Darren Batch reflects on Sudbury's perfect start at champions Frinton-on-Sea ahead of Bury St Edmunds derby double header
Darren Batch admitted Sudbury could not have got off to a better start to their East Anglian Premier League 2020 campaign ahead of going up against local rivals Bury St Edmunds in cup and league inside 24 hours.
The Talbots (176-6), who finished third last season after securing back-to-back titles in the Read Brothers Ltd sponsored competition, dismantled reigning champions Frinton-on-Sea (173 all out) in their own back yard in a four-wicket victory in the South Group.
It saw Paddy Sadler take 4-38 from his 10 overs while opener Martyn Cull batted through, ending on 56 from 75 balls, including eight fours.
Asked if it could have gone any better, club captain Batch said: “No. We were a little bit concerned before the game with no overseas player and we had obviously lost Ben Reece, one of our best players to them while our opening bowler (Johnny Gallagher) is shielding. But the guys on the field stepped up to do the business.”
Going into the contest at Ashlyns Road Batch had voiced his hope that going into it off the back of the club’s Cricket Week could give the visitors an extra edge. And it proved to be the case as Adam Mansfield’s side soon made the most of winning the toss and electing to field, with Batch having Tom Sinclair out for no score LBW on the first ball of the second over.
Ben Parker then caught fellow opener Blaine Bannister off Batch’s bowling in the fourth over to leave the champions at 13-2 before Adam Wheater was run out off Poulson’s delivery for 18-3.
Kyran Young (65) and former player Reece (20) did manage to steady the ship but Frinton-on-Sea’s innings came to a close on a disappointing total of 173 all out in the 47th over.
“We managed to get a couple of early wickets and really the run out of Adam Wheater was crucial,” said Batch. “He is obviously an Essex player and had come in determined to bat for a long time and went about 18 balls without scoring.
“It was a great piece of fielding from young player Alex Quinn, who has been with Suffolk throughout the winter and the last five weeks at Copdock, which has raised his game.
“It was a fantastic stop with one hand and then thrown down the stumps; it was brilliant for him.”
He also praised Sadler’s contribution as well as Cull with the bat.
“Picking up four wickets in the middle is crucial and he has done that a couple of times,” he said of Sadler. “It means the team cannot accelerate their score at the end.”
Sudbury were able to knock off the target in 32.1 overs of their 50 allocation.
Batch, who was second behind Cull on 50, said of the opener’s contribution: “It was a fantastic knock that took great skill and mental toughness.”
Sudbury get their Thank You NHS Suffolk Club T20 defence under way with a visit to Bury St Edmunds in a Friday evening fixture (6pm) before hosting the same opposition in the league on Saturday (11am).
But Batch does not think what happens tomorrow will influence the 50-over game at Friars Street.
“We are at different venues and a Friday night T20 thrash will not have any bearing on the league game Saturday,” he said.
Kenny Moulton-Day will captain the T20 side this year with Batch, Sadler and Poulson set to boost a young side who are in Prem/Div 1 A of the two top groups, which also features Hadleigh and Woolpit.
Player/coach Tom Huggins will be a notable absence from Saturday’s side and probably most of the rest of the campaign, as he begins his Essex coaching commitments.
“Tom fills two roles as a frontline spinner and opening batsman so it will not be an easy fix,” said Batch.