Adam Mansfield is aiming to repay the faith shown in him by Suffolk’s selectors.
The 24-year-old Sudbury wicket-keeper made his Minor Counties debut as long ago as 2011 on the same day as his then Sudbury team-mate Matt Hunn, who is now playing for Kent.
Mansfield has had to remain patient before becoming the county’s first-choice behind the stumps, making just 12 championship appearances prior to this season – and not all of those as wicket-keeper.
Former Yorkshire wicket-keeper and batsman Simon Guy was engaged as Suffolk’s player-coach before the start of the 2012 season, and featured in 18 of the subsequent 24 championship fixtures till the end of last season.
With Andy Northcote taking over the reins as Suffolk coach during the winter, Mansfield now has the opportunity to permanently claim the gloves for the foreseeable future.
Mansfield said: “I knew it was going to be difficult to get into the side as wicket-keeper with Si around as he is a former first-class player.
“I knew that if I was picked to play that it would be as a batsman, although there was one season when Simon and (team manager) Bobby Flack thought it would be good for me to keep wicket.
“It was really good for me to have Si there helping me out. He was a good coach and he was always willing to offer me advice.”
Mansfield, who has been working at Ipswich School since last September as a groundsman and sports coach, is mindful that although he is now the man in possession, he cannot afford to be complacent.
He said: “There are a lot of good wicket-keepers in Suffolk, so I have to keep working hard on my keeping and score some runs.
“It is nice that (skipper) Tom Huggins and Andy Northcote have shown faith in me this season and it is up to me to repay that.”
Mansfield, who was a member of the Sudbury side that won promotion back to the East Anglian Premier League last season, has scored two half-centuries in 21 championship innings for Suffolk.
It is a record that the Bury St Edmunds-born cricketer is keen to improve on, although he admitted runs have been hard to come by so far this season.
“I have struggled a bit this season. I am trying to practice as much as possible around working to get back into form, but it can be hard when you are working full-time,” he said.
Mansfield, who will miss the match against Cambridgeshire at Copdock starting on Sunday due to a wedding, added: “I think it is brilliant for the county that they are playing Suffolk players and they are working hard to get the support of clubs in the county.
Sunday’s Minor Counties East T20 Tournament involving Suffolk was washed out.