Patience paid off for Staffordshire, says head coach Carr

Staffordshire County Cricket Club head coach Andy Carr

Andy Carr says Staffordshire were rewarded for their patient approach after securing a 51-run win against Suffolk.

Staffs returned home with a maximum 24 points from their opening NCCA Division One East clash of the season at Bury St Edmunds.

But they were made to work hard for it at times as Suffolk’s George Rhodes hit 110 and Andy Northcote added 40.

That helped the East Anglians to recover from 98-6 to 212-6 as they pursued their victory target of 294.

However, Staffordshire eventually found a way to win as Tom Brett’s 5-79 and Anis Raza’s 3-83 left Suffolk all out for 242.

“The big thing about three-day cricket is you can’t get too giddy,” said head coach Carr.

“Sometimes you have to hold tight and it’s just about being consistent in what you’re trying to do.

“There was a lot of emphasis on Tom and Anis, especially with us having two of our seamers injured.

Staffordshire open up Championship season with victory at Suffolk

“You do get concerned a bit when they develop a partnership. We’ve got 12 lads in the dressing room who want to win – and it’s just about finding a way.

“You just have to be patient. We knew that Rhodes was a big wicket, but the experience of Tom got him out.

“And Anis bowled really well. He has been rewarded for the way he has performed this season.”

‘Areas to work on’

Carr says there were plenty of positives to take from the encounter at Bury St Edmunds. But there are also areas to brush up on ahead of their next fixture against Buckinghamshire at West Bromwich Dartmouth.

Staffordshire collapsed in the third innings of the match, but were saved by a fine 92 from captain James Kettleborough.

“We’ve got to hammer home the importance of the third innings to the group,” added Carr.

“We need to take more responsibility as individuals in that innings because it can possibly change a game.

“It was a great innings by Ketts for us, though, and if we had been told that we’d be 270 ahead going into the last day then we would have taken that.”

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The win in East Anglia was the perfect way to start the Championship season for a Staffordshire side who have already pocketed the Twenty20 Cup this summer.

They are chasing another three-day title – and have ticked off one of their assignments with a maximum points haul.

Carr also says it’s a hugely promising sign that the youngsters in the side made impressive contributions.

‘Bright future’

Staffordshire fielded one of their youngest sides in recent years for the Suffolk fixture – and Carr insists that bodes well for the future.

“It sets everything up quite nicely,” said Carr.

“We have gone quite young this season, especially in the Championship.

“That’s a credit to Staffordshire cricket that we have had six lads in the side who have come through the pathway and three of them are also under the age of 20.

“That’s down to the hard work put in by the county and the board in identifying the talent we have.

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“We have a good balance to the team. You have Ketts, Tom Brett and Liam Hurt as three senior players in their disciplines.

“You throw Michael Hill in there as well as a senior player and they can all help the juniors to progress.

“This win has given us a platform to take into the Bucks game at West Brom a week on Sunday.

“Hopefully, people will now start to look at us and think that Staffordshire are a very good team.”

In the other Division One East game to be played, newly-promoted Buckinghamshire managed to beat Norfolk by six wickets at Tring Park.

Picture: Staffordshire head coach Andy Carr praised his players after their NCCA Championship win at Suffolk. Image: Alfie Shenton