Staffordshire take 12-man squad to Suffolk for NCCA Knockout Trophy clash

Staffordshire County Cricket Club will take a 12-man squad to Suffolk in the NCCA Knockout Trophy.

Staffordshire will take a 12-man squad to East Anglia for their opening NCCA Knockout Trophy match this weekend.

Staffs start their 50-over campaign on Sunday with a Group Two trip to Mildenhall to take on Suffolk (11am).

Norfolk, Herefordshire and Shropshire complete the group in this particular section of the white-ball format.

Staffordshire include Leek’s Zen Malik in their squad after a productive week for the 26-year-old.

Malik has scored hundreds in both innings for Glamorgan in their Second XI Championship game against Warwickshire 2s at Portland Road.

Worcestershire’s Reeve Evitts is also named after making his debut for Staffs in the T20 Cup matches against Northumberland at Burslem on Sunday.

There are plenty of spin options with Tom Brett, Nils Priestley and Anis Raza all in the group.

‘Cup reprieve’

Staffs make the long trip east having been handed an NCCA Twenty20 Cup lifeline earlier in the week.

Staffs, who are the defending champions, were seemingly knocked out of the initial group stage following Monday’s final round of matches.

However, it subsequently emerged that Northumberland – who Staffordshire played in Group One – fell foul of NCCA rules in their fixture against Cheshire.

Northumberland fielded former pros Jacques Du Toit and Stuart Poynter in the matches at Oxton. Both have played more than 40 games across first-class and List A fixtures.

Counties are only permitted to field one player whose combined tally of first-class and List A appearances exceeds the 40-mark.

Staffordshire County Cricket Club all-rounder Reeve Evitts
Staffordshire County Cricket Club all-rounder Reeve Evitts is in the squad to face Suffolk this weekend. Picture: Pete Stonier

Northumberland had finished in second place in the group to advance to the Super 12s stage. Staffs missed out as one of the best third-placed finishers.

The competition has been tweaked this summer with the top two from each of the five groups qualifying.

The best two third-placed sides also progressed which, after Monday’s results, were Cambridgeshire and Herefordshire.

But Northumberland’s removal from the T20 Cup sees Staffordshire back in contention to defend the crown they won last year.

Staffs defeated Berkshire and Cornwall on finals day to lift the silverware for the first time in their history.

‘New format’

For now, though, the focus for Andy Carr and his players will be to kick off their 50-over programme with a win.

Last season was a disappointment for Staffordshire in the Knockout Trophy.

They failed to qualify from their group after seeing the inclement weather go against them.

The other Group Two match on Sunday sees Norfolk entertain Herefordshire at Sprowston.

Staffordshire (from): James Kettleborough (cpt, Checkley), Sam Atkinson (Moddershall & Oulton), Tom Brett (Finedon Dolben), Reeve Evitts (Kenilworth Wardens), Callum Hawkins (Moddershall & Oulton), Rory Haydon (Leek), Michael Hill (Meakins), Liam Hurt (Flixton), Zen Malik (Leek), Matt Morris (Westhoughton), Nils Priestley (Checkley), Anis Raza (Ashcombe Park).

Main image: Staffordshire have named a 12-man squad for the NCCA Knockout Trophy game against Suffolk. Picture: Pete Stonier

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