Champs look for winning start

THE new National League indoor cricket season was beginning today with the opening round being played at the Sports Stadium, Ipswich.National League champions Medite Ipswich will be looking to get off to a winning start against a Cradley side that could be without a couple of key players.

THE new National League indoor cricket season was beginning today with the opening round being played at the Sports Stadium, Ipswich.

National League champions Medite Ipswich will be looking to get off to a winning start against a Cradley side that could be without a couple of key players.

Ipswich will be looking to put the disappointment of a first round exit from the British Open behind them as they attempt to defend the trophy they won last year.

Ipswich have a full squad to select from which includes six players that have been selected for England trials tomorrowmorning and will christen the new court that was laid earlier this week.


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Manager Brian Barnard is very upbeat about Ipswich's chances.

"Our squad is looking in good shape for the forthcoming season and experience is growing," he said.

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"The hunger to do well this year is there and after our disappointment in the British Open, we will not take anyone for granted.

"Stumps again will be our main challengers but we cannot put all our efforts into beating them if we drop points against the other sides including Cradley. We have a stronger squad than last year and I am sure we can put the performance in to win."

The B team will be playing two matches and start their season off with a challenging clash with an England Masters side that will contain players fighting for places to the Master's championship.

Barnard said: "This game will be good experience for most of the B team but is very winnable if we do not let the Masters get on top early on."

The Ipswich Warlocks Masters side also have a tough day with two matches, firstly against Wilford Wolves, who the Warlocks beat in the British Open, and then against the much-fancied Midland Rebels.

The ladies league has been reformatted with the sides split into regions.

The East will be represented by what was formally the Ipswich Vixens. They have a testing opening match against the Southern side and then face the Midlands.

East (from): Bell, Black, Elsom, Gardiner, A Lennard, T Lennard, Merrin, Norris, Westley, Young.

Match times - 12pm: Medite Ipswich v Cradley Heath, Medite Ipswich B v England Masters and South Ladies V East Ladies.

2pm: Midland Rebels v Derby Masters, Ipswich Warlocks v Wilford Wolves.

4pm: Midlands Ladies v East Ladies, Stumps of Villa Park v Derby Men, Stumps Masters v Wilford Wolves.

6pm: Medite Ipswich B v Derby B, Midland Rebels v Ipswich Warlocks.

A record six Medite Ipswich players have been selected for England trials ahead of a three-match home test series against Sri Lanka in March next year.

Sean Ongers, James Barker and Mike Pitman are the new names to be added to the already-capped Gavin Driver, Chris Norton and Rickard Saggers.

Michael Edmond, England's vice-captain for the World Cup, has retired from international Indoor Cricket.

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