Captain Jack Haycock wants an exciting new era for St Ives & Warboys to start with success.

Chris Whitfield is returning to action for the new St Ives & Warboys club this summer.Chris Whitfield is returning to action for the new St Ives & Warboys club this summer.

The two local clubs merged during the winter and Haycock is responsible for leading their first XI into battle in Whiting & Partners Division Two of the Cambs & Hunts Premier League.

He is convinced an excellent summer lies ahead, with title glory the target for a side who finished third – when simply known as St Ives – last term.

Haycock said: “It is a very exciting time for everyone.

“You're never quite certain how it will play out following a merger, but we've had more than 50 people at winter nets and the integration has been smooth on the social side as well.

“We now have strength in depth with a good blend of promising youngsters and experienced heads.

“There is so much competition for places throughout the club and the goal is promotion for all three of the Saturday teams.

“That's certainly the case for the first team and everyone is working in the same direction.

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“I felt we had the strongest team in the league last season, but we were let down by a lack of squad depth, which certainly won't be the case this year.

“It will be extremely challenging and there are plenty of local games to look forward to with Huntingdon & District, Waresley and Kimbolton all in the division.”

Haycock, who hit a ton in a pre-season friendly defeat to higher-level Histon last Saturday, has returned from a winter in Australia with an accomplice.

He has persuaded all-rounder Bernie Ruaro to follow him to Huntingdonshire after they played together Down Under with Ovens Valley United.

Highly-rated young batsman Ollie Stevens has made the switch from Ramsey while all-rounder Chris Whitfield – who starred for Warboys in the past - is back in action after taking a year out of the sport.

Left-arm spinner Kevin Gilder has been tempted to come out of semi-retirement to feature on a regular basis to provide an excellent bowling option.

The first competitive fixture of the St Ives & Warboys era is this Saturday when Castor & Ailsworth visit the One Leisure Outdoor Centre.

The new club will field four teams in total this summer with Matt Lavender skippering the 2nds in Division One North of the Cambs Junior League.

Jake Moore guides the 3rds in Division Four North while Kamal Ahmed takes the reins of the Sunday side in the Fenland Invitation Trophy.