Skipper raises the bar as Talbots near target

SUDBURY go into the derby at Bury St Edmunds on Saturday (11am) hoping to pass through their season target of 200 points – with six games still left to play.

The Talbots, who drew at home to Burwell last weekend to keep them sitting pretty in mid-table, have exceeded even their own expectations in their first season in the East Anglian Premier League.

But with other teams at the bottom scoring higher than in previous years, sights have now been re-set to continue to pick up points as the season reaches its back straight, starting with old foes Bury.

Captain Darren Batch said: “With another 12 points we will have reached the 200 mark and that was our target at the start of the campaign.

“We have had to revise that a little bit now as teams are scoring above previous year, but it would be a nice milestone to reach against Bury with six games left.

“We have played Bury a few times in the Suffolk Cup finals and they beat us again this year in the league so it would be nice to get one over on them Saturday.”

Sudbury will be boosted by the return of Sri Lankan international Hasantha Fernando, due to touch down in the country later today, who has been back in his homeland playing in the newly-established Sri Lankan Premier League.

“We are very happy with how Wilmanga Perera (replacement) did but I think Hasantha is probably a class above and he is experienced at international level and it will be a big boost for us,” said Batch, who is set to have a full squad to choose from for the trip to the Victory Ground.

The Sudbury skipper will hope his bowlers are back on form after he conceded they suffered “a rare off day” against Burwell, though he was pleased not to let Burwell gain ground after they were unable to bowl the home side out.

Meanwhile, after a heavy 165-run defeat at Vauxhall Mallards, things don’t look any easier for Halstead as they prepare to face another of the top four and last season’s champions, Cambridge Granta, at Star Stile on Saturday (11am).

Captain Tom Philp said: “It was quite a high-scoring game last time we played them at home and we just need to improve and apply ourselves and knuckle down to put a decent score on the board if the opportunity arises.”

Spinner Charlie Douglas-Hughes will return to the line-up but opening batsman Freddie Blackwell could be forced to miss out due to other commitments.

Of the defeat at Vauxhall Mallards, the 2009 champions, Philp said: “We were well off the pace to be honest.

“It was a bit disappointing to lose as we have been playing well recently but it is always tough to go there where the ground is on a hill and it makes it tough to adjust to.”