Northcote to make debut for Suffolk

July 2, 2021

HEAD coach Andy Northcote will make his debut for Suffolk in their final NCCA Trophy group game of the season at Sudbury CC on Sunday.

Top-order batsman Northcote and opening bowler Matt Wareing come into the side against Hertfordshire to replace Joe Gatting and Josh Cantrell, who are both unavailable.

Northcote said: “They are both huge losses and we’ve struggled to find suitable players to fill such key roles. Joe has been in fine form with the bat and stabilised our batting whilst Josh has bowled some great spells.

“To add to that is Josh’s ability in the field and Joe’s intelligence in helping skipper Jack Beaumont with his plans.

“Matt’s been in and around the squad and is just starting to hit his straps with Copdock. He’s a quality addition and I’m confident he will slip into the side with ease.”

Northcote, who was born in South Africa and played international cricket for Italy, has been in fine form for club side Woolpit this season, scoring five fifties in his last six innings.

He said: “I will slot in at No.4 which, at 38, is not ideal but on form and balance to the side, works. We searched within the county to find a performing batter who believes in and wants to contribute to the ethos and values we set within the county and the selection group ultimately decided that the short-term solution is me.

“Of course, I stepped away from that decision and am absolutely honoured to make my debut for my home county. It’s no secret that we’ve tried before but through eligibility have been unsuccessful.”

Following last Sunday’s 17-run victory over Norfolk, Suffolk know a win on Sunday in the county’s first-ever competitive match to be played at Friars Street will guarantee a quarter-final spot.

Northcote said: “It was really pleasing to beat Norfolk at Horsford, a ground on which they are known to be hard to beat. I was totally surprised they bowled first but at 29 for 4 you could argue that decision was correct; however looking closer at the wickets, we got ourselves out not the other way around.

“Following Ben Shepperson and Joe Gatting’s match-winning partnership which took time out in the middle, retained wickets for the death and Darren Batch’s explosive hitting, our 211 was just over par.

“Teams batting second at Horsford very rarely get over 200 and again, that proved the case. Our fielding is improving week on week, with this performance the best yet, and the bowlers are starting to hit their straps too. That’s two hard-fought wins in a row and leaves us feeling positive moving into the later stages of the competition.”

Looking ahead to Sunday’s match Northcote said: “A fair result against a Herts side we don’t know much about, which makes it hard to prepare, will see us qualify for the quarter-finals again. Let’s hope the sun shines and the boys do the business on the park.”

The match is being sponsored by the Walters Family in memory of cricket-loving mum Jean, who passed away in May of this year.

Son Colin, who has been a member of Sudbury CC for 30 years and a stalwart of Suffolk Seniors cricket, was named after her own favourite cricketer, Colin Cowdrey.

Jean and husband Clive, who was also an avid cricket fan until he passed away in 2019, lived in Hemel Hempstead in Hertfordshire from the mid-1940s.

Colin said: “She would have loved to have been here to see this historic event and we are delighted to sponsor the game in her memory.”

Suffolk: Ben Claydon, Jack Beaumont (capt), Josh Rymell, Andy Northcote, Ben Parker, Ben Shepperson, Darren Batch, Darren Ironside, Tom Rash, Adam Mansfield (wkt), Matt Wareing.

 Words and Photograph: Nick Garnham


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