Simon Rees returns to Suffolk squad for opening match

Sasha Ward, who is unavailable for Suffolk's match on Sunday

Sasha Ward, who is unavailable for Suffolk's match on Sunday

SIMON Rees returns to the Suffolk squad for the opening match of this season’s Minor Counties KO Trophy campaign against Shropshire at Ipswich School on Sunday.

Rees missed last Sunday’s friendly defeat to Hertfordshire due to injury, but the Bury St Edmunds all-rounder is included in a 13-strong squad to face Shropshire, start 11am.

It was against Sunday’s opponents last season that Rees struck the final ball of the match to the boundary to secure a nail-biting two-wicket win at Shifnal and send Suffolk through from the group stages of the competition into the quarter-finals.

Rees and his Bury St Edmunds team-mate Tom Rash, who this season has joined Copdock & Old Ipswichians, produced a match-winning ninth-wicket stand of 39 off the final 23 deliveries, after Suffolk had been set 220 to win in their allotted 50 overs.

The Suffolk squad also includes newcomer Archie Ogden, the 19-year-old left-arm seamer from Rotherham, and skipper Justin Bishop said: “He has bowled well in the two warm-up games.

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“He took the new ball and bowled at the death against Essex 2nd XI and then bowled first change against Herts and really tied them down. He is keen to play for us this season – he has got a great temperament and fits in well.”

Sasha Ward is unavailable due to university commitments, but five of the county’s other promising youngsters are included in the squad – all-rounders Ben Shepperson (Woolpit) and James Poulson, his Sudbury team mate Adam Mansfield, Bury St Edmunds bowler Matt Hunn plus Mildenhall’s under-17 slow left-armer Jack Beaumont, who is still at Culford School.

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Bishop said: “Simon Rees will play if he is fit following a groin injury and one out of Adam Mansfield, James Poulson and Jack Beaumont will play. If he is unfit then one of the other two will also play.

“Jack Beaumont bowled well last Sunday so we have brought him in because historically the wicket at Ipswich School turns, but we will leave it until the morning of the match before finalising the side.

“We have two good friendlies, against Essex 2nd XI and Hertfordshire, and all the lads have had a couple of weekends of league cricket and produced some good performances.

“We had an exciting game against Shropshire last season. Matt Hunn bowled very well early on and we got off to a flying start. Hopefully he can knock a couple over early on again.

“When we batted we were behind the eight-ball, but Simon Guy got 52 at a run-a-ball on his debut to change the game and the two lads saw us home at the end.”

Suffolk are in Group Two this season and after Sunday then face Wiltshire at Devizes on May 19, Norfolk at Bury St Edmunds on May 26 and Lincolnshire at Bracebridge Heath on June 2.

Suffolk squad: T Huggins, M Cull, S Guy, J Bishop (capt), B Shepperson, C Swallow, S Rees, A Mansfield (wkt), T Rash, M Hunn, J Poulson, A Ogden, J Beaumont.

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