Former Sussex and Hampshire player and Swardeston EAPL title winner Joe Gatting signs as Suffolk's red-ball professional for 2021
Joe Gatting says he cannot wait to get started after signing as Suffolk’s red-ball professional for the 2021 season, writes Nick Garnham.
The 33-year-old all-rounder, who is currently playing and coaching in Australia, has agreed to play for Suffolk in their National Counties Cricket Association Eastern Division One campaign.
Gatting, who previously played first-class cricket for both Sussex and Hampshire, has been the professional for the past five years at Swardeston, the most successful side in the East Anglian Premier League.
The nephew of ex-England captain Mike Gatting was in talks with Suffolk about playing last season, before the inaugural summer of the new-look NCCA competition was cancelled due to Covid-19.
But Gatting has now signed a deal that will see him play for Suffolk in three, and possibly all four, of their three-day fixtures, depending on Swardeston’s progress in the two limited-overs Sunday national cup competitions.
Gatting, who played a couple of Minor Counties matches for Northumberland in 2019, said: “I have always wanted to play Minor Counties cricket; however, I have been unable to commit to all the games due to my role as the professional at Swardeston CC with the club being successful in the National Competitions.
“When I first arrived in Norfolk, I made it clear that I wanted to play for Norfolk and volunteer to help coach the Norfolk Youth squads. However, they only wanted players who could be available for all the games, and they had enough coaches at the time, so I wasn't required.
“It was disappointing I couldn't help out the county I play my club cricket in, but I fully accepted and respected both reasons.”
Gatting, who like his father Steve was on the books of Brighton & Hove Albion FC for three seasons, continued: “I have always had a good relationship with the Suffolk players when we have come against each other in the EAPL.
“When Mikey Comber mentioned that Suffolk would be keen to have me on their side, he got me in contact with Suffolk head coach Andy Northcote, and we could make it work. It was a shame that I couldn't start last year due to Covid, but I can't wait to start this year.
“I have always admired how the Suffolk sides play their cricket when I have come against them in the EAPL. Playing in the competition now for coming up to six years I have got to know some of the boys pretty well, and I can't wait to get stuck in.”
Gatting, who is head coach and captain of South Australia Cricket Association A Grade side Tea Tree Gully District CC just outside Adelaide, said he was ‘very excited’ about the prospect of playing for Suffolk in the NCCA competition.
“I love cricket and am always keen to play the highest level I can. I have been fortunate to play in the later stages of the National competitions, when you come across some very strong teams but I can’t wait to test myself in the longer format and hopefully help out the boys on and off the pitch.”
Gatting, who will be entering his third season as skipper of Swardeston when the EAPL gets under way this summer, is due to return to England in early April.
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