (EAPL) at the time, and he only moved when that status came under threat in the 2015 season — they narrowly survived but were then relegated the following year.
Northcote said: “I grew very attached to the club, it’s been my home since I’ve been here and I have good memories.
“I coached and played for them for about five years and I have a strong connection to the club now.
“I left because I was trying to keep playing at the highest level I could, but I have decided it’s time to enjoy my cricket a little more.
“Who knows what the future holds, I’m just focusing on this next year.
“I’ve been professional for six years, and have played across a number of leagues so I hope I’ll be able to provide lots of help with my experience.
“I’ve been a player-coach at most clubs over the last 10 years so I can bring advice and knowledge.
“I would assume the aim is to make it back to the EAPL as soon as it can be achieved and if I can be a part of that, then that would be great. It would be really rewarding to help the club get back to the top level.”
Due to Northcote’s international duties alongside other commitments, he believes he will only be available for 12 of Woolpit’s 22 fixtures over the summer.
He said he is due to play for Italy in an international tournament in August, which will see him miss as many as a month’s worth of fixtures.
He will also be unable to play when Suffolk are in action.
• Worlington, meanwhile, have pulled off a transfer coup ahead of the new cricket season getting under way with the signing of Mark Nunn from Bury St Edmunds.
The all-rounder featured on 26 occasions in a variety of different formats for Gibbs Denley East Anglian Premier League side Bury in 2017, scoring a high of 80 unbeaten runs and taking 29 wickets.
However, he has now opted to drop down a division with Worlington, who open up their Marshall Hatchick Two Counties Championship Division One campaign on the road at Elmstead on Saturday, April 14.
Batsman Graham Ford, who is the brother of Worlington captain Richard, said: “Mark is a really exciting signing for the club — we are delighted.
“We have been trying to get him to join for the last couple of years so it is great to have now got him signed up.
“He is a former Minor Counties player so will add plenty of experience to our team.
“It is one of the most exciting signings the club has made locally since I joined up.”