CRICKET: Captain Jack’s best-ever century helps boost St Ives & Warboys title bid - but precious points still go begging

Overseas recruit Bernie Ruaro (left) and captain Jack Haycock (right) were in the runs as St Ives &

Overseas recruit Bernie Ruaro (left) and captain Jack Haycock (right) were in the runs as St Ives & Warboys beat Waresley. Picture: SUBMITTED - Credit: Archant

Captain Jack Haycock led by example with a career-best performance as St Ives & Warboys set their Cambs & Hunts Premier League challenge back on track last Saturday.

The table-toppers took command of the race for Whiting & Partners Division Two glory by seeing off fellow locals Waresley by 96 runs on a day when closest challengers Saffron Walden 2nds were surprisingly beaten at rock-bottom Castor & Ailsworth.

And opener Haycock was the star performer for St Ives & Warboys with a boundary-laden 120 off just 121 balls - an innings featuring 16 fours and four sixes.

The skipper was responsible for almost half of his side's total of 250-5 with Aussie ace Bernie Ruaro providing an excellent supporting role with 50.

St Ives & Warboys then restricted Waresley to 154-9 in reply although missing out on maximum points was a source of disappointment for Haycock.

Fine bowling from Chris Whitfield (4-45), Michael Speed (2-27) and Kevin Gilder (2-14) had Waresley in huge trouble at 74-8 after just 25 overs, but tail-ender Ben Evans mounted a rousing recovery with a rapid half-century, hitting 53 from 56 balls.

He eventually succumbed to the bowling of Matt Milner in the 45th over, but Jamie Baker (23no) and last man Terry Hayden dug deep to deny the hosts a final breakthrough. Baker doggedly faced 123 balls during his stubborn resistance.

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St Ives & Warboys now boast a 26-point cushion at the summit with two games to go - the first of which is a local derby at Huntingdon & District this Saturday - although Saffron Walden 2nds do boast a game in hand.

Haycock said: "It was a good day overall with us getting back to winning ways and Saffron Walden 2nds losing, but it would have been better still if we could have taken the final Waresley wicket.

"Those five extra points which we missed out on could still prove to be crucial as they would have allowed us to put the title back in our own hands.

"It was a pretty good pitch for batting and pleasing for me to get my best-ever score. We then bowled really well with the new ball and had Waresley eight wickets down at the halfway point of their innings, but fair play to the young lad (Baker) who dead-batted everything."

"Huntingdon is a tricky place for us to go historically and they have found some form lately so I'm sure it will be a very competitive game."

Haycock is not wrong about this weekend's opponents. Huntingdon & District have eased clear of the relegation zone with back-to-back successes against top-four teams.

The second of those arrived last Saturday when they triumphed at Cambridge St Giles by 68 runs with Jahanzaib Khan and Alec Yardley delivering impressive performances.

Khan top-scored with 81 as Navid Ahmed's side reached 209 before overseas ace Yardley bagged four wickets as the hosts were dismissed for 141.