Talbots fight to the finish

BOWING OUT: Century-maker Jandre Coetzee makes his final appearance for Sudbury on Saturday before returning to South Africa
BOWING OUT: Century-maker Jandre Coetzee makes his final appearance for Sudbury on Saturday before returning to South Africa
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Sudbury Talbots will be fighting for their East Anglian Premier League lives on Saturday, and even victory may not be enough.

Bottom-of-the table Sudbury are home to fourth-placed Saffron Walden (10.30am), looking for a double, having beaten their opponents at Catons Lane on June 22, the last time Sudbury tasted victory.

But with two games left the Talbots, on 193 points, are 27 points adrift of Copdock and 30 behind Bury.

They need to win and hope the other strugglers lose.

Anything less than victory and a good points haul and the Talbots will be down if they are more than 30 points behind their fellow strugglers after Saturday’s games.

Skipper Darren Batch, ruled out with ankle ligament damage, made the long trip to Norfolk with the team last Saturday, but was left frustrated as he watched the latest defeat at Great Witchingham.

Jandre Coetzee scored his maiden EAPL century, but Sudbury’s total of 260-9 was chased down by Witchingham, Sam Arthurton scoring 150 in the six-wicket win.

“You have to hold up your hand sometimes,” said Batch. “We were up against a player in top form and he won the match for them.

“Early in the season scoring runs was our problem, but now there’s been a complete reversal, but our bowlers haven’t been able to dominate so much.

“Hopefully on Saturday we can get both together.”

Batch is not throwing in the towel yet.

“Results didn’t go our way on Saturday,” he said. “But there are still 60 points at stake from our last two games, and I’m optimistic that two wins would be enough.

“Twenty-seven points is a big gap to close, but stranger things have happened.”

Batch will be sidelined again on Saturday, but hopes to be back for the final game at Burwell on September 14.

Coetzee returns to South Africa on Monday, which is a blow to Batch, who is hoping for a good crowd at Friars Street on Saturday to see the South African’s farewell game and get behind the Talbots to help keep their hopes alive.

“We will be aiming to get a win,” said Batch. “We still have something to grab for and to take it to the season’s last game.”

Bury, who sent Sudbury to the bottom of the table on July 27, are home to third-placed Burwell and Copdock visit Clacton, who lie fifth, on Saturday.