Skipper calls on Sudbury to top Suffolk mini-league

Captain Darren Batch has challenged his Sudbury side to lead the Suffolk contingent in this season’s East Anglian Premier Cricket League.

The fixtures computer has handed Batch’s men a baptism of fire to life in the top flight, with a trip to last season’s champions Frinton-on-Sea up first on Saturday (11am).

That is followed by a home encounter against champions Swardeston, before a game away at Cambridge Granta, who finished third in 2015.

Nevertheless, despite opening up against three of the division’s biggest sides, Batch believes that his newly-promoted team is good enough to finish ahead of county rivals Bury, Copdock & Old Ipswichian and Woolpit.

“First and foremost we must make sure that we consolidate our position in the league,” said the skipper.

“It is vitally important that we are still in the league in 2017 and continue to develop.

“But, every team sets itself targets and ours is to be the highest-placed Suffolk club.

“The difference between the Two Counties Cricket Championship and this one is quite considerable.

“Down a level you play against some good players, but here every member of the team is very good.

“Even so, there is enough quality in our squad to ensure that we reach our goals.”

Presented with such a tough start, there is a genuine danger that Sudbury could find themselves winless heading into May.

However, were the worst to happen, Batch has insisted that no-one will be pushing the panic button.

“It is undoubtedly a tough start but there is no need for us to worry,” he added.

“As long as we are fully prepared and play as a team, we can match most sides.

“We have to play everyone at some point, so it really makes little difference.

“We will not secure our league status in the first three games and we will also not be relegated.

“Players lose and gain form over the course of a season, so it is all about learning from mistakes.”

Ahead of the new campaign, Sudbury’s bowling ranks have been boosted by the signing of South African paceman Dustin Melton.

The 20-year-old, who qualifies for an ancestral visa via his English grandmother, will spearhead the attack.

“We have good connections with South Africa and I am sure Dustin will carry on that trend,” said Batch.

“He is a very quick bowler, one that probably clocks around 80mph. He will open the bowling for us.

“When he fully acclimatises to the conditions, Dustin is going to be a very dangerous strike bowler.”

n Club mourns the passing of stalwart, Bob Rowling - see page 17