Top-of-the-table Suffolk name unchanged squad for Unicorns Championship match against Lincolnshire
Suffolk coach Andy Northcote has the luxury of naming an unchanged squad for the Unicorns Championship match against Lincolnshire, starting on Sunday, writes Nick Garnham.
Northcote, not surprisingly, has named the same side that beat Buckinghamshire by 246 runs to go top of the Eastern Division table for the fixture versus the reigning champions at Cleethorpes.
Opening batsman Alex Oxley, who dropped out the night before the three-day fixture at High Wycombe through illness, is again included, but his availability will depend on whether he is required by Warwickshire 2nd XI.
Oxley is due to play for a Young Lions XI in two 50-over warm-up matches on Thursday and Friday against Bangladesh and India ahead of a Tri-Series involving the full England U19 side and the same two opponents next week.
Northcote paid tribute to his side’s display again Bucks, which saw Suffolk five wickets down in their second innings and a lead of just 101 recover to set their hosts 361 to win, before bowling them out for just 114.
He reflected: “Looking back on that performance, the overriding feeling is that the boys worked their socks off across the entire three days and that’s the only way you win these games.
“Finding ourselves in huge trouble at 57 for 5 on day two to then set 361 was a fantastic effort. Of course watching Tom Rash score his first hundred, in his 43rd game, was something special whilst James Poulson, who was not going to start, played a vital role (scoring 51 and 28 and taking 6 for 60 and 1 for 13) with both bat and bowl.
“Often, players won’t agree to 12th man duties and so when you see a player come in at the last minute and perform, its sends a message to cricketers in our county that you just never know when you’ll get a chance. The key is to work hard, put yourself in a position to perform and the rest takes care of itself.
“Josh Cantrell, who made 68 in our second innings, was fantastic and let’s hope that gives him the belief that he has what it takes to perform at this level. He’s worked incredibly hard the past six weeks to iron out a few minor flaws in his game and he’s started to perform well for both Bury and Suffolk, so long may that continue. I do see him as a very big player for us in the future and the fact that he’s already a regular is great.”
Northcote is all too aware of the threat Lincolnshire, who lost last time out to Staffordshire by 260 runs, will pose.
He said: “Lincs will know that a positive result is key having just lost to Staffordshire. But, then, so it is for all of us, all the time. We will be confronted with a very strong attack and a group of batters that have proven they can perform at this level and above so all we can say is bring it on really.
“Hopefully we can work out our plan of attack early in the game, get in front and stay in front. It is sure going to be a tough fixture and another cracker to be involved in. We believe, we can compete with anyone in this league and that is half the battle won.”
Suffolk squad: Jaik Micklebrugh, Alex Oxley, Darren Ironside, Kyran Young, Jack Beaumont, Ben Shepperson, Tom Rash, Mike Comber, Adam Mansfield (capt & wkt), Josh Cantrell, Ollie Bocking and James Poulson