Opener Batch is back for Suffolk

June 20, 2024

DARREN Batch will make his first appearance of the season for Suffolk in Sunday’s NCCA Trophy Group 2 showdown versus Herefordshire.

The 39-year-old opening bat has not played for Suffolk since top-scoring with 57 on his home ground at Sudbury against Northumberland in the quarter-final of last season’s competition.

Batch (pictured above) missed the subsequent four-wicket semi-final loss to Cumbria on the same ground due to a knee injury, but is recalled for the match at Colwall CC, start 11am.

He gets his opportunity as all-rounder Jack Beaumont is unavailable due to a work commitment with Framlingham College in the only change to the side that defeated Norfolk by 19 runs last Sunday.

Suffolk head coach Adam Mansfield said: “Jack will be a huge loss for us. He plays such an important role with both bat and ball, so he’s almost impossible to replace.

“Darren will come in and bat at the top. I have seen first-hand what a superb player he is and I know how keen he will be to come in and play well.

“With the average age restrictions, it’s been hard to fit him in so far this season, but he’s done well in the league and playing for Suffolk means a lot to him.

“Yes, we have lost Jack this weekend, but we have gained a fantastic batter as his replacement.”

Suffolk head to Herefordshire knowing victory will ensure qualification for the knock-out stages of this season’s competition.

They will do so with a ringing endorsement from Mansfield following last Sunday’s win in a match that swung one way and then the other, before the home team came out on top.

“The thing that impressed me the most was the players’ hunger and desire. At times it looked like Norfolk were in control, but we never gave up and kept fighting throughout.

“I thought Josh (Cantrell) captained superbly well, it’s so difficult when the ball is travelling around the park, but he kept his cool and backed his bowlers when they needed it the most.”

Suffolk’s victory owed much to Darren Ironside’s innings of 128 – his first white-ball century for the county – and a maiden five-wicket haul for Tom Harper.

Mansfield said: “Darren is in wonderful form. He earns his runs through the amount of hard work he puts in behind the scenes.

“When he’s in form, he’s one of the best players at NCCA level, in my opinion. Hopefully he can keep performing and winning games for us.

“Tom bowled really nicely. He is really starting to become a top bowler. I was so pleased to see him do well and his Dad was there watching, so what a Father’s Day present that was for him!

“With a little more focus and commitment he has the potential to have a hugely successful career for Suffolk.”

Although it is possible Suffolk can lose but still qualify on net run rate, Mansfield is not letting that cloud his or his team’s thoughts on how to approach the tie.

“We’re going to Herefordshire to win. If we do that, we’re through and that’s how we need to be looking at it.

“We don’t know an awful lot about their players or the venue. We will do our research and hopefully we can get a little insight into them,” he said.

It will be Suffolk’s first visit to Herefordshire since 1995 when they scored 301 for 8 in the quarter-finals of the Minor Counties Trophy (now NCCA Trophy) only to lose by 10 wickets!

Suffolk squad: Alex Maynard, Darren Batch, Darren Ironside, George Rhodes, Alex Oxley, Ben Parker, Josh Cantrell (capt), Jacob Marston (wkt), Tom Harper, Dan Shanks, Raj Singh. 12th man: Isaac Toombs.

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