Sawston & Babraham are hailed after East Anglian Premier League glory
Dan Heath described being “absolutely over the moon” as Sawston & Babraham lifted the Read Brothers East Anglian Premier League title in their first full season in the division.
Having been promoted to the region’s top tier in 2019, they used last season’s truncated campaign to find their feet and it reaped its rewards.
The Rams sealed their maiden EAPL crown last Saturday with a 140-run win at Great Witchingham.
“I didn’t think it would happen this year,” said Sawston & Babraham captain Heath.
“I thought at one point this season it was probably a year too early for us but we managed to turn it around as a little bit of luck went our way.
“To get over the line on Saturday was just an incredible feeling. I’m so pleased for all the boys and the whole club, as it is a real club effort and everyone deserves it really.”
It felt as if Heath was being extremely modest by suggesting that they had luck on their side, as they had a raft of illnesses and injuries, including to key opener Matt Hague, to deal with during the season.
“I do say a bit of luck because I think you make your own luck and we have done that to get across the line,” he explained.
“I think there were a few results where our rivals lost games they perhaps shouldn’t, and we had a win against Horsford where we bowled them out in about 25 overs, but as we were walking off it rained with a thunderstorm and that would have stopped the game.
“I think over 22 games you do make your own luck, but I think we deserved to be champions.”
There were a few standout and pivotal games during the season, which boosted the Rams’ title efforts.
“I feel like the run chase at Saffron Walden, where we chased down 290 with an over to spare, was fantastic,” said Heath.
“The Horsford game, where we basically had to take three wickets in about five minutes before rain would have ended the game and we managed to do it, that definitely stands out.
“At Mildenhall that was incredible as we went off for rain and they were 105 for 3 in 28 overs, and Duckworth Lewis calculated that we needed to get 178 in 28 overs which was outrageous really. We had three hours off the pitch, sat watching the rain, and then to manage to do it was incredible.
“They would definitely be the three games that would stick out in my mind.”
Against Great Witchingham, Sawston & Babraham were reduced to 107 for 5 when Waqas Hussain delivered an expert innings.
He finished with 106 not out from 117 balls, including 10 fours and three sixes, as they finished their 50 overs on 250 for 8.
Opening pair James Vandepeer and Mark Smith made early breakthroughs, and Great Witchingham went on to be bowled out for 110.
Smith finished with three for 35 and Callum Guest got three for 17 from five overs.
“Everyone has built into what we want to do, and where we’ve got to,” said Heath.
“It is a squad game, and that is one thing we said after the result on Saturday. At one point this season, every single player has stuck their hand up and won a game for the team. It was brilliant, absolutely brilliant.”
It is a hat-trick of league wins for Sawston & Babraham, as the second and third teams also topped their respective tables.
“It’s a great place to be right now,” added Heath.
“There are a lot of good players and a lot of committed people. I think we are very blessed to have four teams; everyone loves their cricket, everyone wants to win and everyone enjoys it.
“I think we get the balance spot on at the club between enjoyment and wanting to win. To have ones, twos and threes all win their respective leagues is pretty incredible really.”