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Suffolk’s disappointing season

CHALLENGING CAMPAIGN: Skipper Tom Huggins had a disappointing season with Suffolk
CHALLENGING CAMPAIGN: Skipper Tom Huggins had a disappointing season with Suffolk

Below-par performances from senior players put too much pressure on younger players as Suffolk’s Minor Counties side finished bottom of the Eastern Division Unicorns Championship.

Skipper Tom Huggins’ delivered his honest assessment of a disappointing season at Suffolk County Cricket Association’s annual meeting.

Huggins, part of the Sudbury team which won the Two Counties title in the summer, said it had been a disappointing season results-wise for the county, with the side also failing to make it through the group stages of the KO Trophy.

However, he said: “Two of the games were the best games I have played in during my ten years with Suffolk. In the one-day match against Hertfordshire at Harpenden, Simon Guy (141 not out off 111 balls) played an innings you will not see again.

“Going into the last day of the Championship game against Norfolk we had no chance of getting a result, but ended up chasing 200 to win in 50 overs and won with eight wickets down in the last over.

“It was not the best of years, and I put a lot of it down to the below-par performances of the senior players, myself included, which put pressure on the younger players we were trying to bring into the side.”

Bobby Flack has stood down as team manager after five years at the helm, with Woolpit’s Andy Northcote taking over as coach of the Minor Counties side.

Flack was chairman of Youth and Coaching from 2004-11 before replacing former director of cricket Kevin Brooks as team manager.

Bury St Edmunds skipper Michael Coomber has been confirmed as vice-captain of the county side.

n Suffolk face a wait before knowing where they will start their 2016 Unicorns County Championship campaign.

They were due to open their Minor Counties season in the Eastern Division against Cumberland at Carlisle from June 5-7.

However, the recent floods have devastated the area and Cumberland officials say it is ‘very unlikely’ the fixture will be staged in the city.

With Cockermouth, Keswick, Kendal and Workington also severely affected, Suffolk will have to wait and see where the fixture will be held.

Bury St Edmunds, Copdock and Ipswich School will again stage Suffolk’s three home matches, while the Victory Ground and Ivry Street will once more host home games in the Unicorns KO Trophy.

The National T20 competition, which was staged for the first time last season, has been scrapped, but Suffolk will instead host an East four-team tournament involving Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Norfolk at Bury St Edmunds on June 26.

In the Unicorns Trophy Suffolk host Buckinghamsire at Ipswich School on May 8, and Hertfordshire at Bury St Edmunds on May 22.

Home Unicorns County Championship fixtures: Northumberland, June 19-21 at Bury St Edmunds; Cambridgeshire, July 3-5 at Copdock; Staffordshire, July 31-August 2 at Ipswich School.

n Suffolk Cricket Board chairman Nick Shrubsall warned that the sport was facing tough competition from a growing number of leisure activities and sports.

“We not only need to make the game fun but also provide it in the right format for those wanting to play.

“We have to meet the challenges ahead and provide a platform for everyone to enjoy the game,” he said.

Rob Jones, operations manager of Suffolk Cricket Board, said that the Under-19 T20 competition staged in the county last season was a success and is to be repeated next year.

An open aged T20 competition for adults is to be introduced in 2016, to increase the number of different formats available to players, with the flexibility of it being played at weekends or during the week.

Development officer Andrew Blanchard said that levels of participation in schools’ competitions were increasing.

He added that there had been interest from around 20 clubs in staging a Suffolk KO Cup next season.

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