The battle of the big guns in Cambs Division One turned out to be cannon against a peashooter.
Wisbech blasted their way to 307-7 in their 50 overs at Harecroft Road, but Ramsey could only muster 142 in reply. A whopping 165-run win for the home side against a team expected to challenge them for the top honours.
Wisbech skipper Gary Freear led from the front with a run-a-ball 106, while Ramsey’s captain Michael Cafferkey didn’t lead at all. He was suspended for a team disciplinary offence held over from last season.
“It was a great win,” Freear enthused. “I expected a tight game on a belting wicket and I honestly wasn’t sure if we had scorde enough runs. They actually started their innings very well, but we got on top and stayed there. Maybe one year the Peterborough Telegraph won’t write us off before the season starts!”
Freear and Danny Haynes (54) put on 122 for the first Wisbech wicket. Josh Bowers (50) and Jamie Gollands (30) also scored well before Kiwi import Parth Patel - an Ajaz Akhtar clone from 10 years ago according to Freear - bowled well for 3-28 on his debut. Silas Mutubaki and Paul Edgeller also claimed three wickets apiece.
Ketton won the other local argument at Nassington convincingly and, predictably, Lions captain Rob Vitas was keen to take his share of the credit.
“It was a bit of a green top, but I decided to bat first,” Vitas, who is celebrating a 10th year of inspirational captaincy, revealed. “At 77-5 I didn’t look that smart, but it turned out to be a good decision.”
Matt Milner (54) and James Gallimore (44) added 67 for the sixth Ketton wicket before a late burst from Bengali Iresh Saxena (26) helped Ketton up to 213.
Saxene and Milner also claimed two wickets for Ketton, but bowling honours belonged to debutant off-spinner Tom Sole who returned figures of 5-31.
Sole was signed from ace Northants League club Finedon in the summer. “He didn’t bowl much for them,” Vitas added. “But I like to think I can spot a talent.”
March Town, promoted last season, lost their opening top-flight game by 76 runs at home to Histon despite a five-wicket haul for Matthew Vail.
It was a batting tale of woe for the two local teams in Division Two with Castor making just 80 on the way to a seven-wicket defeat at Burwell seconds and Ufford Park reaching just 66 at home to Blunham who lost six wickets themselves before scrambling home. Joe Harrington and Paul Bentley grabbed three wickets apiece for Ufford.
“The toss was crucial,” said Ufford skipper Andy Larkin. “And I lost it.”
Teenager Stuart Dockerill claimed all three wickets for Castor as the pre-season confidence shown by skipper Reece Smith came back to haunt him.
MARCH lost to HISTON by 76 runs
Histon 214 (A. Dixon 55, A. Yates 41, M. Vail 5-19, C. Bricker 3-39, S. Mills 2-50).
March 138 (T. Phillips 42, B. Phillips 38, S. Mills 27, B. Leach 3-45).
NASSINGTON lost to KETTON by 87 runs
Ketton 213 (M. Milner 54, J. Gallimore 44, I. Saxena 26, C. Craig 3-42, T. Norman 2-48).
Nassington 126 (D. Bandaranaike 35, A. Laud 29, T. Sole 5-31, M. Milner 2-14, I. Saxena 2-19).
WISBECH beat RAMSEY by 165 runs
Wisbech 307-7 (G. Freear 106, D. Haynes 54, J. Bowers 50, J. Gollands 30, J. Williams 26, J. Cade 3-55, R. Smith 2-52, K. Ikhlaq 2-67).
Ramsey 142 (I. Love 22, T. West 21, S. Mutubaki 3-16, P. Patel 3-28, P. Edgeller 3-32).
BURWELL 2nds beat CASTOR by 7 wkts
Burwell 81-3 (S. Dockerill 3-35)
UFFORD PARK lost to BLUNHAM by 4 wkts
Ufford Park 66 (M. Benson 4-17).
Blunham 66-6 (J. Harrington 3-16, P. Bentley 3-27).