Unicorns face Essex at Bury St Edmunds

ESSEX are to play a competitive match in Suffolk for the first time in nearly 20 years.

They will face the Unicorns in a Clydesdale Bank 40 group match at the Victory Ground in Bury St Edmunds on Sunday, May 8.

The match will be the first time a first-class county has played in Suffolk since 2005 when Glamorgan visited in the last Cheltenham & Gloucester Trophy tie the county played before Minor Counties were excluded from the competition.

The Unicorns, whose squad is drawn from players without full-time contracts at one of the first-class counties, were admitted to the 40 overs-a-side competition for the first time last season and caused quite a stir with their displays.

The team of Minor County, university, recreational and club cricketers recorded victories over Glamorgan, Sussex and Worcestershire in their inaugural season, re-writing the record books as they successfully chased down a target of 325 – the record total for a team batting second in the history of 40-over cricket – to defeat Sussex by six wickets.

Former Suffolk skipper Phil Caley, who is now chairman of the Minor Counties cricket committee and on the Unicorns sub-committee responsible for organising their home matches, said: “The Unicorns have six home matches in the competition this year.

“Three are taking place at Sir Paul Getty’s Ground at Wormsley in Buckinghamshire, with matches also scheduled for Exmouth and Colwyn Bay, subject to confirmation.

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“We looked at venues in and around East Anglia to host the match against Essex and considered a number of options, including Manor Park in Norfolk, and Bishop’s Stortford CC on the Hertfordshire/Essex border.

“I was keen for the match to be at Bury St Edmunds and so bring Essex back to Suffolk and give supporters the chance to see a first-class county play in the county once again. It is an ideal venue – centrally located with easy access for spectators and ample car parking available.

“I remember playing in the NatWest Trophy game against Essex nearly 20 years ago, and what a memorable occasion that was in front of a crowd of nearly 4,000. It would be lovely to have a big crowd there again.

“Essex are one of the top three one-day sides in the country – along with Somerset and Sussex – and have some terrific players such as Graham Napier, Ravi Bopara, James Foster, Ryan ten Doeschate and new signing Owais Shah as well as England’s Ashes hero Alastair Cook.”

Tickets for the match, which will start at 1.45pm, will be available via the Unicorns website – www.unicorns40.co.uk – by the end of February priced �10 for adults and �5 for concessions, with a family ticket (two adults and two children) costing �25.

Prices on the day of the match will be �15 for adults, �8 for concessions and �35 for a family ticket.