Bell aiming for Championship

TATTINGSTONE captain Chris Bell has said it 'will mean the world' to him and his players if his side can win the Marshall Hatchick Two Counties Championship.

TATTINGSTONE captain Chris Bell has said it 'will mean the world' to him and his players if his side can win the Marshall Hatchick Two Counties Championship.

Bell's side are currently top of the Division One table and face one of their toughest games of the season tomorrow when they travel to last year's champions Exning who are currently third. They will be without leading scorer Stuart Hammond.

If Tattingstone do win the title they will not move up to the East Anglian Premier League but Bell insists winning the title alone would be a fantastic achievement for his team.

He said: "Our facilities aren't good enough for us to go into the Premier League. We would have to improve the disabled access and we are planning for a new pavillion but we can't raise the funds straight away.

"We are just a small village side and there are lots of clubs bigger, but it will mean the world for us to win the title and it would be the pinnacle for us. We have never been in this position before but I'm not surprised we are doing well."

Bell realises the importance of tomorrow's game but knows there is still a long way to go in the title race.

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"It will probably be one of our hardest games so far," said Bell. "Exning are a good side, on a par with Copdock and we certainly need to be at our best. It is not make or break yet, but almost is. If we do win it gives us a bit of leeway at the top but as it is very tight it probably won't all be sorted out for four or five weeks."

Big-hitting batsman Mark Sproats will play after a verbal disagreement with an umpire during last week's game against Browns.

Unhappy at being given out leg before he made his feelings known as he walked from the square. Bell said: "Mark has apologised and as far as I am concerned the matter is over. He was frustrated because his chances of an innings have been few this year, and he wanted to do well."

Both Tattiingstone and Exning have won six games this season and another victory is vital to stay ahead of Copdock who are in second place.

Bell added: "We know Copdock have got a good side but a few of our players are bang in form. Ian Connell (who hit 62 and 106 in two days last weekend) is playing very well and has a good opening partnership with Stuart Hammond, while Steve Bell and Gavin Driver have been bowling well.

For their crucial game Tattingstone will be without three key players including Indian spinner Darshan Silvalkar who had to undergo an operation at the end of last week and is expected to be out for at least another week. Silvalkar has brought a 'new spinner dimension' to the team and also missing will be Ajit Achar and Hammond who is going on holiday.

Copdock, who this week parted company this week with their overseas player Nick Grover, would be expected to keep up the pressure by beating a Browns side who have disappointed so far.

The bottom two sides, Bury seconds and Braintree, meet on Saturday while Sudbury could still mount a title charge but will have to beat fifth placed Halstead to stay in contention. Halstead have already lost four times and cannot afford to lose too many more games as they look to win promotion back to the East Anglian Premier League.

Ipswich and East Suffolk could go top of Division Two if they beat Frinton and Coggeshall fail to pick up maximum points at Easton. With the top four sides playing against each other this means there is an opportunity for Elmstead Grasshoppers and Lakenheath to catch up and both should win at home against Witham and Worlington respectively.

Woolpit are well in front at the top of Division Three but St Margaret's in third are nicely placed to challenge for a promotion spot.

Division Four is the tightest of all the divisions with every side having been beaten at least three times. If any side could put a consistent run together of three or four victories then they would have a great chance of winning promotion. The best game in this division should be Sudbury seconds (top) against Wivenhoe seconds (third). Ipswich-based Achilles are currently in the bottom four but this is largely due to two games being void and will travel to Copdock seconds who are last.

N Suffolk's side for their three-day Minor Counties Championship match against Cumberland that starts at Bury St Edmunds on Monday is: P Caley, R Catley, T Catley, M Catley, I Morton, C Warn, K Shaw, C Swallow, T Smith, P King, James East. Clacton's Ian Morton will be making his Minor Counties debut.