Sawston & Babraham preparing for big weekend in the East Anglian Premier League
Captain Dan Heath has insisted Sawston & Babraham will head into Saturday’s top-of-the-table clash at Sudbury (11am) with nothing but victory in their mind.
In what is their first ever campaign as a Read Brothers Ltd East Anglian Premier League outfit, Sawston & Babraham hold a 19-point advantage at the top of the South Group over their weekend hosts.
The clash between the pair at Friars Street will be the last group game of the truncated season, with the winners heading into a play-off final at Mildenhall CC on Sunday against their North Group counterparts.
A win would guarantee Sawston & Babraham their place, while seven bonus points would also get the job done with six sparking a super-over.
However, Heath is eager to see his side qualify the easy way.
“These games are the reason why you want to play sport,” said Heath, who saw his side record an impressive 111-run victory during last month’s reverse fixture.
“It’s in our favour but it is not in our mentality to go there and just look to pick up bonus points.
“They are not as easy to get as people might think. Batting points don’t start until 150 runs and while that sounds routine, they are going to produce a pitch which gives them the best chance of getting a result.
“We will go there with the mentality that we need to win the game – that is how we approach every game we play in.
“If we don’t manage to do it then it has still been amazing season that has gone beyond all of our expectations, but it would be nice to get in the play-off and have one extra game.”
It will be the second meeting between Sawston & Babraham and Sudbury in a matter of days, with the latter having won the Tier 1 Suffolk Thank You NHS Club T20 Cup final at Woolpit CC by just one run.
But while it was disappointing to have lost out on some silverware by such a slender margin, Heath was proud of how his mixed team acquitted themselves throughout the whole competition.
“We cannot be overly disappointed because our team was made up of a mixture of firsts, seconds and thirds and junior players,” he said.
“They have been great the whole way through and deserved to be in the final.
“When you look at Sudbury’s team on the day it was strong. Their seconds are only a league or two below their firsts, while there are six divisions between our firsts and seconds.
“They’ve got a lot more strength in depth but we have pushed them all the way.
“In hindsight it is a little bit gutting to have got so close, but to run them that close in itself is an achievement.”
The previous day, Sawston & Babraham (283-9) recorded a 22-run win at 2019 EAPL champions Frinton-on-Sea (261-7) to maintain their grip on the South Group summit.
The victory was all the more impressive when factoring in that the home side fielded a trio of Essex players in Adam Wheater, Nick Browne and Josh Rymell.
“Frinton might not have been as good as normal this season but they are still a great side,” added Heath. “And then when you had three lads from Essex into that it was always going to be a challenge.
“We did really well to win the game, especially in the manner in which we managed to get it done.”
Batting first on the Essex coast it was Heath who spearheaded his side’s charge with an unbeaten knock of 55.
Alexander Stafford also added a useful 48, with Tim Moses’ 35 and a late 22 from Mark Smith helping to push Sawston & Babraham beyond 280 runs.
Much of the defence, meanwhile, centred around the performance of C J Guest. He recorded figures of 4-27 from his 10 overs to help the visitors to victory.