Former Sudbury cricketer Matt Hunn’s maiden five wicket first-class haul capped off a memorable week for young Suffolk cricketers.
Hunn made national headlines by claiming five wickets for Kent against the touring Australians in their first match ahead of the impeding Ashes Series.
The 21-year-old took five for 99 in Australia’s first innings of 507 for eight declared at Canterbury.
Hunn, who played for Sudbury and Bury St Edmunds, made his Minor Counties debut for Suffolk in 2011, and made 13 appearances before signing for Kent on a dual registration at the end of the 2013 season.
His stunning display came at the end of a week that also saw a youthful Suffolk side defeat Minor Counties rivals Norfolk for the first time in 15 years in the Unicorns Championship at Copdock.
The Suffolk side contained four debutants – Hadleigh duo Dominic Manthorpe, 17, and Ben Parker, 18, Matt Wareing of Copdock & OIs who is 21, and Mildenhall’s Jon Steel, aged 23.
All four played significant roles in Suffolk’s thrilling two-wicket win and follows on from blooding youngsters such as Sudbury trio Adam Mansfield, Nathan Poole and James Poulson, as well as Jack Beaumont, Scott Harvey, Tom Robotham, Russell Stockdale and Sasha Ward in recent years.
Suffolk skipper Tom Huggins has overseen the progress of all of the above, except Steel, via the Development XI, which is effectively the county’s second XI and run as an under-21 side.
The Sudbury captain said: “It is very pleasing to see the progress being made by our young cricketers both for Suffolk and at higher levels.
“Obviously beating Norfolk for the first time in 15 years is pleasing, but even more so is the impact that the young lads had on the game.
“Ben Parker, Matt Wareing and Dominic Manthorpe, all in their championship debuts, made telling contributions and looked at ease at that level.
“That bodes well for the future of Suffolk cricket that players are coming through the age group and development system and I am sure that there are more to follow who will be knocking on the door very shortly.”
The success of the current crop follows on from Mildenhall paceman Tymal Mills, who this season joined Sussex after leaving Essex, and Josh Davey, the former Bury St Edmunds all-rounder now at Somerset who earlier this year captured 15 wickets at just 20.73 for Scotland in the World Cup in Australasia.
To their names can be added Essex bowler Reece Topley, who attended the Royal Hospital School at Holbrook but did not come through the Suffolk age group system as he was with Essex from an early age.
Topley was called up to the full England squad for the first time for last week’s T20 match against New Zealand, although he did not feature in the win at Old Trafford.
Huggins, who along with Suffolk coach Bobby Flack has been at the forefront of the development of young players in the county, was delighted to see Hunn earning plaudits for his performance against Australia.
He said: “It is also exciting to see Matt Hunn playing against Australia and getting his maiden five-wicket haul in only his fourth first-class game.
“With the Young Cricketers’ programme we have made a big push on promoting what Matt, Tymal and Josh have achieved in the game having also been products of the programme, and how we are looking to create an environment where young players have the chance to develop and improve their skills.
“It makes me proud to know that Suffolk is producing good quality young cricketers.”