One team performed like champions at Bretton Gate today (July 29), but it wasn’t the side that started the day on top of the Northants Premier Division.
Peterborough Town closed on 121-6 from their 50 overs against Old Northamptonians who had amassed 236-7 from the same number.
It’s an unusual scoreboard in these days of wham-bam, all-out attacking cricket, but Town’s change of strategy against one of their rivals for top spot was borne out of necessity after losing their first five wickets for just 67.
It was important to deny their visitors maximum win points even if a paltry five points from a losing draw enabled Rushton to sneak past them back to the summit. There are many more twists and turns ahead in this enthralling race for the title, but Town will need to find improvements in all aspects of their game if they are to regain a crown they last wore in 2014.
Town’s bowlers had cloudy conditions in which to display their skills, but couldn’t budge outstanding visiting professional Rob White, a man with a first-class score of 277 to his name for Northants, who made a chanceless 97. An attack containing three Minor Counties bowlers also couldn’t contain 18 year-old James Grayson who, unperturbed by a delicate position of 93-4, promptly flayed 63 from 53 balls which included four sixes on a massive ground.
The murmerings at tea of 236 being far too many on a slow, unresponsive surface proved true as an accurate seam attack dislodged Town’s top four before young Scott Howard was run out.
That forced the shutters down with McMahon, who has smashed better bowling sides than this one in his day, taking 110 balls over his 36 not out and Joe Dawborn, a big hitter, using up 71 balls over his 20.
Town’s fielding was also distinctly average which might not have been entirely unconnected to a week-long golf trip abroad for some which finished at 1am on the day of the game.
R. White b Bruce 97
T. Hafil c Mitchell b Smith 0
H. Penbarthy run out 17
T. Webb c Clarke b McMahon 13
Z. Khawaja c Mitchell b Bruce 0
J. Grayson b Dawborn 63
D. Harris not out 22
G. Arblaster c Danyaal b McMahon 10
T. Heathfield not out 0
TOTAL (7 wkts) 236
Bowling: J. Dawborn 13-1-61-1; J. Smith 9-3-23-1; P. McMahon 13-3-49-2; M. Danyaal 5-0-24-0; L. Bruce 9-0-59-2; D. Oldham 1-0-12-0.
A. Butt lbw Webb 8
D. Clarke c Nain b Heathfield 15
A. Mitchell c Harris b Webb 9
L. Bruce c White b Webb 24
P. McMahon not out 36
S. Howard run out 0
J. Dawborn c Heathfield b Evans 20
C. Milner not out 2
TOTAL (6 wkts) 121
Bowling: T. Heathfield 12-3-32-1; T. Webb 15-6-31-3; P. Evans 2-0-7-1; R. White 11-1-34-0; M. Nain 10-4-17-0.
Oundle endured a poor day at the office losing by six wickets to mid-table Northampton Saints to drop back to fifth place.
Oundle recovered slightly from 12-3 to reach 139, but home professional Saif Zaib made light work of that total cracking 73 out of 111 before he was dismissed by Jack Bolsover.
Saints reached their target with more than 20 overs to spare.
NORTHAMPTON SAINTS beat OUNDLE by 6 wkts
Oundle 139 (B. Smith 40, B. Groom 27).
Saints 143-4 (S. Zaib 73).