Big crowd due at Halstead for Essex Couunty Cricket visit

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THE appeal of seeing some well-known Essex cricketers on show at Halstead Cricket Club is set to bring in a bumper crowd to the club on Tuesday.

Essex County Cricket Club’s second string take on Sussex II at Star Stile in a one-day game on Jubilee Tuesday (12pm), followed by a three-day game beginning on Wednesday (11am) – all free entry for spectators.

Both contests are the highlight of Halstead’s cricket week – and while Essex are remaining tight lipped about any first-team names in the side, chairman Mark Surridge is hopeful of a strong line-up.

“There will be one or two first team players playing for sure,” he said. “The first team are away at Northants so those who like to watch mid-week cricket can come along to Halstead.

“There is always someone who stands out at Star Stile when they come down from the first team – two years ago Grant Fowler hit a double hundred and last year Adam Wheater hit 100.

“The big excitement will be on the Tuesday when they are playing the one day game and we are expecting a big attendance with the beer festival (starting Saturday) — to have cricket of this calibre on our doorstep is fantastic.”

The cricket week gets under way with the first team at home to Copdock & Old Ipswichian on Saturday (11am) with Tom Philp’s side looking to build on a strong batting performance in the seven-wicket defeat at Saffron Walden.

“For two boys to get career bests in Charlie Douglas-Hughes (82) and Tom Philp (71) in the East Anglian Premier League, plus posting a good score, was great,” said Surridge. “We were really beaten by one man (Glen Batticciotto) and he did play for Australia Under-19s and Queensland and state cricket in Australia is better than our county cricket and it was as good a ton as I have seen at this standard.”

He added: “Copdock are flying high. We are just hoping that now we are running into a bit of form we can carry that on and pick up some batting and bowling points.”

Meanwhile, Sudbury make the long trip into Norfolk for Saturday’s EAPL clash at Great Witchingham (11am) brimming with confidence after taking title favourites Vauxhall Mallards to within one ball of victory at Friars Street, claiming a hard-fought general draw.

And proud captain Darren Batch (pictured) is looking to keep up his hot streak with the bat after hitting 99 on Saturday and repeat his impressive 140no recorded in the same fixture last season.

“It would be nice to do a repeat of that,” he said. “We had another good performance (Saturday) and it is a shame we did not leave ourselves enough time at number 10 and 11 – a couple of early catches went down early on.”

Batch is looking forward to unleashing Ugandan off-spinner Clive Kyangungu on the Premier League after completing his pilot’s licence, and hopes he can get off to a flying start. But Matthew Hunn (school commitments) is absent for another week.