Preview for East Anglian Premier League season
Cricket correspondent CARL MARSTON previews the new East Anglian Premier League season, speaking to the captains of our region’s five top clubs
Sudbury will be going all-out to retain their East Anglian Premier League title this summer, having made history by winning it for the first time in 2017.
Darren Batch, their club captain, admits that it will be tougher this season, because Sudbury will be marked men after their achievements of last year.
Elsewhere, Copdock & Old Ipswichian, with Chris Swallow back as captain for a second stint, following the departure of Tom Rash to Mildenhall, have been hit by several departures from last year, so they might struggle to match their fifth slot from 2017.
By contrast, Mildenhall look to have a stronger squad this summer, both in terms of quality and quantity, and so will be hoping to improve on their ninth position from their first season at this level last term.
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Frinton-on-Sea have lost a couple of their regulars, in Thomas Benn and Lewis Catlow, but the Essex club should be a real force with former Essex batsman Jaik Mickleburgh opening their batting.
Bury St Edmunds, with a young team, have struggled in recent years. They will put the emphasis on youth again, although new overseas player Murray Commins should make a big difference and perhaps ensure that they have a better start to the summer.
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Here is a run-down of the five clubs in our region:
BURY ST EDMUNDS
Position last season: 11th (207 pts)
Captain: Sean Park
New recruits (inc.): Murray Commins (South African all-rounder)
Departures (inc.).: Mark Nunn to Worlington, Ben Curran to Mildenhall
Quotes: “We don’t have the friendliest of starts, playing the three top sides from last year in our first four matches, starting against Sudbury, and then Great Witchingham, Vauxhall Mallards and Swardeston. However, perhaps there is a chance that we can catch the opposition when they are still feeling cold.”
Opening fixture: Sudbury (H)
COPDOCK & OLD IPSWICHIAN
Position last season: 5th (333 pts)
Captain: Chris Swallow
New recruits: Adam Ball (former Kent CCC, left-arm seamer and top order batsman), Glenton Stuurman (South African, opening bowler)
Departures (inc.): Hugo Douglas (to Mildenhall), Jaik Mickleburgh (to Frinton), Tom Rash (to Mildenhall), Andy Northcote (to Woolpit)
Quotes: “We finished fifth last season, but it will be tough to match that this time. For me, this year is all about player development.” – captain Chris Swallow
Opening fixture: Frinton (H)
Position last season: 6th (327 pts)
Captain: Kyran Young
New recruits: Pulina Thuranga (Sri Lankan, all-rounder, leg spinner), Jaik Mickleburgh (from Copdock & OI, former Essex CC batsman), Tom Sinclair (returning to the club), Dan Lovelace (from Brightlingsea)
Departures: Tom Benn (moved to Carlisle), Lewis Catlow (staying out in Australia)
Quotes: “We start every season aiming as high as we can. There’s no point in doing anything else. So that’s why we will be trying to win the league, which has been an attitude in recent years.”– captain Kyran Young.
Opening fixture: Copdock (A)
Position last season: 9th (240 pts)
Captain: Ben Shepperson
New recruits (inc.): James Stamatis (South African, from Mistley, all-rounder, off-spinner), Tom Rash (from Copdock & OI, all-rounder), Hugh Douglas (from Copdock & OI, fast bowler)
Quotes: “Our target is to replicate what we achieved in the first half of last season, but over the whole season this time. We will be looking at a mid-table finish, at the very least, if not a top-half-of-the-table finish” – captain Ben Shepperson
Opening fixture: Swardeston (H)
Position last season: 1st, champions (445 pts)
Captain: Tom Huggins
New recruits (Inc): Timothy Johnston (New Zealander, all-rounder, off-spinner)
Quotes: “We are aiming to retain our title, that’s definitely our target. We want to emulate what we achieved last season, although we are fully aware that it will probably be tougher this time around” – club captain Darren Batch
Opening fixture: v Bury St Edmunds (A)