Newmarket's Ben Harris honoured to represent Suffolk after making debut in Unicorns T20 double-header against Hertfordshire on Sunday
Ben Harris said it was an honour to represent the full Suffolk side after making his debut for the county in Sunday’s Unicorns T20 double-header versus Hertfordshire, writes Nick Garnham.
The 24-year-old, who lives in Newmarket and captains Saffron Walden in the East Anglian Premier League, had previously played for Suffolk Young Cricketers.
Harris scored 20 off 16 balls as Suffolk, chasing the visitors’ 155-7, lost the opening match at Ipswich School by 35 runs.
He was dismissed for five after moving up the order from No.7 to No.4 in the second encounter as Suffolk secured an extraordinary victory.
The home team, requiring 177 to win, were on course thanks to a blistering start from Sudbury’s Adam Mansfield (65 off 37 balls) and Jack Beaumont (37 off 16 deliveries) who put on 61 for the first wicket in four overs.
With 39 needed from the final seven overs Suffolk then lost their way as wickets tumbled, including that of Sudbury debutant Ryan Vickery for six, and 17 were still required from the last over.
Sudbury’s Darren Batch was dropped at long off from the first ball which went for four and then Batch and Bury St Edmunds all-rounder Josh Cantrell took three singles, leaving ten needed off the final two balls.
Cantrell then struck a four before Ed Wharton bowled a full toss given as a no ball that went to the boundary for four, to hand Suffolk six runs and a two-wicket win.
Harris said: “It is an honour to represent the full Suffolk side. I played junior cricket for the county from under-10s through to under-13s, but to play for the full side with some really good cricketers who have been doing it for years was special, especially someone like Tymal Mills.
“You learn so much from the way the players carry themselves and can take a lot from it.”
England T20 international Mills, who started his career at Mildenhall, played in the first match, sending down his four overs for 33 runs, after previously being unavailable for Suffolk this season due to injury.
Harris, who scored a half century for Cambridgeshire in a pre-season friendly versus Essex 2nd XI but was not picked thereafter, continued: “I am great friends with (Suffolk professional) Jaik Mickleburgh and (Suffolk all-rounder) Jake Foley plays with me at Saffron Walden and they have been saying I should come and play for Suffolk.
“The difference between club cricket and this level is the intensity of the game and the competitiveness as you are playing with and against the best players in the region.
“At this level you have to be on your ‘A’ game all the time and I thoroughly enjoyed it.”
Suffolk ended their Unicorns T20 campaign with four wins and four defeats, meaning they will not qualify from Group 3 for finals day.
Meanwhile, Norfolk lost a thriller in a low-scoring contest against Bedfordshire in the opening match of the other Group 3 match on a difficult pitch at Manor Park.
Norfolk made just 77-7 in their 20 overs with 36 of them coming from former Leicestershire batsman Tom New. The innings included only three boundaries and James Kettleborough, the former Northamptonshire and Glamorgan batsman, enjoyed himself by taking three wickets with his occasional off-spin.
But Bedfordshire found runs just as hard to come by as they squeezed home by two wickets with just one ball to spare.
Runs came a little easier in the second match with Jack Keeping’s half century taking Bedfordshire to 127-3, but Norfolk got home with four balls to spare thanks to 60 from opener Sam Arthurton, who shared a second-wicket partnership of 100 with Jason Reynolds which got them most of the way to their target.