Sudbury Cricket Club skipper Darren Batch is set to go through the pain barrier as he looks to pull off a miraculous last-day relegation escape.
The Talbots captain, suffering from ankle ligament damage, admits he would not be playing at Burwell on Saturday (10.30am) if it was not the biggest game of his five-year Sudbury career.
But with Sudbury facing relegation from the East Anglian Premier League — the region’s top tier of domestic cricket — if they fail to win batting first, combined with rivals Copdock and Old Ipswichian or Bury St Edmunds going down to a heavy defeat, he has decided he has to play.
Following a 27-run defeat at home to Saffron Walden — which has kept their chances of beating relegation, after three years in the league, out of their own hands — Batch said: “Last Saturday I could not run very well and that is why I batted at number eight.
“I have got physio twice this week and definitely will be playing.
“If this was not a do-or-die game I probably would not play as I am not 100 per cent, but needs must.”
Batch joins Adam Mansfield (fractured finger) in playing on in a desperate bid to pull off what seems an unlikely escape, with overseas professional Jander Coetzee having now returned to South Africa.
With Sudbury 25 points adrift at the foot of the table, they must pick up 30 points from Saturday’s finale, which means winning batting first.
They must then also hope Copdock and Old Ipswichian score less than five points at Clacton or Bury St Edmunds score less than two at Woolpit.
One point is awarded for reaching 150 runs and then one further point for every 25 runs up to 250 (doubled for the side batting first up to 60 overs), while there is one point for taking every pair of wickets, starting at two and going up to a maximum of five points (10 wickets).
But Batch said although their club scorer will be keeping informed of events elsewhere, they will just focus on their own end of the bargain until their match has finished.
“It is still possible and we have to go to Burwell believing we can win and results will go our way elsewhere,” he said, also adding the of Saturday’s defeat ‘summed up their season’ of just falling short.
It will be no easy task at Burwell with Kiran Adhav having taken 60 wickets to set a new league record and the third-placed side set to record their best finish.