CRICKET: New St Ives skipper wants to see smiles back on faces; new Huntingdon & District skipper is aiming to maintain progress

Jack Haycock has taken over as St Ives captain.

Jack Haycock has taken over as St Ives captain. - Credit: Archant

It’s all about enjoyment for new St Ives skipper Jack Haycock this summer.

Navid Ahmed is the new captain of Huntingdon & District.

Navid Ahmed is the new captain of Huntingdon & District. - Credit: Archant

The local club return to Whiting & Partners Division Two after a miserable one-season stay in the top flight with Haycock inheriting the captaincy from Ricky Greiller.

St Ives managed only one 2017 win as they finished rock-bottom after earning promotion in the previous campaign, but Haycock is certain a much better campaign lies ahead.

Haycock said: “We’re just looking to enjoy our cricket again and hopefully win plenty of games after having such a tough year in Division One.

“It will be difficult to win promotion with only the champions going up, but we’re hoping we can challenge for a finish in the top four.

“We have a really young team who learned a lot last summer and I’m confident we will win a lot more than we lose. We’ll see plenty of individual highlights too.”

St Ives begin with a home date against Hunts League champions Stamford this Staurday while fellow locals Huntingdon & District also begin their season on home turf.

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They entertain Saffron Walden 2nds at St Peters Road and are also under the leadership of a new captain. Navid Ahmed has taken on the role from Craig Leigh, who will continue to play but is expecting a child during the summer.

Veteran batsman and spinner Martin Burton is back after helping Kimbolton to promotion last term. Opener Faisal Javed is another new addition who will be expected to contribute plenty of runs.

South African all-rounder Graham Hudson returns for a second campaign as the club’s overseas player.

Ahmed said: “We have a very balanced squad and we’re hoping to play some good, hard cricket whilst also blooding some of the young talents we have at the club.

“We were fifth last season and we’re hoping to finish in a similar or better position this summer.”

While only the title-winners will go up, the bottom three will all be relegated as the league structure is tweaked to allow for the creation of a Whiting & Partners Division Three in 2019.

That division will also feature the top three finishers in Division One of the two feeder leagues – the Hunts League and the Cambs Senior League.