Adrian Rose, captain of Huntingdon & District II on Saturday, paid tribute to his team’s younger players after an opening day tie at Blunham II in Division Three of the Hunts County Bats League.
Rose, who took three wickets for 30 runs, was the last man out for his team as they chased 176, reached exactly that, and then failed to get over the line.
Winning the toss, on a damp track, Rose put Blunham into bat and the home side got off to a good start, but the bowling of Rose and new signing Khaqan Arsal (3-23) slowed up the run rate and a good spell from Alistair George, who took four wickets for 14 runs on his return from a two-year break, did the rest.
In reply, Huntingdon got off to a flying start with Arsal scoring an excellent 75 but falling in the 15th over. At 100 for six, Huntingdon were in trouble, but youngsters Joe Wyatt (26), Ross Puckey (21) and Charlie Nelson (11) did enough to claw the team back into the game with Blunham putting everything into their attack on 176 to take the final two wickets without the loss of further runs.
“Rose told The Hunts Post: “The game was played in a good nature with both sides enjoying the tension that the game brought.
“I was really impressed and I am really proud of my youth players and especially the way Joe Wyatt and Ross Puckey batted together to nearly win the game.
“I hope they are proud of themselves also as they showed some senior players on both sides how to bat under pressure.
“I am disappointed we didn’t win for the youngsters but like I said I am extremely proud of them.”
In the same Division, Upwood were beaten by eight wickets in their opening day fixture at home to Bharat Sports.
Despite Steve Tuffin’s knock of 39, Upwood were all out for 119 and their visitors needed just 19.2 overs to put on 124 with a flourish at the end.
In Division One, Steve Marsh took four wickets as Godmanchester Town II restricted Burghley Park to 108 all out in their opening fixture – and then top scored with 41 as his side cruised to victory.
Marsh, 4-43, was ably assisted by team-mates Adam Rendall (3-24) and James Rice (3-26) as Godmanchester put on 109 for the loss of just five wickets.
Ramsey II were beaten by three wickets at home to Southill Park in their first game despite some good knocks from Damian Clarke (43), Adam Taylor (35) and Tim Burns (32) and Vince Woodward claiming four wickets for 55 runs.
Ramsey, batting first, put on a reasonable 193-9 from their 45 overs but in reply Southill reached their target with just eight balls remaining but only seven wickets down.
Eaton Socon II’s game at Nassington was cancelled along with the fixture between Hampton and Ickwell.
In Division Two, Sawtry’s game at AK XI was a victim of the weather, as was Warboys III’s home game against Yaxley II in Division Four.
In the first Hunts derby of the season, Buckden II just pipped Little Paxton to a three-run win when they bowled the home side all out for 101.
Dan Coles did the damage with both the bat and the ball as he top scored with 27 in Buckden’s fairly miserable innings of 104, but then took five wickets for 14 runs as Paxton were stopped in their tracks for just 101, despite a knock of 30 by Dan Jenkins. Adam Long, the Paxton captain, took five wickets for 17 runs on the disappointing day.
In the same division, Ramsey III won their first game of the season by 95 runs when Great Staunghton suffered a dramatic collapse after restricting the home side to 143 all out.
Captain Curtis Gallagher (4-13) and Shaun Robinson (4-37) certainly did their bit to restrict Ramsey but it was the batting line-up who couldn’t cope and the team were all out for a miserly 48 off 21.5 overs.
All 10 of the wickets were taken by just two Ramsey bowlers with seamer Josh Bailey (5-18) and spinner Sam Wilson (5-17) impressing their captain.
Harry Buddle said: “We hope to challenge for the league but mainly our aim is to play genuine third team players and help them progress and challenge for a spot in the twos.”
Great Staunghton’s Gallagher was less impressed. “We showed pockets of resistance but crumbled in the end,” he said.
“There was a good late flourish from David Bonham  but that was never going to get us anywhere near their total.
“Good batting from the lower order for Ramsey and good bowling masked a decent bowling attack from us.”