CRICKET: From traffic jam to main man as Kumpukkal is in great ‘Nick’ during vital St Ives & Warboys victory

St Ives CC v Huntingdon & District CC, St Ives bowler Nick Kumpukkal

St Ives CC v Huntingdon & District CC, St Ives bowler Nick Kumpukkal - Credit: Archant

Nick Kumpukkal had to negotiate a traffic jam before ensuring St Ives & Warboys remained on the road to Cambs & Hunts Premier League promotion.

The all-rounder starred with bat and ball in a 21-run victory against Blunham in Whiting & Partners Division Two last Saturday.

St Ives & Warboys were in dire straits at 14-4 when Kumpukkal eventually arrived at the St Ivo Outdoor Centre, but he hit an impressive 61 to steer them to a respectable total of 141 with Ricky Greiller adding a valuable 36.

And Kumpukkal's stunning exploits with the ball - as he bagged a career-best 6-31 - ensured it was successfully defended.

Matt Wells also chipped in with 3-37 in his side's sixth win from seven completed games this term.

"Nick got held up in traffic on the A14 and were in a lot of trouble on a green pitch when he arrived," admitted St Ives & Warboys captain Jack Haycock.

"He was rushed straight into bat and after giving himself a bit of time to settle in, he decided attack was the best form of defence.

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"We had a couple of our seamers missing so I also gave Nick the new ball. He got into a rhythm and bowled superbly.

"He had the ball swinging both ways at pace and his figures show he was virtually unplayable.

"It was brilliant to see him claim the hat-trick and he would have had four wickets in four balls but for a dropped catch at second slip!

"The main thing was getting the result, though, and it keeps us on track for the title and promotion."

St Ives & Warboys handed a debut to new signing Matt Milner against Blunham.

Milner, who has just moved into the area, arrives from higher-level Peterborough Town and also helped Ketton win the Whiting & Partners Division One title a couple of years ago.

"Matt has fitted in really well and will be a great addition for us," added Haycock. "He brings a lot of experience and will be good for us on and off the pitch."

Second-placed St Ives & Warboys trail leaders Cambridge St Giles by four points at the halfway stage of the campaign.

Haycock's men face another crucial home clash this Saturday as they entertain a Stamford Town side currently sitting third in the standings.

It was a good day for Wells family as two other members helped St Ives & Warboys 3rds to glory. Dad Richard (4-12) and son Daniel (2-3) - who are both seamers - were among the wickets as their table-topping side saw off Milton 3rds by 35 runs in Division Four North of the Cambs Junior League.

A top contribution of 40 from Simon Pawley helped the locals to a tally of 127 before they dismissed the hosts for 92.