Batch is taking nothing for granted as rivalry resumes

HIGH FIVE: Billy Moulton Day took five wickets for Sudbury as local rivals Hadleigh were sent crashing to a 10-wicket defeat at Friars Street on Saturday
HIGH FIVE: Billy Moulton Day took five wickets for Sudbury as local rivals Hadleigh were sent crashing to a 10-wicket defeat at Friars Street on Saturday
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League leaders Sudbury face their second successive derby when they travel to Star Stile to take on Halstead on Saturday.

The Marshall Hatchick Two Counties Division One match sees a renewal of local cricketing rivalry after a three-year gap, the clubs last meeting in the East Anglian Premier League in 2012.

Sudbury completed the double that season, Halstead finishing bottom, and relegations have kept the clubs apart since then.

Sudbury have got their Two Counties season off to a perfect start, with four wins from four games, the latest a 10-wicket win over Hadleigh last weekend.

Halstead have won just one of their four matches, and suffered a 10-wicket defeat at the hands of Witham last week, in a performance that left skipper Josh Wells deeply disappointed.

“I think too many batsmen threw their wickets away,” he said. “Our fielding is strong, as is our bowling, but we were perhaps a bit naive when we were batting.”

Halstead will field a stronger side against Sudbury, with spinner Dave Elsbury and wicketkeeper Dan Hutchins returning, so Wells is looking for a much-improved display.

“Sudbury have got off to a flier,” he said, “but our pitch is a bit quicker, the ground bigger, and if we can get Tom Huggins out early that could make all the difference.”

Sudbury skipper Darren Batch said Sudbury are “confident, coming off the back of four wins”, but he is taking nothing for granted.

“We haven’t played any of our challengers yet — Mildenhall, Witham, Wivenhoe — so there is a note of caution as we have only played the bottom four teams,” he said.

“But if we are anywhere near our best on Saturday, then we can win the game. We have to keep our standards up, and consistency is vital.”

Batch is confident his pace attack can flourish on a faster wicket, and a bigger ground gives him the chance to vary the attack a little more by employing spin.

“We are looking forward to it. They are our nearest local rivals, and it promises to be a good game,” he said.