Runners-up Suffolk handed tough start to their 2019 Eastern Division Unicorns Championship campaign
Coach Andy Northcote has described Suffolk’s 2019 fixture list as ‘arguably the hardest campaign we will enter’ in the Unicorns Championship.
A tough start awaits at home to Staffordshire, who were the only side to defeat Suffolk in a three-day fixture last season, although Suffolk pipped Staffs to runners-up spot in the Eastern Division.
Northcote said: “The match is a repeat of our opening fixture last year, but this time at Copdock & Old Ipswichian CC, where we have had a number of positive results over the past few seasons.
“We were heavily depleted last time we played them which will add in our favour if we can string a good XI together.
“I’m quietly confident we have a squad to compete again and hopefully we can pick up the extra win here and there to make it a successful campaign.
“It is, however, arguably the hardest campaign we will enter with away trips to Buckinghamshire, Lincolnshire and Cumberland, with home games against Staffordshire, Cambridgeshire and Northumberland.”
If Suffolk are to reach the final of the Unicorns KO Trophy they will have to do it the hard way, after being drawn at Norfolk and, should Suffolk win, being away in every subsequent round.
Northcote said: “It is swings and roundabouts, with us drawing a bye last season in the first round, before we went on a mini-charge to the semi-finals.
“Let’s hope the 2019 campaign can bring more of the same enjoyment and exciting fixtures. Home or away, with the squad we have and in particular the options we should have available to us, we will hope we can match or better last season.”
The Unicorns KO Trophy match at Manor Park, Horsford on May 5 will be followed by a repeat double-header fixture at the same venue the following day in the Unicorns T20 Competition.
Northcote added: “That’s about as brutal as it gets as come May 6 we are either well on our way to success or switching our focus to the championship early!
“Norfolk at Manor Park is always tough and this will be no different. We started slowly last year, but hopefully have learnt from that and can adapt.”
Sudbury's Adam Mansfield will again captain the side this year with Jaik Mikleburgh as their professional and former bowler Matt Hunn, who has agreed to play for Copdock & Old Ipswichian, after leaving Kent, set to be a key new addition.
Suffolk Fixtures 2019 (All matches start at 11am)
April 21 v Cambridge MCCU, at Sudbury CC
June 23-25 v Staffordshire, at Copdock & OI CC
July 7-9 v Buckinghamshire, at High Wycombe
July 21-23 v Lincolnshire, at Cleethorpes
August 4-6 v Cambridgeshire, at Ipswich School
August 18-20 v Cumberland, at Sedbergh School
September 1-3 v Northumberland, at Bury St Edmunds
September 15-18 – Championship Final
Unicorns KO Trophy:
May 5 – First round v Norfolk, at Horsford
June 2 – Second round v Cambridgeshire, away
June 30 – Quarter-Finals
August 11 – Semi-finals
August 28 – Final
Unicorns T20 Competition
May 6 v Norfolk, at Horsford
May 12 v Cambridgeshire, at Woolpit
May 26 v Bedfordshire, at Dunstable Town
June 9 v Hertfordshire, at Ipswich School
August 25 – Finals Day
More by this authorRussell Claydon