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Sawston & Babraham captain Dan Heath looking ahead to three crucial Thurlow Nunn East Anglian Premier League fixtures

Dan Heath believes Sawston & Babraham’s results over the next three weekends can be the key to unlocking a third straight title – and help make up for the disappointment at being kicked out of the ECB National Club Championship.

The Rams (146-6) relinquished top spot in the Thurlow Nunn East Anglian Premier League after seeing their perfect red ball record end with a draw at Horsford (210) on Saturday.

But they now head into a trio of fixtures that pits them against sides all currently in the top five, starting at home to last year’s runners-up Mildenhall (11am), who are tied in second place with them. Copdock & Old Ipswichian visit Spicers Sports Ground next weekend before The Rams head to a Swardeston side currently holding a six point advantage at the summit.

Sawston & Babraham captain Dan Heath (gloves) and Ben Clilverd behind the stumps at Sudbury. Picture: Alan Heath
Sawston & Babraham captain Dan Heath (gloves) and Ben Clilverd behind the stumps at Sudbury. Picture: Alan Heath

“The next three weeks I think are three massive games in the context of this season and how it’s going to go,” said Heath.

“We’ve had five red ball games with four wins and one draw so we’re in a really good place and the boys showed good character and fight to come away with some points at the weekend.”

Saturday’s draw came off the back of learning they had been removed from the ECB National Club Championship despite beating Lincolnshire side Bourne by 107 runs on May 28 for being found to have fielded an ineligible player in Louis Kimber.

But Heath feels it was a tad harsh that they have been eliminated, given the circumstances surrounding it.

“The rule states if you have a first-class contracted player playing they have to have played two games for you before they can play,” he said.

“Obviously Louis Kimber is contracted to Leicestershire. He played our first (EAPL) game against Swardeston and then he got injured and didn’t play any more cricket for about six weeks.

“His first comeback from injury was then that game, so I feel like we probably had mitigating circumstances in that respect.

“Louis hadn’t played for Leicestershire yet this season. We were giving him an opportunity to play and get fit.”

“It was just one of those things and we’re really disappointed that it cost us.”

Saturday’s draw, which Heath said saw them suffer from losing the toss and being sent into the field on ‘a really, really tricky surface’ saw them come away ‘with more positives than negatives’.

Alex Evans took 3-38 from 13.5 overs as they bowled Horsford out for 210 in 59 overs.

But despite Charlie Lewis’ 40 from 58 deliveries and Ben Clilverd’s 39 lower down the order, they fell 65 runs short of a revised 211 target from 55 overs.

“I see some teams that lost on Saturday and got more points than we did and that shows there’s something not quite right with the points structure really, in my opinion,” said Heath.

“But at the same time I feel like a draw with eight points is better than a loss with 12 for us mentality-wise.”

With Kieren Mackenzie (fractured thumb) and Callum Guest (ankle ligaments) having been injured, Alex Stafford and youngster Youssef Choudary are among those pushing for starts.

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