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East Anglian Premier League leaders Sawston & Babraham preparing to put winning streak on the line




His newly-promoted side may boast a perfect record in the Read Brothers Ltd East Anglian Premier League South Group, but skipper Dan Heath feels Sawston & Babraham still have plenty of room for improvement.

The leaders registered their fifth straight victory on Saturday, successfully defending 196 to defeat visiting Saffron Walden (164) by 32 runs.

However, while Heath is largely delighted with how his side have adapted to life in the EAPL, he has identified the batting department in particular as an area that needs work.

SAWSTON: Cricket - Sawston & Babraham v Saffron Walden James Van De Peer.Spicers Cricket Pavilion: Sawston and Babraham Cricket Club, 26 Cambridge Rd, Sawston, Cambridge. (41103840)
SAWSTON: Cricket - Sawston & Babraham v Saffron Walden James Van De Peer.Spicers Cricket Pavilion: Sawston and Babraham Cricket Club, 26 Cambridge Rd, Sawston, Cambridge. (41103840)

“It has been an amazing start and we are all incredibly chuffed,” said the wicketkeeper. “But at the same time we have not been perfect by any stretch of the imagination.

“We are five from five but there is still improvements to make, especially in our batting because it has been poor in the last three weeks.

“It’s something we are working on, but overall we cannot have many complaints.”

The new boys were bowled out for less than 200 runs at the weekend, but it was the performance of their bowling unit that got them over the line.

The wickets were shared among a total of seven players, with Mark Smith and George Darlow taking two apiece.

From Heath’s perspective, he feels fortunate to have an embarrassment of riches at his disposal in that department.

“Our bowling and fielding has been getting us victories in recent weeks,” he added.

“We had seven lads bowling at the weekend, and there are two more that could have bowled, so we have nine options.

“We haven’t always bowled that many, but we just felt it was right to get as many players as possible involved in the game.

“When you are defending a low total on a flat track you want to mix it up as best you can so that a batsman does not get accustomed to bowlers.

“We have a lot of really good bowlers and have reaped the rewards recently.”

Attention now switches to Saturday’s top-of-the-table contest against second-placed Sudbury at the Spicers Sports Ground (11am).

Sudbury, who are 18 points adrift, have won the EAPL in two of the last three editions – and are a club Heath greatly admires.

“These are the type of games why we were so keen to get up to this level,” he said. “There is little doubt that Sudbury are the best team and club in our section.

“We may have won five from five, but there is little expectation on us going into this. They’re a very good side with top players who play for Suffolk.

“We hold them in high regard as a club and it is great to play them in a big game like this.

“Hopefully we can give a good account of ourselves and also pick up a few pointers about how they operate on and off the pitch.”

Forty-eight hours later Sawston & Babraham will be back in EAPL action with the visit of Copdock & Old Ipswichian on Monday (11am).

Heath’s side won the reverse fixture by 39 runs, and the captain is expecting a reaction from the Suffolk side.

“We are looking forward to Monday because we always get good support in home matches,” he said.

“A lot of the lads have played three-day cricket before so it will not be a problem.

“When you are winning games and are full of confidence, you want to play as often as you can.

“Having said that it isn’t going to be easy. We beat them a few weeks ago and they won’t want us to do the double over them.

“We’re also going to be coming up against sides who want to be the first to beat us this year.”

Sawston & Babraham’s Sunday side have also been going well in the ‘Thank You NHS Suffolk Cup’.

The weekend’s 77-run win at the expense of Worlington has seen them qualify for the final on Sunday, September 13 at Woolpit.

“Cambridgeshire doesn’t really have a competition like this, so we asked Suffolk about entering their one,” revealed Heath.

“We were keen to make sure it did not force a lot of extra travelling on to other teams, but they were happy to have us involved.

“It has given us an opportunity to blood some younger players alongside our experienced players.

“We are really enjoying the games each Sunday and it is always nice to have a cup final to look forward to at the end of a season.”