Batch will hand over duties for a new era

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Latest sport news from the Suffolk Free Press, suffolkfreepress.co.uk, @sfpsudbury on Twitter

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After Sudbury’s relegation from the East Anglian Premier League was confirmed with a washout on Saturday, Darren Batch has announced he is stepping down as captain for family reasons.

With a second child on the way in January, the PE teacher announced his decision to focus just on playing duties to the club’s committee on Monday night.

It comes after three years of leading the Talbots in the region’s highest division, with a new man set to take on the challenge of taking them straight back up from the Two Counties Championship.

“I am disappointed not to be able to carry on to right a few wrongs from this season but I have got to make the decision that is best for me and my family,” he said.

“I fully intend to play for Sudbury next season and I will fully support the new captain in everything they do.”

Batch has no doubt his successor’s first priority must be to keep their young group of promising players together, which he believes would give them a great chance of bouncing straight back up.

“We need those guys to stick together as a club and as a team,” he said.

“If we do that we will have a very strong side for Division One and should be challenging for the title.”

Batch admitted he was disappointed they did not get the chance to have a shot at saving themselves in the last game at Burwell, though they would also have had to rely on heavy defeats for Copdock and Old Ipswichians or Bury St Edmunds, with neither game starting.

“I suppose where you are in the table is a true reflection of where you are and in the performances we have given we have just not been good enough,” he said.

Halstead will not be playing Sudbury next season though after finishing bottom of Division One in back-to-back relegations, while Hadleigh managed to finish third in their first season in the league.