‘Incredible’ effort gives Sawston & Babraham a bright future after East Anglian Premier League debut season
Dan Heath has hailed Sawston & Babraham’s debut season in the East Anglian Premier League as “incredible” despite a play-off final defeat.
It was only four years ago that the club’s first team were playing in the Cambs & Hunts Premier League, Division Two, but they have been on a rapid rise up the leagues.
It culminated on Saturday when they beat Sudbury to win the Read Brothers EAPL South Group, setting up their clash with Swardeston at Mildenhall on Sunday.
That may have ended in defeat, but it has not detracted from the campaign as a whole.
“It’s been incredible, more than any of us imagined or expected really,” said Sawston & Babraham captain Heath.
“I think to go nine wins and just one defeat in our league is an incredible effort. When we set out, we thought if we could have five wins and five losses we would take that as a very successful season.
“As the season went on, we carried on the momentum and the roll from last year.
“It’s been an amazing experience. We’ve all absolutely loved it and we’re gutted it’s over because the time we spend together as a group of mates will reduce and we will have to wait until April now for cricket again.”
They had gone into the final game of the regular season at Sudbury needing a victory or seven bonus points to top the division.
Sudbury won the toss and decided to bat first.
Darren Batch made an unbeaten 68 and Kenny Moulton-Day hit 41, off 37 balls, to help the hosts to 179 for 8. George Darlow picked up three for 16.
Sawston & Babraham needed a minimum 175 to get the bonus points to set up a ‘super-over’ to determine the title.
Callum Guest made an unbeaten 66 to carry Sawston & Babraham to victory by six wickets, and set up the clash with North Group winners Swardeston.
It was a step too far for Sawston & Babraham though, as seven-time EAPL winners Swardeston won by eight wickets.
Having won the toss, they were dismissed for 162, and then Swardeston reached the target with the loss of only two wickets.
“Sunday was a bonus game really in some ways,” said Heath.
“It was a great opportunity to play against arguably the best club side in the country to see where we are at compared to them.
“It was a disappointing performance.
“I don’t want to say it’s what I expected because we never expect to lose and not play very well, but emotionally and physically when you put everything into the game the day before, to then have to start again and pick yourself up again is very hard.
“It was just a tired performance really, physically hungover from the day before.
“It’s disappointing but we look at a game like that against a very good Swardeston side, and on our day we know we can beat them which gives us a lot of confidence and hope for next season.”
With the truncated season, it was almost the ideal introduction for Sawston & Babraham to the EAPL, without the threat of relegation.
And Heath believes it will stand them in good stead for next year.
“It’s almost the ideal scenario really,” he said.
“It’s not like winning the actual EAPL, we’re fully aware of that.
“But it gave us 11 games of playing against Premier League teams, knowing what we’re good at, what we’ve got to improve and where we’ve got to strengthen without that possibility of relegation.
“It was the perfect introduction to a seriously good level of cricket – we can’t wait for next year.”