Home start for Norfolk’s new one-day captain in Unicorns Knockout Trophy tie at Manor Park

Ashley Watson, left, got a taste of captaincy in a five-wicket win over Lincolnshire at Manor Park last season. Picture: Tim Ferley

Ashley Watson, left, got a taste of captaincy in a five-wicket win over Lincolnshire at Manor Park last season. Picture: Tim Ferley

Tim Ferley

The season kicks off with Bank Holiday action at Manor Park for Norfolk on Monday, with new one-day captain Ashley Watson leading for the first time.

The 33-year-old all-rounder has played for Norfolk since 2002 and takes on the Unicorns Knockout Trophy captaincy from Chris Brown, who remains skipper for the three-day Championship.

“Chris spoke to me a couple of years ago and said I potentially could take it on in the future,” Watson said. “I thought he would have one more year so it’s come a year early. I’m definitely very proud. I was born and bred in Norfolk and played for all the age groups, under-13 was the first year I played for Norfolk and I made my full debut at 17.”

Norfolk start their Trophy campaign against Cambridgeshire (11am start), looking to improve on a quarter-final finish in each of the past four seasons – due to a frustrating bowl-out defeat in a rain-affected tie at Staffordshire last season. Norfolk are tied with Devon as the most successful counties in the competition, having lifted the trophy five times, but the last of those was in 2009.

Watson, a regiment instructor in the RAF who previously served in Afghanistan, hopes to improve that but begins against a Cambs team who beat Northumberland with three wickets to spare last weekend, with Asim Butt scoring 128 from 95 balls.

“It’s nice to start with a home game but they’ve already got a game under their belt and beat Northumberland in a high-scoring game, nearly 700 runs in 100 overs, so they’re looking good,” Watson added, with Cambs also away at Lincolnshire tomorrow

“We’ve got three one-day debutants in Robbie Bridgstock, Matty Taylor and Ben Coote. Our new professional Rob Taylor is also on debut, he’ll hopefully bring experience to the new and senior guys in the team as he’s a Scotland international and has played nearly 50 first-class games for Leicestershire as well.”

Norfolk: Sam Arthurton, Jordan Taylor, Lewis Denmark, Rob Taylor, Robbie Bridgstock, Ashley Watson (C), Matt Taylor, Ben Coote, Brett Stolworthy, Adam Todd, Stephen Groves (WK).

Cambs: Nesan Jeyaratnam, Asim Butt, Ben Seabrook, Ben Smith, Michael Pepper, Lewis Bruce (C), Paul Summerskill (WK), Joe Barrs, Ricordo Gordon, Joe Dawborn, Josh Arkey.

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