Suffolk hopes dealt big blow

SUFFOLK'S hopes of retaining the Eastern Division title in the Minor Counties Championship have been dealt a blow with news that pace bowler Trevor Smith will be unavailable for the 2006 season.

By Elvin King

SUFFOLK'S hopes of retaining the Eastern Division title in the Minor Counties Championship have been dealt a blow with news that pace bowler Trevor Smith will be unavailable for the 2006 season.

Smith, who has played as a professional for the last four years and taken 87 Championship wickets, cannot commit himself to a full season because of his work.

The 29-year-old will be registered but is unlikely to feature and, with former England paceman Devon Malcolm in a similar situation, the Suffolk management are on the look out for a quality replacement.


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Director of cricket, Kevin Brooks, said: “Trevor has been a tremendous asset and will be difficult to replace. He has now turned his sights away from a return to the first-class game and work now comes first, which we understand.

“Devon will also be registered but, with a new baby on the way and his other commitments, like Trevor he will only be there to help out if necessary.

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“Our choice of a replacement is limited as the pull of the Minor Counties for players of Trevor and Devon's abilities is not strong.”

Other players to leave the side that shared the Minor Counties Championship in 2005 with Western Division winners Cheshire will be batsmen Andrew Mawson and Tom Webley.

Mawson's teaching duties mean he will only be available for the final two matches, while Webley has returned to Wiltshire to work.

On the plus side, 23-year-old batsman Tom Huggins is being registered after being released by Northamptonshire where he spent three years.

Huggins previously played for Godmanchester in the East Anglian Premier League and is expected to open the innings.

“We have high hopes of Tom, who I have been aware of for some while,” said Brooks. “And with Justin Bishop being available we will have batting replacements for Andrew and Tom.

“Andrew McGarry, our leading wicket-taker last year, is available and so is Paul King. So, along with Justin, we will have three of the pace attack that ended last season. Spin bowler Chris Swallow enjoyed a good season and is now an established member of the squad, while Phil Caley and Chris Warn will stay as captain and vice-captain.”

Smith could be available for the one-day competition that sees round-robin games in late April and May, with the final at Lord's.

And Suffolk have been boosted by the decision of Essex to allow their second XI coach and skipper Paul Grayson to play for Suffolk in the Knock-Out Cup.

Grayson, 34, played an important part in Bury St Edmunds' victory in the EAPL in 2005 and will bat high in the order for Suffolk and offer experienced left-arm spin bowling.

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