Norfolk put Bunting out for Suffolk clash
Norfolk skipper George Walker believes the county are laying solid foundations for the future as they prepare to hand a debut to a teenage bowler for the second time in a week.
Olly Stone, 17, made an impressive first appearance for Norfolk in the thrilling one-run win against Bedfordshire earlier this week, but he is unavailable to face Suffolk tomorrow after being invited to attend an England Under-19s squad training session. In his place comes 18-year-old North Runcton seamer Kieran Bunting, whose father, Stewart, and uncle, Rodney, both played for Norfolk.
With Michael Eccles still unavailable because of a hand injury, Norfolk have chosen to blood another youngster to lead the seam attack at Manor Park and Walker said: 'We could have brought someone in with more experience, but it might just have been for one game and then you're back in the same position. We're trying to give a chance to young lads who could potentially play for Norfolk for years to come.
'Kieran comes from a long running cricket family so the sport is in his blood. He comes highly recommended and although he's not playing East Anglian Premier League cricket at the moment, a lot of people have said good things about him and he came to a few of our winter sessions.'
The incredible victory over Bedfordshire – Norfolk took three wickets in six balls for the addition of just one run to complete an unlikely success – came as a relief to Walker, who is no longer seeking his first win as county captain: 'It was a cracking win and one of the closest finishes I can remember playing in,' he said.
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'It was a relief, but we have had two other very close games this year, so it's not as if we've been thrashed – we've been knocking on the door. But all the lads were really chuffed to get the win and we need to keep that team spirit going.'
Norfolk welcome back Sam Arthurton after he missed the Beds game to play for Essex's second XI at Taunton. He replaces Matthew Warnes, although the Horsford batsman has been placed on standby, because opener Carl Rogers may not be able to play as his daughter is currently in hospital.
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If Rogers does feature, he needs 23 more runs to reach the 10,000 mark in the Minor Counties Championship.
After drawing their first two Championship matches, Suffolk have beaten Buckinghamshire and Northumberland to move up to second in the table.