Sudbury cricket - Sri Lankan star tips team for title

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AFTER leading them to a sensational victory over rivals Bury St Edmunds, Sri Lankan ace Hasantha Fernando believes Sudbury can be the surprise winners of the East Anglian Premier League (EAPL).

Last season, overseas player/coach Fernando flew into Friars Street with the brief to keep them in the EAPL in the club’s debut season – and now he believes they can hit second season syndrome for six by going on to clinch the title.

The 32 year old former Sri Lankan Test player revealed sledging by Bury’s current and former skippers Tom Huggins and Justin Bishop only served to spur him on to give the Talbots a famous win at Bury’s Victory Ground, hitting 52 from 76 balls as Sudbury posted 248 all out after Bury put them into bat first.

Fernando then starred with the ball as he took six wickets, only conceding 14 runs in 11.5 overs, to leave Bury all out for 65 – giving Sudbury their biggest ever win over their rivals, by 183 runs.

“It was especially good as it was our local derby,” said Fernando, who wants to prove their title credentials by beating his former club Vauxhall Mallards, the current leaders, at Friars Street on Saturday (11am).

Despite it being only their second season at the highest club league in the area, the all-rounder truly believes a blossoming young side can go all the way to clinch an unlikely title victory.

He said: “I think we can win the league as all the guys are keen to do it this year and if we beat Mallards we will have a good chance as they are the best team in the league this year.

“I am looking forward to it – last year we beat them at Sudbury and I want to do the same thing again.

“Adam Mansfield, James Poulson, Nathan Poole and Ben Hyett are all a year older, they are getting better every year but this is their best time to perform and I am really expecting these guys to do something for the club.

“Matt Hunn has not been available for the last two weeks, but he is another player learning, and I think we can win this league – the problem is some of the players are not available.”

Suffolk fast bowler Hunn is one who will again not be available to Fernando and captain Darren Batch for Saturday’s showdown along with spinner Ben Reece, with Billy Moulten-Day, a like-for-like replacement for Hunn, set to leading the bowling attack with Jonny Gallagher again.

Fernando declared Sudbury’s bowling line-up as their strongest facet, though believes their improved batting will give them every chance of making it a truly memorable season.