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Histon Cricket Club experience a winter of comings and goings ahead of season opener against Sawston & Babraham II.

It has been a ‘testing and tough’ off-season for newly-appointed Histon captain Ben Leach.

Following a 2023 campaign in which Histon won eight of their 22 Oynx League Division One fixtures, the winter months have seen plenty of comings and goings.

Opening up on the situation, Leach said: “Last season was one of the most difficult since I’ve been at the club.

Histon CC captain Ben Leach. Picture: Keith Heppell
Histon CC captain Ben Leach. Picture: Keith Heppell

“Once the club had secured its Division One status, the priority became ensuring that the second and third teams avoided relegation.

“We managed to do that, so in those terms it was a success, but it was very much a season of transition.

“Since then it’s been a testing few months and a real tough winter. We’ve been rebuilding with a number of players leaving.

“As a club, keeping the first team in Division One is always the priority and that will be the case again this season.”

Despite all of the uncertainty, one thing Histon can be assured of is the fact that they have a skipper with plenty of experience.

Leach has taken over the responsibility from Ed Hyde, who is unable to commit enough time due to work, although he will continue to play.

And Leach is far from a stranger to the role, having previously skippered Histon and Longstanton.

“I’ve done it a few times over the years now and it’s something I’m used to,” added Leach.

“Ed has been promoted at work and so he asked me if I could do it with him still helping out in the background.

“I don’t mind doing it and I think it suits me. I’m used to being busy in my work life and finding a balance.”

While Leach is confident in his own ability to juggle the captaincy alongside his playing duties, what he is unsure of presently is just how competitive the side at his disposal will be.

With players heading for pastures new, fresh faces have been recruited, including overseas all-rounder Dan Cummins and Cameron Mitchell from Foxton Granta.

“It’s a bit of an unknown with the new players we have coming in and it might take a few games to find out exactly where we are at,” said Leach.

“But we’ve definitely had some quality players join and we’ve got some good young players as well. We’ve also kept Henry Wilson from the clutches of other teams and he’s one of the best young batters I’ve seen for a while.

“Then when you throw in some of the older heads like Ed Hyde and John Turner, there is plenty to hopefully be excited about.

“We’ve got quality, but we’ll see where that takes us after five or six games. I’m quietly confident that we’ll have a competitive group but how far that is going to take us, I think we’ll only know after a few matches.”

Histon will begin their 2024 campaign on Saturday (20 April) when they make the journey to the Spicers Sports Ground to lock horns with Sawston & Babraham II.

And they warmed up for that encounter last weekend with a four-wicket friendly victory at Eaton Socon.

After winning the toss and opting to field first, Histon restricted the hosts to 190-6 from their 50 overs.

Histon shared the wickets around as John Turner, Amit Raj Gandhi, Tom Newman, Henry Wilson and overseas addition Cummins all took one apiece, alongside Turner also running out Eaton Socon batsmen Joe Dawborn.

In reply, Wilson spearheaded Histon’s charge to victory at the top of the order with a knock of 59 runs from only 38 deliveries.

Fellow opener Fergus Hughes also weighed in with a useful 39 as the pair put on 85 runs for the first wicket.

Lower down the order, Hyde’s unbeaten 23 – which included one six – got the away side over the winning line in 38.3 overs.

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