Darren Batch says Sudbury have nothing to fear when they go up against title rivals Swardeston in a crunch clash at the top of the table.
The Talbots have been in excellent form in the Gibbs Denley East Anglian Premier League (EAPL) so far this season, winning nine of their first 10 games to establish a 21-point lead at the top.
Sudbury’s title credentials will face arguably their biggest test to date when they visit second place Swardeston at The Common this Saturday (11am).
The Norfolk side have been crowned EAPL champions for the last five years, and in 2016 they reached the final of the ECB National Club Championship.
But after first-team captain Tom Huggins’ unbeaten knock of 74 helped the Talbots to a six-wicket win against Horsford at Friars Street on Saturday, Batch says the league leaders are confident of turning over the long-reigning champions this weekend.
“Tom has been really bullish with us at the end of the game (against Horsford) when he told us we have nothing to fear,” said club captain Batch.
“In the past we’ve been a bit, nervous is the wrong word, I’d say hesitant when going up to Norfolk and playing Swardeston.
“They’ve obviously got a big reputation. They’ve won the EAPL for the last five years, but we’re really confident.
“We’re looking forward to testing ourselves out against them and, if we perform how we have been doing, I see no reason why we shouldn’t win.
“Swardeston are second and they are there for a reason, but we’re top for a reason too.
“That’s because we’ve played 10 of the 11 teams and we’ve won nine of them. That’s a brilliant record which I’m very proud of, and hopefully we can carry it on.”
Swardeston did the double over Sudbury on their way to retaining the EAPL last year, but both encounters were close, with Batch describing them as ‘two cracking games’.
Huggins and Batch both scored half centuries to help Sudbury set a total of 236 in the home fixture, but Swardeston completed the run chase with just two wickets to spare.
The Talbots looked like claiming victory in the reverse fixture when they had the champions reeling at 22-7, before a Joe
Gatting century helped them recover to 161.
Sudbury fell to an agonising four-run defeat that day, with Batch determined for revenge this weekend.
“We had them at 22-7 at one point and they recovered,” he said. “We fell just short and it is something we want to put right.
“We had two cracking games with them last year and it should be another good game on Saturday.”