Parker conquers nerves to chalk up maiden century

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After scoring his maiden century for Suffolk, Ben Parker is aiming to kick on as a Minor County cricketer next season.

The 19-year-old became one of the youngest ever batsmen to reach three figures for Suffolk when he made 105 in the second innings of the drawn match against Buckinghamshire at Tring Park.

Parker, who had never previously reached 50 in the Unicorns Championship, described it as getting a monkey off his back.

The Hadleigh batsman had failed to build on a promising debut season in 2015 until posting his century from 207 balls with 14 fours and one six.

He said: “To be honest, last year I was just enjoying playing for Suffolk, although towards the end of the season it got frustrating as I knew I needed to build on the starts I was making.”

Parker, who then spent six months from October until March playing county cricket at Warrnambool in Victoria, Australia, continued: “However, this season I have not been in great form for my club or county.

“Even at the start of the innings when I scored my century I was not striking the ball particularly well, but once I got in I was determined to make the most of it.

“As I got closer to the landmark I got more nervous, but they then brought the spinner on which helped as it got me moving my feet and I was getting in better positions which then helped me against the seamers. I just had to make sure I didn’t do anything silly.”

The Ipswich-born batsman, who lives in Felixstowe, said it was a feeling of relief, more than anything, when he cover drove the ball for four to reach his century.

Parker, who represented Suffolk at U15, U17 and Development XI level, said: “What I had achieved didn’t sink in straightaway, but once it did it was a great feeling. I was really pleased and very proud.

“It is a monkey off my back, and hopefully next year I can kick on from here and find more consistency.”

While all his Suffolk team-mates already play Premier League cricket, Parker has been turning out for Hadleigh in the Marshall Hatchick Two Counties Championship for the last two years.

He added: “I will think about my future over the winter, but I enjoy playing at Hadleigh, who are a good team and have some good people at the club.”

n Former Hadleigh player Matt Wareing took 5 for 60 – his first five-wicket haul for the county – in Buckinghamshire’s first innings.

n Hadleigh stay in the bottom two in the Marshall Hatchick Two Counties Championship Division One table, despite a magnificent victory at Worlington on Saturday. The hosts scored 314-4, Hadleigh replying with 317-5, winning with four balls to spare. Tom Piddington was unbeaten on 153.