Australian all-rounder Matt Wilcox turned in another match-winning performance with seven wickets for 29 as March romped to a five-wicket win over strugglers Ickwell on Saturday.
It was Wilcox’s best bowling performance since arriving here at the start of last season and one can only wonder where March would be without him this season.
The 20-point haul increases March’s lead at the top of the Cambs Tucker Premier Division with rivals Foxton and Camden both losing. They now have a 27-point lead at the top over Godmanchester.
Skipper Chris Ringham won the toss and decided to put Ickwell into bat on a greenish wicket. The move soon paid off with Ickwell losing two wickets in the first two overs.
They continued to struggle against Wilcox and Ringham two for 33 and were eventually bowled out for 82 in 26.1 overs, David Hodson taking three catches behind the stumps.
March to their cost tried to win in the game in a rush and lost openers Shadul Brahmbhatt and Hodson very quickly and in consequence lost five wickets including a rare duck for Wilcox, but still managed to reach the winning target in 13.2 overs.
This was mainly down to Carl Chapman who continued his good run of form with a very good 40 including two sixes as March finished on 84 for five.
Ringham commented: “The intention was to go for the 25 points but when I saw the wicket I spoke with Matt and decided to put them in.
“Matt bowled very well to take the seven wickets and with only 82 to reach it should have been a lot easier.
“Trouble was some batsmen felt it was too easy and we lost five wickets. But we got there in the end and took 20 points while others near us dropped points.
“We have four tough games against Camden, Sawston, Godmanchester and Ramsey coming up and I would be quite happy if we were rained off. But if we still have a lead at the top after those games I will be delighted.”
On Saturday March are at Camden with a full strength squad as Jon Gilson and Matty Vail return.
Rob Moden was in stunning form for March seconds hitting an undefeated 129 as they enjoyed a 36-run victory over fellow promoted Great Shelford at The Avenue in CCA Senior League Division 1.
The right-handed opener shared in a magnificent third-wicket stand of 155 with skipper John Wallis, who hit a seasonal best 59 in the total of 238-4.
Callum Young also produced his best performance of the summer taking five wickets for 46 runs. And with Brian Tombs rolling back the years with a 2-24 spell – his first bowl for two years – the visitors were restricted to 202-8.
To make it a very good day for the club March thirds ended a dismal run of four defeats in CCA Junior League Division 2A.
Stuart Fox returned his best figures of the campaign with a 6-30 haul and Nick Peck blasted 85 not out in the six-wicket win at Little Downham. Bottom of the table March were excellent in the field, with off-spinner Fox the stand-out player.
Peck then teamed up with teenager Nathan Foad and they produced a match-winning partnership of 117 for the third wicket, as the home team dropped six catches. Foad went on to make 52, with the winning runs recorded with seven balls to spare.
To complete a four-timer for March, the fourth team had a very easy 179-run victory over Bar Hill seconds in CCA Junior League Division 5A, at the Neale-Wade.
Veteran opening bat Dennis Furnell 76 and teenager Brett Tinnion 56 produced a terrific opening stand of 119 as March went on to reach 267 for five, with Manuj Patel 38 and Daniel Woods 34 also contributing.
Vice-skipper James Shepherd picked up a wicket with the first ball of the Bar Hill innings, on his way to three for 17, with his opening partner Josh Watson upstaging him with a very good spell of five for 21, as the visitors were shot out for 88.
There was a free weekend for the club on Sunday, as no fixtures were programmed.