FORMER Suffolk all-rounder Ben France has joined Minor Counties rivals Norfolk.

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The 30-year-old asked to be de-registered by Suffolk after the end of last season, allowing him to join another Minor County.

New Norfolk captain Chris Brown said: “Ben is a dangerous cricketer and our players know what he can do from playing against him in the league, where he has played for Bury St Edmunds and now for Clacton.

“When he got in touch with us about playing we knew he was simply too good a player to turn down. He’s a very good batsman, particularly in the one-day format and he bowls more than useful medium pace.

“He’s a genuine all-rounder and a destructive batsman. He fancied a change as he’s been at Suffolk for a long time and it will be a fresh challenge for him.”

He will help fill the void left by the retirement of veteran opener Carl Rogers, and Brown added: “With Carl stepping down, in a way we are replacing one experienced batsman with another, and Ben could potentially open the batting for us.”

France, who made his Suffolk debut in 2003, featured in 35 Minor Counties Championship matches for Suffolk, either side of a two-year spell at first-class county Derbyshire.

He played 11 first-class matches for Derbyshire in 2004 and 2005, hitting two half-centuries and taking one wicket, before being released and re-joining Suffolk, who he helped win the Minor Counties KO Trophy at Lord’s in 2007.

France, who is cricket professional at Framlingham College, scored 2,700 runs for Suffolk at an average of 39.13. He also claimed 59 wickets at an average of 30.79.

Norfolk have also signed seam bowler Dominic Reed, who played for Cambridgeshire last season.

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