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Newmarket Cricket Club captain Mark Nunn calls for big improvements during second half of the season

They may have made the ‘worst possible start imaginable’ to 2023, but skipper Mark Nunn has challenged his Newmarket side to make amends during the second half of the season.

The Stampede are yet to win any of their Whitings LLP Cambs & Hunts Premier League Division One encounters this term and along with March Town have been somewhat cut adrift at the foot of the table.

Speaking after their most recent defeat – a 162-run loss at Eaton Socon – Nunn said: “We’ve made the worst possible start imaginable. In truth we’ve been second best in pretty much every game.

“It feels like we’re chasing in every game at the moment. When we bat first we’re not setting big enough scores and teams are chasing it down, even if we get a few wickets.

“And then when the roles are reversed and other teams bat first, they are scoring 250-plus and it’s proving too much.

“It feels like we’re always behind the eight ball at the moment and are having too much to do in each game.”

Yet while their current situation looks precarious, Nunn believes one victory could change the whole complexion of Newmarket’s season.

They host Old Leysians on Saturday (12pm), after which they will have reached the campaign’s halfway point.

He added: “I don’t want to be too negative because you’ve got to remember as a club we’ve only been going three years and just two of those have been in Division One.

“We don’t have the foundations that other clubs have and also not the youth section and things like that.

“But I also don’t want to be making excuses. We haven’t been good enough and that is something we need to change if we’re going to stay up.

“Obviously we need wins for that to happen. That’s easier said then done with our form but if we can get that one win then it will do wonders for our confidence.

“There’s a way to lose games and if you’ve been competitive and shown plenty of fight and come up short, that’s fair enough.

“We’ve not shown enough of that, but I know we’ve got plenty of good players and if we can just get off the mark, it will make a massive difference.”

Against Eaton Socon, Newmarket were made to toil in the field as the hosts’ captain Jonathon Carpenter (134) and Ethan Rice (96) put on a partnership of more than 200 runs to swing the game largely in their side’s favour.

Shohel Ahmed (4-70) was the visitors’ leading wicket taker on the day, but Newmarket’s reply got off to the worst start when opener Bertie Scott was dismissed without a run being scored.

As it was, winter addition Udana Ranathunga (37) top scored alongside knocks of 27 and 25 from Ahmed and Nunn respectively.

Meanwhile, the club has confirmed that their annual match against the Racing & Trainers XI will take place on Sunday, July 16, at Dullingham Cricket Club.

The likes of George Boughey, James Ferguson and Charlie Fellowes are all set to feature in the encounter.