Suffolk look to end season on a highAugust 20, 2021
SKIPPER Jack Beaumont says “it’s a chance that does not come around too often” ahead of Suffolk’s National Counties Cricket Association Championship title decider.
Suffolk lead Eastern Division One of the competition heading into their final three-day fixture of the season against Staffordshire at Copdock & Old Ipswichian CC, starting on Sunday at 11am.
Their thumping innings and 78-run success against Lincolnshire inside two days at Sleaford on Monday took Suffolk to the top of the table with one round of fixtures to play.
Suffolk sit on 54 points, with Norfolk on 50 and Staffordshire on 42. Norfolk will be firm favourites to defeat Cambridgeshire, who are battling against relegation, in the division’s other fixture, but Suffolk know a win would secure them the title.
Beaumont, who will be leading the side on his home ground for the first time, said: “Staffordshire are always strong opponents in the division.
“They are always a tough side to play against and they will indeed attempt to put in a strong performance in order to win the division.
“However, both sides are coming off an innings victory in the last round so everything is to play for in this game at Copdock.”
Suffolk have displayed great resilience to reach their final fixture in this position, after their match away to Norfolk was abandoned due to Covid concerns with Suffolk on top after the first day’s play.
Either side of thrashing Cambridgeshire by 329 runs in their opening Championship match, Suffolk also suffered the disappointment of their National Counties game against first-class county Kent being cancelled due to Covid and lost away to Cumbria by just five runs in their NCCA Trophy Quarter-Final tie.
Beaumont said: “It’s always great to go into the last game with an opportunity to win the division, it’s a chance that does not come around too often in National Counties cricket.
“To be in this position is an absolute credit to this group of Suffolk players, many of whom have given so much over the years, to continue their good form in the three-day fixtures. It would be great to end the season on a high.”
Neither Josh Rymell nor Feroze Khushi are available as since playing for Suffolk they have since forced their way into the first team at Essex, but Suffolk do make one change to the side that won at Sleaford.
Because of the age restrictions surrounding players, Suffolk have had to sacrifice Kyran Young, who joint top-scored with 84 against Lincolnshire, in order to recall Ben Claydon to the side on his home ground.
The only other change to the squad sees Copdock & Old Ipswichian teenager Tom Harper replace Sudbury’s Alex Quin as 12th man.
Suffolk, who topped 400 runs for the first time in an innings since racking up 418 for 7 versus Hertfordshire at North Mymms in August 2018, had not won away to Lincolnshire since July 2004.
Suffolk squad: Darren Ironside, Alex Oxley, Ben Claydon, Joe Gatting, Ben Parker, Ben Shepperson, Josh Cantrell, Jack Beaumont (capt), Tom Rash, Adam Mansfield (wkt), Matt Wareing. 12th man: Tom Harper.
Suffolk skipper Jack Beaumont is pictured bowling in the abandoned fixture against Norfolk at Horsford CC earlier this season. Photograph: NICK GARNHAM
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