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Sawston & Babraham have eyes on reclaiming East Anglian Premier League title after finishing runners-up in 2023

Having been dethroned in 2023, there is a real determination at Sawston & Babraham to regain the Thurlow Nunn East Anglian Premier League (EAPL) title this season.

After their first campaign following promotion was disrupted by the coronavirus pandemic, the Rams took the EAPL by storm, being crowned champions in 2021 and 2022.

However, there was to be no hat-trick as serial winners Swardeston came out on top last year, with Sawston & Babraham made to settle for the runners-up spot.

Dan Heath, second left, and his Sawston & Babraham side start their season this weekend Picture: Mark Westley
Dan Heath, second left, and his Sawston & Babraham side start their season this weekend Picture: Mark Westley

Captain Dan Heath has offered up no excuses, insisting that his side was ultimately not good enough in all departments.

He said: “We were disappointed to finish second, which shows how far we’ve come.

“In a lot of ways having been promoted and then winning the league, finishing second should also be seen as an achievement.

“But there was a lot of regret because it felt like at times we didn’t get out of third gear.

“We’re a motivated group and we want to win every single weekend, but maybe there was a slight drop off in that sense.

“You can look at it in so many different ways or try to find reasons, but ultimately we didn’t bat well enough, we didn’t bowl well enough and we didn’t field well enough – it’s that simple.

“We’re not a team that looks at statistics too much, but we didn’t have enough players in the top 10 of all departments. If you don’t have that then you’re not going to win the league.

“Having said all that, we still could have ended up winning the title on the final day, which is a testament to the quality we have in the group.”

One aspect Heath is hoping will give his side some fresh impetus this time around is the winter’s recruitment drive. All-rounder George Darlow has returned to the club after a season away, while Lee Thomason, Ethan Rice and Jack Beaumont have all arrived at the Spicers Sports Ground.

And with that quartet onboard, Heath believes that he has the strongest squad at his disposal in his six years as skipper.

“We want to win the league again – why not? We’re not afraid to say that’s the target,” added Heath.

“We know we’re a good side, a good club as well and maybe this year we’ll go under the radar a little bit.

“We’ve not gone down the marquee route with our signings like other clubs have, which is great for the league. We’ve done that in the past with Peter Hatzoglou and Nathan Buck, but this year it was not the route we wanted to go down.

“But this is definitely the strongest squad we’ve had in my time as captain. Every player we have has played Minor Counties cricket at some point and we’ve got 13 or 14 players all pushing for places.

“We’re delighted with the four players that have come in. Obviously we know George very well, he’s a big character and the others will have big impacts on the squad.”

Sawston & Babraham begin the new season on Saturday (20 April) when they travel to Norfolk to take on Horsford, while the first home game comes seven days later against Bury St Edmunds.

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