England bowler Tymal Mills ruled out of Suffolk's encounters against Norfolk through injury
Tymal Mills and Ollie Bocking will both be missing as Suffolk start their competitive season with matches away to Norfolk across two different formats this weekend, writes Nick Garnham.
Suffolk face Norfolk in the first round of the Unicorns KO Trophy on Sunday, and then return to Horsford on Monday for their opening T20 double-header.
England international Mills played for Suffolk in last season’s T20 competition, but is currently injured, while Bocking misses out both days due to a family engagement.
Former Bury St Edmunds and Woolpit player Alex Oxley is unavailable for Sunday’s match as he is required by Warwickshire’s Academy, but replaces Jack Beaumont in the starting XI selected for Monday’s matches.
Head coach Andy Northcote is mindful of Suffolk, who enjoyed a successful summer last season including reaching the semi-final of the Unicorns KO Trophy, looking too far ahead.
He said: “Last season is a long way in the past and the focus is firmly on what’s in front.
“Of course we are going out with every intention of winning the competition, but that starts with winning all the key passages of this game on Sunday and then the game itself. We can then reassess after that.
“Minor Counites Cricket is so variable at times with selection and availability, that to think too far ahead will be an error.”
Suffolk lost to Norfolk in both T20 matches at Woolpit last season, and Northcote is well aware of the importance of a good start if Suffolk are to stand a chance of qualifying from their group this time.
He said: “Again, last year is a long way away and we are a better side than that performance, irrespective of what happens this weekend. It’s been wonderful to see these boys develop over the last 12 months and, following a good winter, we can only hope they run out well.
“In this competition a good start is crucial as you need to win six out of your eight games. Norfolk away is always tough, but we are confident we will arrive with our strongest available squad and one that will give them a good run.
“The rest is about how the boys perform on the day and that’s the joy, or sometimes not, of the game.”
Suffolk squad: Jaik Mickleburgh, Jake Foley, Alex Oxley, Darren Batch, Ben Shepperson, Michael Comber, Tom Rash, Ben Reece, Jack Beaumont, Adam Mansfield (wkt & capt), Josh Cantrell, James Poulson, Matt Hunn.