Sawston & Babraham captain Dan Heath hoping historic Eastern Anglian Premier title triumph is the start of something special
The Read Brothers Ltd East Anglian Premier League trophy presentation will end a fairy-tale first full top flight season at Sawston & Babraham Cricket Club on Saturday – but captain Dan Heath wants to ensure it is only the beginning.
The Rams (250-8) recorded a 140-run success at Great Witchingham (110) in Norfolk last weekend to ensure they cannot be caught at the top heading into the concluding round.
It means the Spicers Way Sports Ground will host a procession to the finish line as Copdock & Old Ipswichian visit (11am), with the trophy presentation planned to take place at 6pm.
“We had been gutted at not doing it the week before when we deservedly lost (at home to Cambridge), so we had to pick ourselves up from that first which was quite challenging,” said Heath.
“It was a massive effort from the boys, considering Great Witchingham are a great side and it could not have gone any better for us.”
After winning the toss the home side inserted Sawston into bat, which looked to be working well for them with openers Ben Benson (12) and James Vandepeer (19) both removed having failed to get past 20 runs.
But Waqas Hussain’s introduction soon saw the title-clinching victory come into view as he set about building what proved to be an unbeaten century (106) alongside various partners, having faced 117 deliveries without falling.
Heath’s 27 from 18 balls was the next highest tally for the visitors in their total of 250-8 in their 50-over allocation. And it was a target the hosts got nowhere near reaching after a start which saw them lose their first two wickets inside six overs to leave them 14-2.
Mark Smith (3-35) and CJ Guest (3-17) claimed three wickets apiece, while there was pairs for James van de Peer (2-28) and George Darlow (2-12).
James Hale’s 35 was the highest individual score in the hosts’ 110 total, having seen their final wicket fall (Joe Tillett LBW) in the 39th over to CJ Guest’s delivery.
Heath said: “For the team, firstly, it is massive as a lot of us have come up through the leagues and this was our first opportunity to do it.
“A number of us left one club (Great Shelford) to come and play for Sawston & Babraham as we wanted to have the chance to earn promotion to the East Anglian Premier League and then try and win it, and now we have. To do it in our first full season (after 2019 promotion) is incredible.
“It means so much to the boys and the club really deserves this as it is such a well run club with great people.
“The seconds and thirds both won their leagues as well so it has been the perfect season really.”
But he is keen to ensure it is anything but a one off.
“We already discussed it on Saturday,” he said. “This is just the beginning as we all want to go and do it again and put up a good show in the national cups.
“You look at other sides that have won the league multiple times like Swardeston and Sudbury and we want to add our name to that list.”
* It was very different scenes over at Haverhill (153) on Saturday as their 185-run defeat to Hadleigh (338-2) confirmed they will finish bottom of the Marshall Hatchick Two Counties Championship Division One table and be playing in Division Two next season.
There is still a final home game for Ben Wilkins’ side to salvage some pride, with East Bergholt (8th) visiting on Saturday (12pm).