Cricket: Bruce satisfied that Town have enough strength in depth to win another title

Chris Milner of Peterborough Town on his way to a crucial 47 against Oundle. Photo: David Lowndes.
Chris Milner of Peterborough Town on his way to a crucial 47 against Oundle. Photo: David Lowndes.

Peterborough Town skipper Lewis Bruce believes his side have proved they don’t need paid players to be successful in the Northants Premier Division.

Bruce described last weekend’s 43-run win over local rivals Oundle as the most satisfying result of the season.

It was achieved without professional all-rounder Paul McMahon and with a negligible contribution from professional batsman Asim Butt.

Town recovered from 74-7 and 96-8 to post 166 thanks to a mature innings of 47 from number eight Chris Milner who put on 68 for the ninth wicket with Jamie Smith (22no)

Bruce (6-24) and Joe Dawborn (4-42) then claimed all 10 Oundle wickets between them. The visitors to Bretton Gate were also under-strength, but they missed seamer Bashrat Hussain and hard-hitting batsman Zeeshan Manzoor more than Town missed McMahon.

Town are now just five points behind unbeaten leaders Rushden ahead of this Saturday’s (July 25) match at Brixworth.

“The win against Oundle was one of the best of the season,” Bruce insisted. “It was certainly the most satisfying.

“Paul McMahon offers so much with bat and ball every week he will always be missed so to grind out a win like we did without him was very pleasing.

“There were times during the game when things looked bleak for us, but we kept going and we kept battling and we deserved our win.

“Chris Milner batted very sensibly and he and Jamie gave us something to bowl at.

“We have strength in depth at this club and it’s a major reason why we have been so successful in recent seasons. It’s important that we prove we don’t rely on one or two players every game.

“Tim Young and Marcus Howard have delivered match-winning innings for us this season and Kieran Jones took crucial wickets in the very important win over Finedon.

“We have lost some quality players in the last few years, but we keep winning games.

“It’s getting tighter at the top by the week and all we can do is keep winning matches and therefore keep Rushden under pressure.

“I’d expect us to get a positive result at Brixworth, but they are the only team to stop Rushden winning this season when they managed to reach 300 on their own ground so they must be respected.”

McMahon has managed to force his way back into the side this weekend. Daniel Oldham is expected to make way.

Town’s Rutland League form has not been so spectacular this season.

Town have won Division One on four of the last five seasons, but they have fielded mainly young, inexperienced teams this season and are only just outside the relegation zone.

They lost to Nassington last weekend after losing Milner and Howard to the first two balls of their innings!

Former Town seamer Haroon Bashir was the bowler and he went on to return figures of 6-26 as Nassington won the match by 108 runs.

Town were eventually dismissed for just 91.