Suffolk cricket team named for pivotal Eastern Division clash

SET TO RETURN: Darren Batch, who will be looking for a big score for his county on his return to three-day cricket
SET TO RETURN: Darren Batch, who will be looking for a big score for his county on his return to three-day cricket

Sudbury's Darren Batch is poised to play his first three-day fixture for Suffolk for seven years when the county take on fellow title-chasers Cumberland at Ipswich School, starting on Sunday.

Batch's fine form with both the bat and ball for Sudbury, who currently top the table in the Gibbs Denley East Anglian Premier League, has been rewarded with a call-up to Andy Northcote's side for their penultimate Unicorns Championship match.

Batch last played in the Minor Counties Championship for Suffolk, ironically against Cumberland, in the final match of the 2010 season at Sedbergh School.

He played for Suffolk both last season and this in the one-day Unicorns Trophy. But his work commitments have until now ruled him out of appearing in the Unicorns Championship.

Batch is included in a 12-man squad that also features his Sudbury team-mate James Poulson, who was named in the original squad for the match against Norfolk at Manor Park a fortnight ago.

Poulson subsequently had to withdraw because of work commitments, but is recalled along with Jack Beaumont, who has missed the last three Championship matches.

Captain Adam Mansfield is currently serving a three-game ban, the last of which is suspended, as revealed by the Suffolk Free Press, but is available to play Sunday, providing his club side manage to start Saturday's EAPL home fixture with Cambridge Granta, which would act as the last of the two games he has to initially sit out.

Bury St Edmunds' rising star Alex Oxley, 16, who made his maiden half-century for the county in the draw at Norfolk, misses out as does Darren Ironside.

Suffolk will not finalise their side until the morning of the match, but Copdock & Old Ipswichian skipper Tom Rash - formerly of Bury St Edmunds - has declared himself fit to play.

The all-rounder fractured the middle finger on his left hand in two places fielding the ball off his own bowling against Norfolk, and batted at No.11 in Suffolk’s second innings.

Suffolk enter Sunday’s match in third place in the Eastern Division table – 10 points behind leaders Lincolnshire and three adrift of their second-placed visitors.

Suffolk coach Andy Northcote said: “We expect Cumberland to provide extremely tough opposition.

“They arrive in Suffolk on the back of an impressive six-wicket win at Manor Park, and having played against Norfolk at the same venue only a week before, we know what a good win that will have been for them.”

Suffolk squad: Jaik Mickleburgh, Martyn Cull, Darren Batch, Michael Comber, Kyran Young, Ben Shepperson, Adam Mansfield (wkt & capt), Jake Wakelin, Hugo Douglas, James Poulson, Tom Rash, Jack Beaumont.