CRICKET: Table-topping St Ives & Warboys enjoying a successful alliance ahead of derby date against bottom side Huntingdon & District
- Credit: Archant
St Ives & Warboys are enjoying an excellent start to life in the Cambs & Hunts Premier League.
The two local clubs merged during the winter and it has proved to be a particularly successful alliance, with their first XI roaring to the top of the standings.
Jack Haycock's men collected a fifth win in their opening seven Whiting & Partners Division Two fixtures when triumphing by four wickets at fellow locals Kimbolton last Saturday.
It was a pleasing success made all the more impressive given St Ives & Warboys were without four of their leading bowlers.
Matt Wells, Nick Kumpukkal, Chris Whitfield and Shaun Asplin all missed the short trip, but a five-wicket haul from Matt Dack ensured they weren't missed.
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His 5-35 display helped remove the hosts for 168, with Ollie Stevens and Aussie import Bernie Ruaro also claiming a couple of wickets apiece.
Ruaro then added 29 with the bat as St Ives & Warboys eased to victory with a top-scoring contribution of 37 from youngster Jack Ranganathan.
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"It was a really satisfying win considering we had our four main seamers missing," said Haycock. "To bowl Kimbolton out in 40 overs was an amazing effort.
"Matt is bowling as well as I've ever seen him bowl and others like Ollie and Jack also stepped up with the ball.
"We've put ourselves in a good position and it looks like ourselves and Saffron Walden 2nds could fight it out for the title."
St Ives & Warboys face a potential banana skin this Saturday when hosting local rivals Huntingdon & District, 12.30pm.
The two teams might only be six miles apart in terms of geography, but there is already a gap of more than 100 points between them in the Division Two table.
While St Ives & Warboys are setting the pace at the summit, Huntingdon & District currently bring up the rear after failing to taste victory so far in 2019.
They were beaten by Stamford by three wickets last Saturday after reaching 217 thanks mainly to a fine opening stand of 125 between Nomi Khan (91) and Sheraz Ali (34). Skipper Navid Ahmed also added 43 from the lower order.
But their total was eclipsed by the visitors with four overs to spare despite the best efforts of Craig Leigh, Kaif Iqbal and Jahanzib Khan, who bagged two wickets apiece.
Ahmed said: "I'm not at all worried about being bottom as we were in the same situation at this stage of last season and came through to finish in a very strong fourth position.
"We have been playing good cricket and we should have won all five of our games, but we just haven't been able to make sure the crucial moments go our way.
"Hopefully we can put a result on the board and that will then set us off."