Saturday’s rain failed to dampen Sudbury’s spirits as they captured the East Anglian Premier League title for the first time in the club’s history, writes Ken Watkins.
A possible title decider against runners-up Swardeston at Friars Street was abandoned without a ball being bowled, leaving Sudbury 21 points clear of their rivals, having won 16 of their 22 games against Swardeston’s 14 victories.
“I would have loved to have gone out there and beaten them to take the title, but I’m happy to take the rain-off,” said first-team coach Tom Huggins.
For Huggins, winning the title was a vindication of the goal he had set when he joined the club three years ago. The vision statement he pinned up in the dressing room read ‘To win the EAPL 2017’.
“When I joined the club we sat down as a group to discuss the future. We wanted to challenge ourselves, and that’s what we came up with. We knew it would be a big ask,” he said.
“But if you don’t aim high, you don’t achieve, and slowly but surely it became a more realistic goal.
“Halfway through this season we really began to believe we could do it. That goal really pushed us.”
Having achieved that aim, Huggins has his sights set on not just next season, but much further ahead. “We don’t just want to win the title once. We want to be challenging for it every year, like Swardeston.
“Our aim has to be to build a culture that allows us to be the best possible team and club in East Anglia. We have to keep pushing and getting better. We’ll go for the title again next year. We need to be constantly challenging at the top.”
He praised the first team squad for their considerable efforts this season. “We have played some good cricket this year. It’s a small squad that has played together and fought together. They never know when they are beaten.
“It’s not been just one player who has stood out. Every week someone has stood up. And the players who have come in have joined a winning team and done the job.”
Over the winter Sudbury may look to strengthen the squad: “If we get a couple of new players in, we do. But if not that’s no problem.”
Sudbury celebrated at the players’ dinner on Saturday night as the curtain came down on the most successful season in the club’s 230-year history.
Sudbury also won the Suffolk Cup, and the Second team finished runners-up in Marshall Hatchick Two Counties Championship Division Three to win promotion.