Captain Williams’ delight after shock return helps Wisbech dent March’s title hopes

WISBECH’S inspirational captain James Williams made a shock return to cricket on Saturday to help his side dent the title hopes of fierce rivals March.

Williams, who had been sidelined for more than two months with a shoulder injury, hit 25 as Wisbech stunned the Tucker Gardner Premier Division leaders by romping to a six-wicket victory at The Avenue.

“They didn’t have a clue that I was going to play,” he said. “I didn’t get the all-clear until Thursday night - you should have seen the smile on my face when the physio said I could play.

“To absolutely annihilate March in my first game back was brilliant. On Saturday, we played like we had done for the last two years.

“That’s the performance we had wanted and it’s better late than never.”

Tom Bourne (3-35) took the vital early wicket of Australian star Matt Wilcox before spinner Craig Johnson (5-34) helped dismiss March for 149 on a bowler-friendly track.

In reply, David Wood (61) was well supported by Henry Rosier (29) as ruthless Wisbech cut March’s lead at the top to just one point with three games left.

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“We all know that March is a grudge match so everyone picks up their game,” said Williams, whose team sit in ninth place after a disappointing season.

“March have had a good year and they’ve done well with the squad they’ve got. But it was nice to put a dent in their title hopes - like they’ve been trying to do to us in previous years.

“We didn’t have anything to play for - we were pretty much safe before Saturday - so we were just playing for pride and the will to beat March. We were all buzzing.”

Williams, who will not bowl until next season, said the club had moved quickly to re-sign former overseas star Sam Brandon for next year’s campaign.

He said: “Next year we are looking to rebuild and get back up near the top of the league where we belong.”

Wisbech travel to Ickwell tomorrow while March visit title rivals Godmanchester.

The Wisbech captain added: “March have got a tough run-in but, to be honest, I’d quite like to see them win the league.”