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Tough decision for Suffolk cricket coach Northcote ahead of Hertfordshire clash

PUBLISHED: 12:44 03 August 2018 | UPDATED: 12:44 03 August 2018

James Poulson, pictured bowling for Suffolk at Ipswich School last season, has been left out of the side to face Hertfordshire Picture: NICK GARNHAM

James Poulson, pictured bowling for Suffolk at Ipswich School last season, has been left out of the side to face Hertfordshire Picture: NICK GARNHAM

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Suffolk head coach Andy Northcote says he has had to make possibly the hardest decision of his tenure ahead of Sunday’s Unicorns Championship match against Hertfordshire, writes Nick Garnham.

Northcote has resisted recalling James Poulson, who has missed the opening three championship matches due to work commitments, for the three-day fixture at North Mymms CC.

Ollie Bocking, who claimed five wickets on his Minor Counties debut in the innings and two-run victory over Norfolk at Copdock last week, retains his place in the side.

Northcote said: “It is possibly the hardest decision we have had to make in my tenure. James had a wonderful year last year and fantastic one-day campaign this year.

“We know exactly what we would get from him with the ball and this makes it all the more harder. However, He’s been unavailable for the first three games due to work and the seam attack bowled well for us in our previous game.

“With Josh Cantrell unable to play there was an argument to add James in, but that would upset the balance of the team and leave us with five seamers and four needing the new ball. We decided to add an extra batter to our all-rounder heavy side.”

Cantrell has university commitments which he can’t afford to miss, and Northcote added: “Josh has become a reliable player and our first choice spinner; he has the ability to get lots of revolutions on the ball and bowls with great consistency for an 18-year-old.”

The only change to the side that thrashed Norfolk is the recall of 17-year-old opening batsman Alex Oxley.

He finished the season averaging 98.75 for Culford School and has recently scored 99 not out and 81 for Copdock & Old Ipswichian in the Gibbs Denley East Anglian Premier League.

He followed up his recent 107 for Suffolk Under-17 with an undefeated 210 against Huntingdonshire at Woolpit this week.

His Copdock team-mate Fergus Atkins earns his first call-up to the full Suffolk side and will travel as 12th man.

Suffolk squad: Jaik Mickleburgh, Alex Oxley, Kyran Young, Jed Cawkwell, Darren Ironside, Ben Shepperson, Jack Beaumont, Mike Comber, Tom Rash, Adam Mansfield (wkt & capt), Ollie Bocking. 12th man: Fergus Atkins.

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