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Sawston & Babraham squad has a fresh feel for East Anglian Premier League title defence



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Captain Dan Heath has always attributed much of Sawston & Babraham’s recent success to the collective spirit within a group of players that have been together for a number of years.

Defeats have been rare over the last four campaigns, culminating in a first ever Read Brothers Ltd East Anglian Premier League title last term.

But having reached the pinnacle, personnel changes have been made to ensure The Rams stay there.

Sawston & Babraham after beating Great Witchingham to win the East Anglian Premier League. Picture: Chris Worrall
Sawston & Babraham after beating Great Witchingham to win the East Anglian Premier League. Picture: Chris Worrall

The 2022 squad will include four new faces, with the same number having exited the club.

Heath said: “It’s a bit of a cliché but we are seeing this as the start of a new journey.

“This is my fourth year as a captain and I’m really conscious of trying to avoid things becoming like the same old, same old.

Sawston & Babraham captain Dan Heath. Picture: Chris Worrall
Sawston & Babraham captain Dan Heath. Picture: Chris Worrall

“After four years I think you either change the captain or you change some of the personnel.

“I feel I still have a lot to offer on and off the pitch and the club made it clear they wanted me to stay.

“We’ve freshened it up a bit and now it’s about trying to defend our title. There’s quality teams throughout the division and it will be a tough slog, but that is our aim.

“We’re in the (ECB’s) national cup competition as well, and when you look at what the likes of what Swardeston have done in that, we’d love to go on and really establish ourselves as a club.”

The popular Waqas Hussain batting for Sawston & Babraham. Picture: Chris Worrall
The popular Waqas Hussain batting for Sawston & Babraham. Picture: Chris Worrall

The headline arrival at the Spicers Sports Ground has been that of Australian spinner Peter Hatzoglou, who has taken wickets in the last two editions of the Big Bash League.

Speaking about the addition of the 23-year-old, Heath said: “To be honest our main focus was on getting in a batsman but when we spoke to an agent who we’ve had some dealings with and he offered us a player of Pete’s quality, you can’t say no to that.

“It was just good timing for us – right place at the right time.

“We’ve managed to get someone in that has had a massive impact on the world of franchise cricket and that can only be a good thing.

Matthew Hague batting has moved on. Picture: Mecha Morton
Matthew Hague batting has moved on. Picture: Mecha Morton

“Some of the lads thought it was a wind up when we told them, especially the younger lads who watch a lot of T20.

“It’s great for all of us to have someone like that to learn from and it’s also great for the league to have a player like that playing each week.”

Former England Under-19 international Nathan Buck, who currently plays for Northamptonshire, has also signed for Sawston – though it is not yet clear how often he will be available.

Top order batsman Luke Spears has returned to the club after several years away playing in Australia, while Callum McLean from lower-league Cambourne completes the quartet of additions.

Going the other way is Rishi Patel and Aaron Thomason – both of whom featured for the club last season.

And also departing is the popular duo of Matthew Hague and Waqas Hussain, with the pair having played a key role in the club’s recent rise.

“Those two are massive losses both on and off the pitch,” said Heath. “Matt has made many great friends at the club and it’s sad to see him go and Waqas was one of the main reasons we got promoted.

“We’ll miss their ability on the pitch but also as blokes as well – they’ve both been great.

“But while we’re sad to lose both it’s exciting to see how the new players fit in. We’re not letting it go stale.”