EAPL big preview: Sudbury looking for hat-trick of titles
- Credit: Archant
The East Anglian Premier League starts tomorrow. Carl Marston gives the low-down on our region’s five top clubs, Sudbury, Frinton-on-Sea, Bury St Edmunds, Mildenhall and Copdock & OI
Sudbury will be targeting a hat-trick of East Anglian Premier League titles this summer, although the 2017 and 2018 winners will face stiff competition from the likes of former multi-winners Swardeston, plus Suffolk rivals Mildenhall and also ambitious Frinton-on-Sea.
Here is a run-down of our region’s five participating clubs:
Last year: champions
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Captain: Adam Mansfield
New players: Henry Shipley (overseas professional, from Canterbury, New Zealand, all rounder), Ryan Vickery (top-order batsman, from Elmstead), Paddy Sadler (fast bowler, former Scotland Under-19 captain)
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Departures: Dustin Melton (to Derbyshire CCC), Billy Moulton-Day (to Witham)
Interview: Sudbury club captain Darren Batch said: “We are obviously aiming for a hat-trick of titles, although Swardeston are always dangerous and Frinton have strengthened over the winter.
“Tom Huggins has just been appointed Essex’s new batting coach, so his availability will be limited, though we are hoping he can play in about half the games.”
Opening fixture: v Cambridge Granta (home)
Bury St Edmunds
Last year: 11th of 12
Captain: Sean Park
New players: Ben Seabrook (from Burwell & Exning), Daniel Moriaty (South African, left-arm spinner, all-rounder, 19), Justin Broad (South African, batsman,18)
Departures: Dominic Manthorpe (to Hadleigh), Luke Du Plooy and Ollie Riddick (both to Worlington)
Interview: Bury captain Sean Park said: “The main aim is to get through the first 10 games, and be in a better place than we have been in the past few seasons, when we have either been bottom or second bottom. The first half of the season has tended to be our Achilles heel, so the priority this time is to not be going into the second half staring down the barrel, wondering where our first or second win is coming from.
“At least the youngsters go into this season with another year of experience under their belts, and we will be looking to pick up more bonus points in matches. We ended up winning seven of our last eight matches to stay up last year, and we welcome a couple of youngsters from South Africa, on the recommendation of Murray Commins, who was with us last year. Getting Ben (Seabrook) in as well has helped us to keep hold of Josh Cantrell – they both played together at the Cambridge University Centre of Excellence.”
Opening fixture: v Horsford (away)
Last year: 3rd spot
Captain: Tom Rash
New players: Ankit Sharma (overseas player, left-arm spinner, big-hitting batsman, Danny Wilson (batsman), Ollie Lovejoy (wicketkeeper, from Colchester & East Essex)
Departures: James Stamatis (to South Africa), Nick Maiolo.
Interview: Vice Captain Ben Shepperson explained: “If we can replicate what we managed last year, then I think that would be success for us. There are a few at the club who think we can do even better, including me, because we have added some big signings to the squad. If we can still be in the mix, with five games left, like last season, then that would be great. Hugo Douglas (fast bowler) missed most of the second half of last season, because of university commitments, so he will feel like a new signing as well.”
Opening fixture: v Saffron Walden (away)
Last year: 4th spot
Captain: Michael Comber
New players: Adam Wheater (Essex County Cricket Club, wicketkeeper-batsman, limited availability), Ollie Bocking (right-arm fast bowler, from Colchester & East Essex), Ashley Watson (from Norwich, batsman and left-arm spinner, Norfolk captain), Dulanjala Mendis (Sri Lankan, left-arm spinner, from Colombo)
Departures: Mervyn Westfield (to Hornchurch)
Interview: New Frinton captain Michael Comber said: “We would like to be pushing for the Championship, and at least be title contenders. We have worked hard in pre-season to recruit well, and now it’s just a case of whether we can gel as a team. You need to play as a unit, regardless of how many good players you have.
“We have had some good fortune to get Adam Wheater to agree to play for us, whenever he has no commitments with Essex. He should be a huge help, bringing with him so much experience to the table. Mendis, our new overseas player, is an exciting addition, while Ash Watson is a top all-rounder who any club would like to have in their team.”
Opening fixture: v Great Witchingham (home)
Copdock & Old Ipswichian
Last year: 6th spot
Captain: Chris Swallow
New players: Matt Hunn (fast bowler, cricket development officer), Ben Claydon (from Cambridge Granta, fast bowler, all-rounder)
Interview: Captain Chris Swallow commented: “We are well set up for this summer. We’ve added two new players and we are looking to improve on what was an excellent season for us last season.
“Matt Hunn has come into a newly created role, as cricket development officer, which is something that the club has really needed. The club is getting so big, and Matt should be a good fit, having recently come out of the first-class game. Also being able to play for us will be a big bonus, while Ben Claydon is a 19-year-old member of the Northamptonshire Academy who is looking to push on into the first-class set-up.
“We’ve also managed to keep all our squad from last year, so we will be looking to do even better, having built an atmosphere and a team ethic. Swardeston away to start with is an acid test, but I’d rather be playing them first up, when no one has played much cricket and the wicket is likely to take some early seam. We have four good seam bowlers, so it could be interesting.”
Opening fixture: v Swardeston (away)