Andy Carr wants Staffordshire to capitalise on NCCA Twenty20 Cup lifeline

Staffordshire County Cricket Club head coach Andy Carr

Andy Carr is backing his Staffordshire players to make the most of their second chance in the NCCA Twenty20 Cup.

Staffordshire initially failed to qualify for this weekend’s Super 12s stage after seeing four of their six group matches fall victim to the weather.

But Northumberland were removed from the competition after breaking player rules, which saw defending Staffs reinstated.

That means a long trip to Norwich’s Manor Park on Sunday to contest the latest part of the T20 programme.

Sunday’s schedule sees hosts Norfolk play Hertfordshire in the opening game at 10am.

Staffs then play the losers of that contest at 1pm and the winners of match one at 4.30pm.

Staffordshire have only played two matches so far, winning one and losing one against Northumberland at Burslem.

But Carr isn’t worried by their lack of match action.

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“I’m not really concerned that we haven’t played a lot. The lads know their game inside out,” said the head coach.

“We had a long chat after the Northumberland game about where we fell short. In the first game we were prolific, but in the second game we got things wrong.

“If we go into the first game this weekend and improve on where we didn’t do well, I won’t be concerned about the lack of cricket.

“However we got there this weekend is another conversation. But we’re back in the mix trying to defend our title.

“We are the champions and everyone wants to beat us. We need to find that extra five or 10 per cent we missed in losing to Northumberland.”

‘Watching brief’

Staffordshire will have the opportunity to cast their eye over Norfolk and Hertfordshire early in the day.

And Carr says that could well be a useful exercise as Staffordshire attempt to reach finals day at Chester Boughton Hall on Sunday, May 26.

“We could be fresher. It’s important for us to realise when we can switch on and when to switch off. We need to use our downtime wisely,” he added.

“But when we’re required to perform we need to focus. We don’t want to be looking any further down the line than the first match on Sunday.

“There’s a slight advantage in playing second and third because we get to have a look at Norfolk and Hertfordshire.

“We have experience in the squad about what will be their strengths.”

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In last year’s T20 competition, Nils Priestley was the star attraction from a Staffordshire perspective.

He scored an unbeaten 147 in the finals day last-four win against Berkshire.

He followed that up with a 50 and being among the wickets in the final success over Cornwall.

However, Carr is at pains to point out that Staffs are not reliant on Priestley in the short format – and this weekend provides another chance for some to take the headlines.

“Some people will think we are a one-man show in T20 cricket, but that’s not true,” explained Carr.

“We have got skills in all departments. You only have to look at the Trophy game last weekend (a win at Suffolk) and lots of people contributed. It was a massive team effort.

“It’s never on one individual, but it could be someone’s day and it’s up to our players to make sure it’s one of them.”

Main image: Staffordshire head coach Andy Carr says he’s not worried by his side’s lack of T20 action this summer. Picture: Pete Stonier

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