Sudbury Cricket Club captain Paddy Sadler looking for freshened up side to be prove to be a surprise package in 2022 campaign
In previous seasons in recent memory, the aim for Sudbury Cricket Club has very much been fixed on the ultimate prize: the Read Brothers Ltd East Anglian Premier League title the Talbots carried off in both 2017 and 2018.
But on the eve of the 2022 campaign, newly-installed captain Paddy Sadler is looking for progress on a tough to take ninth-placed finish last term that left them bottom of the Suffolk quartet.
That is not to say he does not believe they are capable of troubling the top end, more that he is hoping what he sees as a better balanced squad may prove a surprise package.
“Our first objective is to improve on last year and to start well,” he said ahead of hosting newly-promoted Witham at Friars Street on Saturday (11am).
“I think one of the reasons last year happened as it did was we had a bit of a mixed start in terms of performance but also weather and we never got into the momentum of it like other sides did.
“I don’t think we’ve got any target per se, it’s just more trying to start well and be competitive.”
Sadler, who has Ben Parker as his vice-captain this year in a deliberate ‘freshening up’ of the leadership at the club, continued: “There are probably a few teams that are regarded as favourites at the top end: Sawston (& Babraham) will probably be very strong again, Mildenhall and Copdock (& Old Ipswichian) will be good, Swardeston are always good.
“We will be under the radar a little bit compared to some of those teams but we do believe and we have shown, even in the last couple of years, that we can beat any team we come up against.
“We’ve got a lot of players who can influence games and win games.
“If we can do that on a consistent basis to get that positive momentum then I’m sure we can go on to do really well.”
Suffolk left-arm seamer Matt Wareing has moved across from Copdock over the summer while their title-winning all-rounder Ben Reece has returned to the club from a spell at Frinton-on-Sea. There is also a new overseas professional in fellow spin all-rounder Lasith Lakshan.
England Over-50s international Sean Cooper (Worlington) and Suffolk batsman Ryan Vickery have departed along with last season’s peripheral players Billy Moulton-Day – who will line up against them on Saturday – and Ollie Riddick (Bury St Edmunds).
“I think we’re in a stronger position as if anything we’ve probably got more variety in our bowling attack now,” said Sadler, a teacher at Hedingham School in his fourth season at the club.
“Reecey is obviously a strong option with the bat and Lasith looks a really good player so I think the framework is good.”
The Talbots have lost both friendlies, the latest a seven-wicket defeat at EAPL rivals Bury St Edmunds on Saturday, having been bowled all out for 122 in 28.1 overs.
But Sadler is far from concerned about those results ahead of focusing on their opening league match, in which he will not be caught out under-estimating their opponents.
“It will be a tough game,” he said of Witham’s visit.
“We know them quite well as we’ve played they in the last couple of summers in pre-season.
“They are a good side and deserve their chance as they’ve won the Two Counties (Championship) two years in a row but only just got up through the play-offs.
“We are looking forward to getting going with the competitive stuff.
“The fact we know them and have played them before will hopefully stand us in good stead.”
Kenny Moulton-Day is set to open the batting against his brother’s side while Adam Mansfield will come in later in the order during the limited overs matches that kick off the campaign. There will again be the first five weeks of 50-over-a-side win or lose matches and four weeks at the end with the long format, where draws are possible, in the middle 11 rounds.