Suffolk County Cricket Club ready to step up 2019 season preparations with friendly against Essex second XI
Head coach Andy Northcote says it will be crucial his Suffolk side hit the ground running this season ahead of their first friendly fixture, writes Nick Garnham.
Suffolk start their competitive campaign with back-to-back matches away to Norfolk on May 5 and 6 in the Unicorns KO Trophy and Unicorns T20 competition respectively.
They have two warm-up fixtures before then, opening with a 50-over match against Essex 2nd XI at Frinton-on-Sea CC on Sunday (12pm).
Northcote said: “We have just completed the busiest winter training block in my tenure and I am delighted with the shape the players are in after 13 sessions indoors and one outdoors.
“We tried touching on every aspect imaginable so with a bit of luck, we will respond well in games this summer. Hitting the ground running will be crucial with a tough away trip to Norfolk in both the T20 and KO Trophy competition.”
Sunday’s match at Ashlyns Road will see the return to the Suffolk side of former Sudbury and Bury St Edmunds opening bowler Matt Hunn, who left Kent at the end of last season after five years with the first-class county.
Northcote said of the 25-year-old: “Matt is a seasoned professional and has been fantastic this winter working tirelessly each week on his game and supporting others.
“On top of leading our attack, he will bring us much-needed control at the top and close of the innings in all formats this season.
“Pair him with Mike Comber, Ollie Bocking, Tom Rash and, not to forget, Tymal Mills (Suffolk hope the England T20 international will be available to play for them again this season in that format) and we find ourselves with a seam attack that should place any Minor Counties side under sustained pressure.”
As well as skipper Adam Mansfield, the Suffolk side includes his Sudbury team-mates Darren Batch and James Poulson, Mildenhall duo Tom Rash and Ben Shepperson and Josh Cantrell of Bury St Edmunds.
Cantrell made his first-class debut last month for Cambridge MCCU in the defeat to Essex, scoring 19 and 17 in his two innings and dismissing Ravi Bopara in Essex’s second knock.
He then featured in the draw against Nottinghamshire, scoring 10 and taking the wicket of Samit Patel, another ex-England player.
Following on from this weekend Suffolk will host Cambridge MCCU at Sudbury CC on Sunday, April 21.
Suffolk squad: J Foley, A Oxley, K Young, D Batch, M Comber, B Shepperson, T Rash, A Mansfield (capt), J Poulson, J Cantrell, M Hunn, O Bocking.