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Cricket Week can give Sudbury an extra edge at champions Frinton-on-Sea, says Darren Batch on eve of Premier League season




With some additional preparation behind them, Sudbury are hoping to catch out reigning champions Frinton-on-Sea as the 2020 season properly swings into action on Saturday (11am).

The Talbots’ first game of the delayed Read Brothers East Anglian Premier League sees them travel to the Essex coast to take on the side who took their title off them last season.

And despite the revamped Covid-19 truncated format – two regional groups of six with no relegation and there being no official league winner even if North and South victors decide to go for a competition play-off – there is no lack of motivation for Sudbury.

CRICKET - Sudbury Batting (S) v Hadleigh Fielding (H) ..Pictured: Sudbury Darren Batch ....PICTURE: Mecha Morton.... (38778689)
CRICKET - Sudbury Batting (S) v Hadleigh Fielding (H) ..Pictured: Sudbury Darren Batch ....PICTURE: Mecha Morton.... (38778689)

“The aim is to win it,” said club captain Darren Batch. “There is still a competition and we are in the South Group with Frinton, Copdock, Bury, the two Cambridgeshire sides; Saffron Walden and EAPL new boys Sawston & Babraham. I do not think there is any fear for us from those teams.

“If we put in even 80 per cent of what we did Saturday (110-run victory inhome friendly with Hadleigh) I am confident we will be up there at the end of the season. And hopefully there will be a final to play.

“It is important we get off to a good start and Saturday is a big game; they finished first and we finished third.

CRICKET - Sudbury Batting (S) v Hadleigh Fielding (H) ..Pictured: Ben Parker (S)....PICTURE: Mecha Morton.... (38778691)
CRICKET - Sudbury Batting (S) v Hadleigh Fielding (H) ..Pictured: Ben Parker (S)....PICTURE: Mecha Morton.... (38778691)

“It is two good teams going up against each other but we are really confident the players we have got can deliver for us on Saturday.”

Player-coach Tom Huggins marked his return to the side at the weekend with 76 runs in setting Hadleigh a 355 total for the loss of five wickets. Ben Parker reached 87, while Kenny Moulton-Day hit an aggressive 60 not out.

Batch then returned 4-42 off his 10 overs, while Huggins conceded just 14 runs off his seven overs as he took two wickets. Hadleigh’s Dominic Manthorpe’s big hitting saw him reach his 100 from 110 balls in the visitors’ 245-9. With Frinton only playing their first friendly on Saturday, Batch is hoping Sudbury’s preparations could give them an extra edge.

Their two weekend home fixtures, having begun with a narrow defeat against Witham, have been followed up with this week’s three-day Cricket Week action.

CRICKET - Sudbury Batting (S) v Hadleigh Fielding (H) ..Pictured: Kenny Moutlon-Day (S)....PICTURE: Mecha Morton.... (38778693)
CRICKET - Sudbury Batting (S) v Hadleigh Fielding (H) ..Pictured: Kenny Moutlon-Day (S)....PICTURE: Mecha Morton.... (38778693)

Symantec Old Boys and Hadleigh were the opponents for the first two days with Acton due to visit today (11.30am). Cricket Week at Friars Street is due to conclude tomorrow evening when Sudbury Ladies host Mistley Ladies (6pm).

“It is pretty much all first-team players playing this week on different days so we are getting extra cricket in for Saturday to make sure we are ready.” he said.

Adam Mansfield’s Sudbury side will be without Jonny Gallagher, with the opening bowler shielding with his wife due to give birth.

WithBen Reece having departed for Saturday’s opponents Frinton, fellow leg spinner Ollie Riddick is the only new addition to the squad, though Ryan Vickery has decided against his move to Coggeshall – who now have no competitive fixtures this year – to remain with them.

The format for the season is 50-over throughout with teams opting to wear coloured clothing and use a pink ball, as in one-day cricket.

Sudbury’s first home game is a derby with Bury St Edmunds a week on Saturday.