Suffolk and Cambridgeshire combined team to face Essex 2nd XI at Cloudfm County Ground before two separate to go head-to-head at Woolpit CC and Exning CC
Suffolk will be involved in three friendly fixtures as they try to salvage something from their COVID-19 ruined season, writes Nick Garnham.
With the newly-branded NCCA competition having been cancelled due to the risks still involved with the coronavirus pandemic, Suffolk have arranged three friendlies – all involving Cambridgeshire.
A combined Suffolk and Cambridgeshire side will face Essex 2nd XI in a behind closed doors match at the Cloudfm County Ground in Chelmsford on Monday and Tuesday next week.
Suffolk will then face Cambridgeshire in two Twenty20 matches at Woolpit CC on Sunday, August 23, and a 50-overs-a-side fixture at Exning CC on Sunday, August 30.
Suffolk head coach Andy Northcote said of the idea of fielding a combined side: “We have a very good and growing relationship with Cambridgeshire Cricket that now stems from the Young Cricketers’ section all the way to the county men’s and ladies’ sides.
“Essex will be fielding a strong 2nd XI, so the opportunity for our players to play at the County Ground, and challenge the nation’s leading county reserves is a fantastic opportunity for any NCCA player – not to mention a big individual performance could lead to further scouting and opportunities.”
The Suffolk players included in the combined squad are Jack Beaumont, Ollie Bocking, Josh Cantrell, Alex Oxley, Ben Shepperson and Matt Wareing.
So far as the two friendlies against the same opposition on successive Sundays, Northcote said: “We tried for a friendly earlier in the year which got cancelled so it was a natural choice of opposition once the restrictions were lifted.
“Games at Woolpit and Exning make it easy to travel for all and it will hopefully lead to two good days of cricket.”
Northcote added: “Nothing can salvage the impact of this lost season; I think it will take sides a fairly long time to recover and squads may be very different come next year.
“In reality, for the older players, it could mean they don’t get another game for their counties, etc. Our squad has prepared well and although we have one or two availability issues, we should see two very competitive days of cricket.”