KEARSLEY captain Cameron Murray has hailed the early season impact of new signing Adeel Baig.

Murray was speaking after the Hamer Cup champions got the defence of their trophy off to a winning start with a 10-wicket demolition of Association strugglers Daisy Hill, chasing a second round target of 62 in just seven overs.

But Murray, whose side were awarded a first round bye, is fully aware there will be tougher challenges ahead over the next couple of months in the quarter-final and beyond.

Baig, signed from Atherton over the winter, took the new ball and claimed 3-12 from four overs for the visitors, while professional Imran Khalid added 3-6 from 3.5 and Peter Morris struck twice.

In reply, Khalid smashed three sixes in an unbeaten 41 off 30 balls, while Chris Baxendale supported him with 16 not out.

Baig is forming a potent partnership with prolific quick Mohammed Jameel, who returned 1-2 from five overs as the hosts were skittled inside 23 overs, with six batsmen falling for ducks.

The new recruit has now taken 13 wickets from seven matches and has also chipped in with a half-century after two seasons at Atherton.

Murray, whose side have won three and lost only one from six Premiership league games and are also in contention in the T20, said: “Everything went to plan. All areas of the game, we played really well.

“We’ve started well this season.

“If we’d have got the fourth win in the league, which we should have against Farnworth, it would have been perfect. But we’re happy with how things have gone. If you look at the scorecards, there’s only really been Mo Jameel and Adeel who have stood out.

"Everyone else has spread the performances around, which is good to see.

“Adeel’s been top class. He’s proved to be a really good signing with bat and ball. With losing Dave Mather to Farnworth Social Circle, we needed an opening bowler.

"He came in off a good season last year, and it was a bonus that he could bat.

"That’s something Dave didn’t have, and he’s made our middle to lower order a lot stronger. It’s a big plus that he’s done well in the league before, and it’s great to have him in the team.”

Murray says last year’s Hamer Cup triumph, beating Farnworth in the final, was a significant moment for his players, and the Australian would love to go back-to-back, something last achieved in 1998 and 1999 by Bradshaw.

“It’s the main cup in the league, and everyone wants to win it,” he added.

“We’d not had a taste of success for a good number of years before winning the Peter Stafford in 2017, and we showed a lot of improvement winning the Hamer Cup last year.

"It really showed what we can do and achieve. It definitely boosted morale.

"As captain, it would be nice to win it again. To say you’ve done that would be pretty special. I’m sure the lads would say the same.”

With rain playing its part again on Sunday, any rearranged games have yet to be confirmed.