Women crowned Team of the Year

March 25, 2023

SUFFOLK Women were crowned Team of the Year at the Suffolk Cricket Awards evening.

The double-winning Women’s team pipped the Men’s Over-60s 2nd XI and the Men’s Over-70s XI to claim the award.

The award was one of four presented at the event which was held at Venue 16 in Ipswich on Friday evening and attended by nearly 50 guests.

It was the first-ever awards evening to be staged for all the county’s adult sides.

After an opening speech from Suffolk CCC Chair Andrew Squire, who looked back on a successful 2022 and forward to 2023, Cricket Performance Lead Andy Northcote announced the awards winners.

Natalie Samuels, captain of Suffolk’s double-winning Women’s team, is pictured above being presented with the Team of the Year award by Suffolk President Tony Warrington.

Isobel Sidhu, who was named Women’s Player of the Year, was unable to attend as she is currently in Japan, so sister Poppy received the award on her behalf from Toby Pound, Secretary of Suffolk CCC.

Ben Claydon, who was the Men’s Player of the Year, was presented with his award by Andrew Squire, Chair of Suffolk CCC.

The Magnus Match Performance of the Season was won by men’s all-rounder Darren Ironside.

He is currently in Australia so team-mate Ben Parker collected the award on his behalf from Tom Rash, Suffolk’s longest-serving player and last season’s white-ball captain.

The list of those who were nominated is below.


Team of the Year


Men’s Over-60s 2nd XI

Suffolk finished third in the East group of the main competition by 0.33 of a point to go into the Vase.

In the quarter-final Suffolk beat Middlesex by 26 runs at Ipswich CC to reach the semi-finals.

Their reward was a trip to face Sussex at Buxted Park, where the home team made 248 for 6, with Suffolk finishing just 11 runs short in their bid to reach the final.


Men’s Over-70s

After finishing third in their group, the Suffolk Over-70s faced Bucks & Berks in the last eight at Copdock. The visitors scored 276 for 2, but Suffolk responded with 280 for 5 to win by five wickets.

Duckworth/Lewis calculations were required to settle the outcome of Suffolk’s semi-final away to Hertfordshire at Langleybury. After Suffolk compiled 240 for 4, the rain intervened, setting Herts a target of 189 off 30 overs, but they could only muster 121 for 7.

That meant Suffolk faced Kent, the only side to defeat them in the group stages, in the final. After Kent posted 188 for 6, Suffolk replied with 150 for 7, losing by 38 runs.


Women’s team

After winning the Vitality Women’s T20 Regional competition for the first time, Suffolk then won the East of England Championship at the first attempt to finish the season with two trophies.

After finishing second in their T20 group, Suffolk beat Cambridgeshire by seven wickets in the semi-finals.

In the final they met Essex, who they had lost to in both group games, but this time they restricted Essex to 110 for 9, before holding their nerve to secure a last-ball victory by five wickets.

After a six-wicket loss to Leicestershire in the East of England Championship and concessions from both Huntingdonshire and Lincolnshire, Suffolk defeated Northamptonshire by 118 runs and then Hertfordshire by five wickets, before a 46-run victory over Norfolk secured the title.

The team received further recognition when they won the Team of the Year award at the Active Suffolk Awards 2022.



Women’s Player of the Year


Amelie Clarke

Amelie was a member of the Suffolk sides that won both the Vitality Women’s T20 Regional competition and the East of England Championship.

She produced an outstanding performance when she took 5 for 22 to bowl out Northamptonshire in Suffolk’s 118-run victory.


Isobel Sidhu

Opening bat Isobel had a fine season for Suffolk Women.

She scored 260 runs @ 86.66 in four Championship innings, including 111 not out in the final match of the season versus Norfolk that Suffolk won to clinch the East of England title.


Lauren Smith

Australian overseas player Lauren played a key role in Suffolk Women winning the Vitality Women’s T20 Regional competition for the first time.

She top-scored with 58 not out in the semi-final victory over Cambridgeshire, before returning figures of 5 for 9, including a last-over hat-trick, and then scoring 26 in the final against Essex.

She also top-scored with 115 in the East of England Championship match against Northamptonshire.



Men’s Player of the Year


Ben Claydon

Ben had a fine season for Suffolk which culminated in him being selected for the National Counties squad that reached the final of the European Championship T10 competition in Spain in October.

Ben scored 177 Championship runs @ 44.25 and took seven wickets, including 5 for 67 in the second innings versus Staffordshire.

In the Trophy Ben scored 213 runs @ 106.50 including a sublime 123 versus Cheshire.

His 267 runs @38.14 in the T20 competition included 102 not out versus Lincolnshire, as well as taking three wickets.



Darren Ironside

Darren enjoyed his best-ever season for Suffolk since making his debut back in 2017, and it culminated in him receiving his county cap.

Darren scored 459 runs @ 76.50 in the Championship, including two centuries, and took two wickets.

He scored 45 runs in his one innings in the Trophy and in 8 T20 matches he scored 150 runs @ 30.00, and took four wickets.

He also made an undefeated 53 from 42 deliveries in the Showcase fixture versus Kent Spitfires.



George Rhodes

George joined Suffolk mid-way through the season as the county’s professional and made an immediate impression.

In his Championship fixtures George scored 308 runs, including 148 versus Bedfordshire, @ 61.60, and took nine wickets @ 31.33, with best figures of 5 for 36.

In his only Trophy appearance, George made 95 and returned figures of 10-1-32-0 in the last-ball quarter-final loss to Oxfordshire.



Magnus Match Performance of the Season


Ben Claydon

Ben became the first Suffolk men’s player to score a competitive T20 century when he made an undefeated ton against Lincolnshire at Ipswich School last season.

After Suffolk restricted Lincolnshire to 128 for 9, the opening bat thrashed 102 not out off only 47 deliveries with seven sixes and 10 fours.

Ben’s destructive innings meant Suffolk chased down their target in just 11.2 overs as they won by nine wickets.


Darren Ironside

Darren Ironside had a match to remember against Staffordshire in the three-day Championship fixture at Checkley CC.

Darren scored 146 in Suffolk’s first-innings from 231 deliveries with 19 fours and one six. Darren then took two crucial wickets in Staffordshire’s second innings that helped to turn the tide in Suffolk’s favour.

He followed that up with 81 in Suffolk’s second innings to lay the platform for a five-wicket win which kept alive Suffolk’s chances of avoiding relegation.


Lauren Smith

Australian Lauren Smith, produced a superb all-round performance for Suffolk Women in the Vitality Women’s T20 Regional final against Essex.

Lauren, who turned out for Woolpit men’s 1st XI as their overseas player, took 5 for 9 including a hat-trick in the final over.

She then 26 in Suffolk’s innings to help them secure a five-wicket win.

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