Suffolk's Unicorns Championship Eastern Division title hopes boosted by return of Jaik Mickleburgh for final game
Suffolk’s chances of winning the Eastern Division of the Unicorns Championship will be boosted by the return of Jaik Mickleburgh for their final Unicorns Championship match of the season.
The former Essex batsman missed the hard-fought draw against Lincolnshire at Ipswich School as he was away with Brentwood School.
Mickleburgh returns to the side at the expense of Darren Ironside for the match against Cambridgeshire at Saffron Walden, starting on Sunday.
It is no coincidence that Suffolk have won all three of the three-day fixtures that Mickleburgh has played in this season, with the opening batsman registering two centuries in just four innings.
His presence at the top of the order was sorely missed in the loss to Staffordshire in Suffolk’s opening fixture and also the draw with Lincolnshire.
That result leaves Lincolnshire, who travel to Carlisle to face Cumberland, on 89 points, six points ahead of Suffolk (83pts) with Staffordshire (81pts), who visit Northumberland, two points behind in third place.
Cambridgeshire (79pts) are another two points adrift in fourth and even fifth-placed Buckinghamshire (77pts), who host Hertfordshire, have an outside shout of claiming the title if results go their way.
Suffolk head coach Andy Northcote said: “Lincs proved to be a very good Minor Counties side and once on top they gave us nothing. Although a collective effort from the squad to secure the draw, brilliance from Michael Comber and support from Tom Rash (a partnership of 40 plus overs) allowed us to stay in the hunt to win this competition.
“Looking back, I would have bitten your hand off if it was offered to me (still being in the hunt with one to go after that trip to Staffordshire) but in reality, that was always going to be tough highlighted by player availability.
“It’s going to be a mammoth task against Cambridgeshire, who have selected two ex-professional spinners and are a good, balanced side, so an interesting three days lies ahead.
“However we can only control what’s there to control so I’m hoping the boys arrive like they have all season, ready to work hard with our common goal in mind and we will be alright.
“We are slowly building a sustainable group of players that can be competitive across all three formats.”
Suffolk squad: Jaik Mickleburgh, Adam Mansfield, Kyran Young, Martyn Cull, Jed Cawkwell, Ben Shepperson, Jack Beaumont, Tom Rash, Mike Comber, Josh Cantrell, Ollie Bocking. 12th man: Darren Ironside.