CRICKET PREVIEW: Town will bounce back at bottom club

Ajaz Akhtar in action for Peterborough Town.

Ajaz Akhtar in action for Peterborough Town.

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Peterborough Town skipper David Clarke insists the Northants Premier Division title is still within reach.

Town were beaten by two wickets by Finedon last weekend - a second successive defeat at the hands of title rivals. The city side are now third, 29 points behind leaders Old Northamptonians and 17 points behind Finedon.

David Sayer is battling against injury.

David Sayer is battling against injury.

But Clarke claims his side can still contend for top spot providing they find greater consistency with bat and ball.

He is demanding an immediate improvement for the trip to bottom club Wellingborough tomorrow (July 2), a fixture that marks the halfway point of the season.

“We keep making the same mistakes week in, week out,” Clarke moaned.

“We are not applying ourselves well enough with the bat to make the scores we need and we are not bowling with enough discipline.

“Somehow we are still in touch at the top. Leaders Old Northamptonians were rained off last weekend and they play Finedon tomorrow so we will be making up some ground on one of them as long as we beat Wellingborough.

“We should be capable of that. Wellingborough won for the first time this season last weekend, but they are everyone’s favourites for relegation.

“We are capable of playing much better and I would expect a much-improved second half of the season.

“We have to keep going. We are working hard, but the performance level must improve.”

Clarke shook his batting order up for the Finedon game and he may make a few positional changes again tomorrow with the experiment of using Ajaz Akhtar as an opener possibly coming to an end.

Town have a few fitness issues to resolve ahead of the game. Fast bowler David Sayer is suffering with shin splints and aggressive batsman Tim Young has been carrying a hamstring injury.

Town host Bourne in the Jaidka Cup Final tonight (6pm, Bretton Gate). The final was washed out without a ball being bowled on Wednesday (June 29).

Town stars Lewis Bruce, Joe Dawborn and Asim Butt will all play for Cambs in their Unicorns Championship fixture against Suffolk at Copdock for three days from Sunday.

Big game in the Lincs Premier Division tomorrow sees third-placed Market Deeping travel to leaders Sleaford. Bourne host Louth.

Cambs Division One leaders Nassington are at home to third-placed Ramsey (12.30pm).

FORTHCOMING FIXTURES

Friday July 1

JAIDKA CUP

(6pm) Final: Peterborough Town v Bourne.

Saturday, July 2

NORTHANTS LEAGUE

(noon) Premier Division: Oundle v Brixworth, Wellingborough v Peterborough Town.

(1pm) Division One: Peterborough Town 2nds v East Haddon.

Division Three: Brixworth 2nds v Oundle 2nd.

Division Eight: Oundle 2nds v Earls Barton.

LINCS PREMIER DIVISION

(noon): Bourne v Louth, Sleaford v Market Deeping.

CAMBS LEAGUE

(12.30pm) Division One: Eaton Socon v Ketton, Nassington v Ramsey, Wisbech v Burwell 2nds.

Division Two: Fordham v Ufford Park, Sawston v March, St Ives v Newborough.

SOUTH LINCS LEAGUE

(1.30pm) Premier Division: Long Sutton v Bourne 2nds, Market Deeping 2nds v Belton Park, Woodhall Spa 2nds v Stamford.

Division One: Spalding 2nds v Baston, W Cavaliers v Billingborough 2nds.

Division Two: Belton Park 2nds v Pinchbeck, Claypole v Long Sutton 2nds.

(1pm) League Cup: Moulton Harrox v Freiston.

HUNTS LEAGUE

(1pm) Division One: Ramsey 2nds v Castor, Southill Park v Hampton, Stamford v Burghley Park.

Division Two: AK 11 v Peterborough Town 3rds, Orton Park v Blunham 2nds.

Division Three: Hampton 2nds v Biggleswade, Newborough 2nds v Ramsey 3rds, Upwood v Sawtry.

Division Four: Blunham 3rds v Falcon, Brampton v King’s Keys, Bretton v Hemingford Park, Castor 2nds v Burghley Park 2nds, Ketton 2nds v Orton Park 2nds.

Sunday, July 3

UNICORNS CHAMPIONSHIP

(11am) Eastern Division: Suffolk v Cambs (3 days at Copdock).

RUTLAND LEAGUE

(1.30pm) Division One: Market Deeping v Nassington, Peterborough Town v Bourne, Ufford Park v Barnack, Uppingham v Oundle, Wisbech v Stamford.

Division Two: Ketton v Grantham, King’s Keys v Whittlesey, March v Oakham, Medbourne v Castor, Uffington v Newborough.

Division Three: Stewart & Lloyds v Bretton, Werrington v East Carlton.

Division Four: Bourne 2nds v Kimbolton, Easton v Hampton, Loddington v Orton Park, Nassington 2nds v Thrapston.

Division Five: Alconbury v Sawtry, Benefield v Uppingham 2nds, Castor 2nds v M Deeping 2nds, Weldon 2nds v Peterboro’ Town 2nds.

Division Six: Huntingdon v Ufford Park 2nds, Long Sutton 2nds v Orton Park 2nds, Moulton Harrox 2nds v Hampton 2nds, Newborough 2nds v Uffington 2nds.

HUNTS LEAGUE

(1pm) Division Five: Sheikh v St Ives.

Monday July 4-Friday July 8

BURGHLEY SIXES

(6pm) First round:

Monday, July 4: Stamford v Oundle, Laxton v Nassington, Empingham v Ketton.

Tuesday, July: Burghley Park v Mkt Overton, Uffington v Ufford Park, Barnack v Uppingham.

Wednesday, July 6: Newborough v Castor, Baston v Oakham plus first quarter-final.

Thursday, July 7: Three quarter-finals.

Friday, July 8: Semi-finals and final.