Blacktopp is back while Beds retain Bacon hope

George BaconGeorge Bacon
George Bacon
Batsman Dan Blacktopp has declared himself fit to play in Bedfordshire’s Unicorns Championship match with Cambridgeshire at Bedford Modern School starting on Sunday.

The ankle he damaged in training earlier in the season, which led him to miss most of the one-day competition matches, again caused him a few problems in the last game against Cumberland.

But it did not stop him from scoring 93 in the second innings and the swelling has since gone down.

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Bedfordshire’s strength in batting was underlined against Cumberland and Jon Carpenter, who was 92 not out when their second innings closed on 443, is again likely to find himself stationed at number eight this weekend.

The bowling - particularly the pace attack - remains a bit of a problem though and the selectors are waiting to hear whether George Bacon, who dropped out at the last moment against Cumberland when called up by Leicestershire, will be available.

There must also be a doubt about the fitness of Shabbz Hussain who suffered another finger injury when batting against Cumberland.

Left-armer Marc Jackson, who turned in some outstanding performances with the new ball as a teenager a few years ago, is keen to play Minor County cricket again.

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Unfortunately he is not available for this game because of work commitments, while former Northants paceman Luke Evans is also unavailable.

Having begun the season with two high-scoring draws, Bedfordshire need a win to lift themselves into a championship challenging position.

After beating Cambridgeshire in the Unicorns Trophy competition earlier in the season they shouldn’t be short of confidence.

However, Cambridgeshire are always strong in three-day cricket and they are the reigning Eastern Division pennant holders.

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They were beaten in the Championship final last year by Western Division winners Cheshire.

The Cambridgeshire game starts a busy period for Bedfordshire.

Having gone a month between their first two games they now play three matches in successive weeks with visits to Norwich to play Norfolk on July 27, 28, 29 and to Staffordshire the following weekend.

Play starts at Bedford Modern School at 11am on all three days and admission is free.