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Suffolk in good heart for opener

PUBLISHED: 20:34 31 May 2003 | UPDATED: 13:56 03 March 2010

SUFFOLK'S cricketers enter their 2003 Minor Counties Championship campaign in confident mood.

The county are looking to go one better than last season, when they finished runners-up, and claim the Eastern Division title for the first time since 1985.

SUFFOLK'S cricketers enter their 2003 Minor Counties Championship campaign in confident mood.

The county are looking to go one better than last season, when they finished runners-up, and claim the Eastern Division title for the first time since 1985.

Fielding a settled side may hold the key to how Suffolk fare, and it is with this in mind that the county have named a 15-man squad for the season, which starts tomorrow away to Cambridgeshire.

Players have been asked to commit themselves to being able to play in a minimum of five of the six three-day matches.

Opening bowler Richard Pineo, who missed the whole of last season, is unavailable for tomorrow's curtain-raiser at March, start 11am, otherwise Suffolk have no availability problems that so often dog sides at this level.

Kevin Brooks, Suffolk's director of cricket, said yesterday: "The side is made up of players who were all involved last season. As was said when the 15-man squad was announced at the start of this season, we feel they represent the best players available to us in order to have some success this summer.

"I just hope that we perform in the way we did last season and, just as importantly, the weather is kinder to us.

"We didn't even get on the pitch for three days in our final match of the season in the middle of August, which is not what you would expect to happen, and that cost us any chance that we had of winning the championship."

Indeed, Suffolk entered their final fixture against Buckinghamshire at Mildenhall with the possibility of overhauling leaders Norfolk.

But those hopes evaporated as torrential rain on the first day left the pitch unfit despite the efforts of the groundstaff.

Brooks continued: "With the fixtures so widely spread over the course of the summer, it is sometimes a case of whether you are lucky with the weather.

"With only six three-day games, if you are unlucky and have rain-affected matches it does have an influence on who wins the title."

Suffolk can expect a tough match against a Cambridgeshire side which contains several players who play in the East Anglian Premier League.

Cambridgeshire give debuts to Paul Swannell, captain of Cambridge and Godmanchester, ex-Leicestershire all-rounder Matt Pickering and Northampton-based teenager John Mann.

Wicketkeeper Robert Rollins returns to the side after being left out last season due to the inclusion of his former Essex team-mate, off-spinner Peter Such.

Suffolk: R Catley, A Mawson, T Catley, I Morton, C Warn (wkt), C Swallow, M Catley, P Caley (capt), T Smith, P King and James East.


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