Ajaz Akhtar thought he’d seen it all in his illustrious 30-year career in local cricket.
But apparently not. Peterborough Town were bowled out for just 64 in a Northants Premier Division match at Stony Stratford today (April 30), and yet never looked like losing.
Remarkably the hosts were shot out for 48 in reply with Jamie Smith, an often unheralded mainstay of the Town bowling attack, returning outstanding figures, even for a green-tinged searmer’s paradise, of 6-6 from 10 overs. Town won by 16 runs in a match that lasted under 50 overs during which just three batsmen reached double figures. Extras were the second top scorer in both innings.
So was the wicket completely unplayable? Not according to Akhtar, whose own innings of eight opening the innings looked a mighty innings at the close of play.
“It wasn’t easy and there were some unplayable balls delivered,” Akhtar stated. “But the ball wasn’t leaping off a length or shooting along the floor.
“The problem is batsmen lack patience these days. They are spoilt by wickets that are covered all week and they go into every game thinking they have to score runs off every ball.
“When I started playing cricket this wicket wouldn’t have been seen as that bad, but all the batsmen on both sides just moaned about it all afternoon.
“It was a great win in the circumstances, and Jamie Smith was superb, but we will have to play much better if we are to challenge for the title this season.”
David Sayer top scored with 13 in Town’s 64 and his seventh-wicket stand of 21 with Chris Milner (11) proved crucial.
Stony were reduced to 30-8 before rallying late on, but Smith was irrepressible and had figures of 6-3 at one point.
Joe Dawborn (3-39) bowled unchanged with Smith from the start, while the final wicket to fall confirmed what a strange day it was as Akhtar pulled off a run out - something he reckons he last achieved in 1996.
STONY STRATFORD lost PETERBOROUGH TOWN by 16 runs
A. Akhtar c Pretorius b Anwar 8
D. Clarke c Anwar b Strong 4
A. Butt c Nidamanaru b Anwar 0
L. Bruce c Pretorius b Anwar 5
T. Young lbw Anwar 2
M. Howard c Pretorius b Anwar 1
D. Sayer b Bryce 13
C. Milner not out 11
D. Mohammed b Strong 8
J. Dawborn lbw Strong 0
J. Smith b Strong 0
Bowling: A. Strong 11.2-3-24-4; K. Anwar 15-3-27-5; D. Bryce 4-0-11-1.
P. Chandran c Bruce b Smith 1
J. Pickles b Dawborn 7
T. Nidamanuru c Young b Smith 0
M. Hulbert not out 15
T. Moore b Dawborn 0
J. Pretorius c Milner b Smith 1
N. Allen c Dawborn b Smith 2
G. Simpson c Butt b Smith 0
K. Anwar lbw Dawborn 2
A. Strong c Milner b Smith 7
D. Bryce run out 0
Bowling: J. Dawborn 10.4-2-39-3; J. Smith 10-5-6-6.
There was a ‘proper’ game at Milton Road where Oundle Town, who travel to Bretton Gate to face Peterborough Town next Saturday (May 7), claimed an excellent four-wicket win over Northampton Saints with nine balls to spare.
Slow bowlers Jack Bolsover and Ben Graves claimed three wickets apiece as Saints were dismissed for 215, before stand-in skipper Mark Hodgson made 64 in Oundle’s winning reply.
Bolsover (39) and Graves (37) completed excellent all-round days.
OUNDLE beat NORTHAMPTON SAINTS by 4 wkts
Saints 215 (P. Bright 59, J. Bolsover 3-30, B. Graves 3-51, T. Moreki 2-48).
Oundle 216-6 (M. Hodgson 64, J. Bolsover 39, B. Graves 37).