Batch wants to end the season in style

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SUDBURY captain Darren Batch is calling on his players not to get complacent as the Talbots enter the final stretch of their debut season in the East Anglian Premier League.

After a draw at bottom side Norwich in a game shortened by the rain on Saturday, Sudbury are seventh, 71 points above the relegation place with five games left, but only 36 - equivalent to just more than one win - away from second bottom.

And ahead of Saturday’s game at home to strugglers Saffron Walden (11am), Batch is calling on his team to focus so they make it a truly memorable first season at the highest level in their history.

He said: “We have to keep performing to our level to make sure we do not get complacent now it is looking like we are going to be safe.

“But we cannot afford to think like that, we want to finish above Bury and Halstead and seventh place would be a really good end to our first season.”

Although Sudbury were not able to surpass Norwich’s total of 205, hitting 161 from their 39 overs, Batch was happy they ensured they lost no more than three points on the relegation-threatened side.

“We went there with the aim of picking up as many points as we could, but with the shortened game there was an increased chance of one side winning the game and we had to make sure we did not lose.

“I would rather we conceded three points to them than 23.”

Batch picked out young Suffolk bowler Matthew Hunn’s two wickets, for 65 runs from 10 overs, and vice- captain Adam Mansfield’s first ever half-century as two plus points from the match with youth set to play a big part at Friars Street over the next few years with a raft of talented players coming through.

Ahead of the visit of Saffron Walden, who are third bottom, Batch added: “We need to maintain our level and focus right through to the end of the season and we want to finish as high as possible.”

Sudbury will be without opening batsman Al Younger (holiday) and possibly Matt Pears, with Mansfield and James Poulson set to open again, while bowler Craig Smith returns to the line-up.

Meanwhile, Halstead skipper Tom Philp is looking for his side to bounce back at home to Norwich (11am) after a poor performance in the field against Clacton, with several dropped catches leading to a defeat.

“We are keen not to get dragged into it (relegation battle) and want to put in a good display,” he said.

“But if we play like that for the next two or three games we could be in danger.”

Philp is aware it will not be an easy game though, saying: “They will be fighting for their lives and they have a proud record to defend in this league, having been in it since the start and having won it.”

Bertie Blackwell returns alongside Dave Elsbury, who has now recovered from a broken finger, but Josh wells and Jake Foley are both unavailable.