FORGET the form book. That’s the message from Sudbury skipper Darren Batch as his team prepares to visit bottom of the table Halstead in the East Anglian Premier League on Saturday.
Sudbury sit in the middle of the table, with just one defeat in their first ten games. Halstead are without a win, and were destroyed by fellow strugglers Bury at Star Stile at the weekend.
“It’s a derby game, and anything can happen,” said Batch. “Form goes out the window in these matches. They are expecting some players back from university this week, and they will certainly be fired up for this game.
“If we want to win we will have to be at our best. But it is just another game. We don’t need to change anything because it’s Halstead. We just need to improve on last week.”
Sudbury held on for a draw against Horsford last week, the visitors reaching 251-7, with Essex player Jaik Mickleburgh making an almost faultless 75 before Batch claimed his wicket.
“He played well,” said Batch. “We gave him some loose deliveries, and at one stage it looked like they would reach 350. we were on the back foot, but we were detrmined in the field and kept them down to 251. I was pleased with the way we stuck to our task.”
But Sudbury then found the going hard, and only determined resistance from the ninth-wicket pair of Adam Mansfield and Johnny Gallagher, batting out the final ten overs, saw them safely to 138-8 and a draw.
Batch is happy to come up against players from a higher level. “It’s always good to test yourself against the next level up. It raises your standards,” he said.
He acknowledges that Sudbury will need to raise their game on Saturday. “But we are halfway through the season, with just one defeat. Last season we lost three of the first ten games.”
Halstead meanwhile, were taking a beating from Bury, whose skipper Tom Huggins scored an unbeaten 149 in their 314-1 declared, and then took seven wickets for 39 as Halstead were dismissed for 166. It was Bury’s first win of the season.