Tour stalwart, Paul Eldridge, sets the scene!
As part of Sutton’s traditional pre-season tour, Sutton will be keen to keep hold onto the silverware, following some close battles in the past and will be aware of the challenge from Sporting Alfas, who will be desperate to win the cup after close games in the last two years. After their past successes in the Benidorm Palace Cup, Costa Blanca league Cup and the successful defence of the Espanol league last season, Alfas will be looking to add the elusive Valencian Cup to their trophy cabinet. They pose a threat with some ex-pat players who have a wealth of cricket experience. Dave Climent who holds records with the club and in the Spanish league, all-rounder Paul Pennick who has good experience in the UK Northern league cricket and is a handful with his effective swing bowling and the young Jimmy Morgan who always seems to shine in these matches,
Sutton, though with a different type of squad with some new players will be looking forward to some competitive action after the long winter break. The tour manager Paul Liddiard will bring some experience alongside John Lambe who will captain his side in the Saturday Valencia Cup match and believes the Spain trip is a great way for team spirit and an ideal way to prepare for the season.
“Spain is a fantastic tour perfectly timed to get some warm weather training under your belt in a good social environment,” explains Lambe whose experience and leadership will be vital if Sutton are to retain the Spanish trophy.
“The Saturday game is ultra competitive and the Alfas have a very good blend of young Spanish internationals and some very experienced ex-pat players.
“As opposed to us being weaker I would prefer to say a little less experienced. A couple of Benidorm regulars are missing and we need people to step up and replace them. It is pleasing to see Spencer Champ, Chris Thomas and Aaron Metz touring this year and as always we will rely on the core players of John Fry, Russell Coombe, Andrew Siefers and Dave Lewis. I think Russell could have a big role to play with the bat this year! It will also be a good opportunity for a couple of players not normally in the Saturday side to perform!” adds Lambe, who has a good record with the bat in Spain, he averages over 80 runs. His batting will be paramount at the top of the order. The tactics though will be simple as Lambey explains: “I think we will try and stick to the tried and tested, win the toss and put a strong total to defend, particularly if we are playing in high temperatures again. As we know the wicket won’t change and is ideal for positive batting.”
Sutton will certainly be positive and focused for all the tour and Sporting Alfas, although eager to retain the trophy will truly know they will have to be at their best to beat Sutton. A good weekend of cricket in the Coast Blanca Sunshine lies in store.