Norfolk call-up for Staffordshire University cricketer James Hale

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By Robert Roden: Staffordshire University student James Hale has been called up by Norfolk to play Minor Counties Cricket next season.

The 19-year-old’s impressive performances for his club, Great Witchingham, caught the eye of the Norfolk selectors.

And he is delighted after receiving official confirmation of his selection for the 34-man squad.

“I am very pleased,” said Hale. “It is good recognition to be included in the squad. It now gives me the motivation to work hard over the winter to work on my game, to come back fighting fit and ready for the new season.”

The Witchingham spin-bowler enjoyed a good season in the East Anglian Premier League, taking 29 wickets.

He added: “I am hoping to build on my individual goals and success from last season.

“My target next year is to take 35 wickets and score 300 runs, but as a team we want to win the league.”

The season-long Minor Counties Championship is contested by County Cricket Clubs that do not have first-class status.

The competition is split into two divisions, Eastern and Western with the winners of the two divisions playing each other to determine who will be champions.

Norfolk are in the Eastern Division along with nine other counties but each team only plays six matches. This results in counties not playing all the teams in their division.

Hale could be competing against county giants Berkshire, who are three-times Minor Counties Cricket Champions and are reigning champions of the MCCA Trophy, defeating Hertfordshire at Lord’s in August.

But the sports journalism student is not getting carried away.

He said: “I am keeping myself grounded. All I can do is continue taking wickets for my club and put pressure on the senior spinners in the Norfolk side, by doing this I will keep knocking on the door of the selectors.”

Norfolk get their 2012 campaign underway on Sunday June 3 against Suffolk.

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