Warwickshire and Culford School rising star Alex Oxley back for Suffolk for Unicorns Championship test against Cambridgeshire at Ipswich School
Ben Shepperson will bat at No.4 as Jack Beaumont makes way for the returning Alex Oxley in Suffolk’s side to face Cambridgeshire in the Unicorns Championship this weekend, writes Nick Garnham.
Former Woolpit and Bury St Edmunds player Oxley – who took up a place in Warwickshire's academy at the start of the season – missed the 269-run loss to Lincolnshire at Cleethorpes, but will team up with Jaik Mickleburgh at the top of the order for the three-day fixture at Ipswich School, starting on Sunday.
Mildenhall batsman Shepperson will move up from No.5 to replace all-rounder Beaumont who, like Oxley, was educated at Culford School.
Suffolk Head Coach Andy Northcote said: “Jack Beaumont misses out unfortunately due to a number of reasons, but in essence with Alex Oxley available, having Adam Mansfield at No.7 gives us better balance to the group.
“Ben Shepperson will move to No.4, adding more responsibility on him, however we feel he has earnt the right to have the opportunity and we need, and are confident, he will grab it.
“It will hopefully help him realise what a key man he is for us and get him batting for longer periods then he sometimes gets lower down.
“Jack had a sound one-day campaign for us with the bat and occasionally the ball but has struggled to settle in to the No.4 spot in the championship.
“I think ideally we would want him in that middle order but unfortunately that area of our side is congested with all-rounders. I am sure he will feature in some of the remaining games for us this season and most certainly for years to come.”
Suffolk, who were top of the Eastern Division entering the match at Cleethorpes, have dropped to fifth – one place and three points behind Cambridgeshire.
Northcote added: “Losing to Lincs was less than ideal, however these things happen. What’s important now is realising that we still have the opportunity to compete at the top end of the competition so focus remains.
“We had a good two sessions and then bombed out on the third one on day one at Cleethorpes and simply never recovered. No matter what we did, we just could not regain momentum in that game.
“I have the same 12 going in to a third championship game which shows how much we trust and support this group. I am confident they will be ready and up for the challenge to bounce back against a good Cambs outfit at Ipswich School. Balance, calmness and plan execution are key.”
Suffolk squad: Jaik Micklebrugh, Alex Oxley, Kyran Young, Ben Shepperson, Darren Ironside, Tom Rash, Mike Comber, Adam Mansfield (capt & wkt), Josh Cantrell, Ollie Bocking, James Poulson. 12th man: Jack Beaumont.