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Sudbury Cricket Club captain Paddy Sadler looking to push for top Suffolk side honour in East Anglian Premier League in 2024 campaign





Sudbury CC captain Paddy Sadler takes his side into their Thurlow Nunn East Anglian Premier League opener at home to Ashmanhaugh & Barton Wanderers on Saturday (11am) looking to re-establish themselves as Suffolk’s top team.

The Talbots finished in a disappointing seventh place last season and third of the four Suffolk sides, behind Bury St Edmunds and Mildenhall in third and fourth respectively, and one spot above Copdock & Old Ipswchian.

It came after the Talbots, league champions back in 2017 and 2018, finished up the 2022 campaign second in the county’s mini league with a third-placed finish, one below Mildenhall.

Sudbury defeated hosting Woolpit to be crowned 2023 Suffolk Cup champions but captain Paddy Sadler (front, centre) is looking to stake their top county claim in the league this season Picture: Sudbury CC
Sudbury defeated hosting Woolpit to be crowned 2023 Suffolk Cup champions but captain Paddy Sadler (front, centre) is looking to stake their top county claim in the league this season Picture: Sudbury CC

And after freshening up the squad with five new additions to increase competition for places, Sadler believes they can renew their challenge for the best in county this time around.

He said: "Obviously 2022 was a really good year. Last year we were disrupted with injury including to myself and a few other key players at different times.

"We actually won seven of our last nine games last season so I think that was actually a better reflection of what we're all about than our final position as that was when we had a settled side and a good team.

Sudbury Cricket Club captain Paddy Sadler (left) is looking for a refreshed side to kick on up the table in 2024 Picture: Mark Westley
Sudbury Cricket Club captain Paddy Sadler (left) is looking for a refreshed side to kick on up the table in 2024 Picture: Mark Westley

"Hopefully we will be able to build on that and kick on, and obviously we're looking to finish as high up as possible.

"Every season I just want to start well and then play good cricket and then see where it takes us but we can definitely be up there, and if you ask me if I want to be the best team in Suffolk the answer's yes."

Having won the Suffolk Cup competition last season for the fourth time in seven years, albeit with mixed squads, he added: "Copdock, Bury and Mildenhall are all good sides, I know Copdock and Mildenhall in particular have signed very strong overseas professionals as they always do, so that will be a challenge and it's one I look forward to.

"We play all three of them actually in the first five or six games so that will be a good start to the season to have some derby games to get stuck into.

Sudbury Cricket Club captain Paddy Sadler (left) is looking for a refreshed side to kick on up the table in 2024 Picture: Mark Westley
Sudbury Cricket Club captain Paddy Sadler (left) is looking for a refreshed side to kick on up the table in 2024 Picture: Mark Westley

"We want to win as many games as we can but obviously there's some very good teams in the league and Sawston (& Babraham) are very good still, Swardeston are defending champions and some of the players (Great) Witchingham have signed, if they play, will be pretty formidable."

Sudbury’s recruitment has seen them bring in Sri Lankan all-rounder Manelka De Silva as their overseas professional player-coach from Bloomfield Cricket & Athletic Club in Colombo.

Top-order batsman Adam Jones, who joins from a stellar season at East Bergholt, will also assist him with coaching with Adam Mansfield having been appointed head coach at Suffolk, also meaning he is not set to play in at least the first part of the season.

Elsewhere, promising youngsters Bobby East (Chippenham), Jonty Le Compte (Woolpit) and Kajeai Tharaneetharan (Frinton-on-Sea) are set to compete for places while the rest of the squad has been retained.

De Silva, with 37 first-class matches and 39 List A to his name, was set to arrive this week and be available to play this weekend against newly-promoted Ashmanhaugh & Barton Wanderers.

“Obviously it will be great to have him on board as I think he looks a top quality all-rounder, a seam bowler and middle-order batter and I know he’s really eager to impress,” said Sadler.

Although Saturday’s friendly at Frinton-on-Sea was cancelled with the pitch not being ready, the squad were able to get pitch time across the seconds and Sunday side’s home matches last weekend to leave them ready for action.