Martyn Cull could be playing his last Minor Counties match for Suffolk, starting on Sunday, on the pitch he helps to prepare, writes Nick Garnham.
Cull, who is head groundsman at Ipswich School, has been in sparkling form for both club and county this season.
And he will be itching to get among the runs again when Suffolk face Cumberland at Ivry Street (11am each day) in their penultimate Unicorns Championship three-day fixture of the season which sees them chasing a first title since 2005.
Suffolk are third in the Eastern Division, but only trail leaders Lincolnshire by 10 points and second-place visitors Cumberland by three.
The 34-year-old has worked at Ipswich School for seven years and has been head groundsman for the last three years, taking over from former Essex spinner Ray East.
Cull said: “I have always liked batting here, even before I started working here I enjoyed it and scored runs.
“We pretty much prepare all our pitches the same as we would for the three-day county match, so the one advantage I do have is that I get to see how it will play.
“All the pitches are pretty true with bounce and pace and generally they will turn, especially in a three-day match.
“But we do try to keep more moisture in the pitch to help stop it from breaking up.
“I know how it plays, but I don’t get to bat on it any more than anyone else as I don’t get to train on it.”
This season has been one of the best in the Copdock & Old Ipswichian opening batsman’s career.
He scored a century for Suffolk in the drawn match against Hertfordshire at Copdock, as well as hitting the 90s three times representing the county.
But his availability will be limited next season when he takes over running Ipswich School’s first XI from ex-Essex and Suffolk spinner Andrew Golding.
That may signal the end of Cull’s county career, which stated in 2006, and has seen him score eight centuries, in addition to being dismissed in the 90s eight times — more than any other among Minor Counties player.