Norfolk’s season begins with friendly game in Essex

New Norfolk captain Ashley Watson can't wait for the new season to get under way Picture: TIM FERLEY

New Norfolk captain Ashley Watson can't wait for the new season to get under way Picture: TIM FERLEY - Credit: Archant

A new era for Norfolk cricket gets under way on Saturday when the side travel down to Broxbourne for their traditional warm-up fixture against Essex Seconds (11am).

It will be the first game for the county since Ashley Watson took over as captain in all forms of the game following the retirement of the long serving Chris Brown.

With competitive cricket now just three weeks away it is an important game and Watson is raring to go.

'It was a great honour to be chosen as captain and I can't wait for the season to start,' said the new man in charge. 'We have done plenty of work inside and it will be great to finally play outdoors and get into the swing of things.

'Essex always provide good opposition and their players have already starting playing so it will be a good test for us.'

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Norfolk have named a familiar looking squad of 12 for the friendly although there is one notable absentee in the shape of the vastly experienced Ben France. The selectors have selected 17-year-old all-rounder Callum Metcalf for this game, but options are being kept firmly open ahead of the new campaign.

'Ben hasn't been dropped or anything like that,' explained Watson. 'But we know all about what he can do and it seemed sensible to give Callum a run-out. He is a very talented young player with the Nottinghamshire Academy, who did well when he played for us last season, and there is good chance he will be available on a regular basis.'

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The season proper gets under way on Sunday, May 5 with a 50 over a side game against Suffolk at Manor Park in first round of the MCCA Unicorns Minor Counties Championship.

The following day, Bank Holiday Monday, there is more action at the home of Norfolk cricket with two games against the same opposition in the MCCA Twenty20 competition.

The first of six Minor Counties Championship games is against Cambridgeshire at March, starting on Sunday. June 23 while the Festival of Cricket at Manor Park starts on August 4.

Norfolk (from): Ashley Watson (capt), Sam Arthurton, Ben Coote, Ryan Findlay, Andy Hanby, Steve Marillier, Callum Metcalf, Tom New (wkt), Mat Plater, Jason Reynolds, Will Rogers, Brett Stolworthy.

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