NORTHANTS PREMIER DIVISION: Bruce is almighty as Peterborough Town beat champions

Peterborough Town's batting stars Asim Butt (left) and Alex Mitchell during their second-wicket stand of 72 against Rushden. Photo: Chris Lowndes.
Peterborough Town's batting stars Asim Butt (left) and Alex Mitchell during their second-wicket stand of 72 against Rushden. Photo: Chris Lowndes.

Peterborough Town skipper David Clarke urged his big players to perform against reigning Northants Premier Division champions Rushden at Bretton Gate today (August 13) and half of them answered the call.

And that was enough against what turned out to be one-man opponents. Chanaka Ruwansiri, a star in the title surge 12 months ago, bagged 6-39 and scored 83 for Rushden and yet finished as part of a team beaten comprehensively by 55 runs.

Asim Butt during his innings of 56 for Peterborough Town against Rushden. Photo: Chris Lowndes.

Asim Butt during his innings of 56 for Peterborough Town against Rushden. Photo: Chris Lowndes.

The win was the best of Town’s season by some distance given the calibre of opposition. It probably won’t be enough for them to challenge runaway leaders Old Northamptonians for the title, but it was still a morale-boosting victory over a team they’ve struggled to beat in the last couple of seasons.

Town actually lost their last eight wickets for 54, but thanks to a disciplined innings of 56 from star batsman Asim Butt, a flamboyant 45 (five fours, two sixes) from 37 balls from Alex Mitchell and 26 from emerging talent Kieran Judd the top order had ensured a competitive total was certain to be posted.

That turned out to be 199 and Town took wickets in Rushden’s reply regularly, although they couldn’t relax while the gifted Ruwansiri remained at the crease.

David Sayer knocked two top order men over early on and Richard Kendall’s crafitly flighted full toss saw the back of dangerous Rushden skipper Simon Branston, but it was cambs minor counties skipper Lewis Bruce who stole the show with the ball.

Alex Mitchell hits out for Petreborough Town against Rushden on his way to 45 from 37 balls. Photo: Chris Lowndes.

Alex Mitchell hits out for Petreborough Town against Rushden on his way to 45 from 37 balls. Photo: Chris Lowndes.

Bruce claimed 6-38 from a ball shy of 12 overs and included Ruwansiri, well held in the deep by Mitchell, among his victims.

Scores

Town

A. Butt c Paine b Ruwanisiri 56

D. Clarke lbw Warwick 18

A. Mitchell c Ruwanisiri b Branston 45

K. Judd b Ruwansiri 26

A. Akhtar c Paine b Ruwansiri 3

L. Bruce c Paine b Ruwansiri 11

D. Sayer c Groome b Ruwansiri 0

C. Milner c Branston b Gaul 7

J. Dawborn st Groome b Ruwansiri 1

M. Danyaal run out 6

R. Kendall not out 0

Extras 26

TOTAL 199

Bowling: J. Gaul 9.4-0-39-1; S. Branston 10-0-43-1; O. Warwick 7-1-20-1; M. Ansari 12-1-48-0; C. Ruwansiri 10-1-39-6.

Rushden

B. Paine c Clarke b Sayer 4

S. Kumar c Milner b Dawborn 5

C. Ruwansiri c Mitchell b Bruce 83

L. Spears v Milner b Sayer 8

M. Ansari lbw Bruce 3

O. Warwick b Bruce 2

S. Branston c Danyaal b Kendall 14

W. Groome b Bruce 4

C. Nicholson not out 8

L. Barnett b Bruce 0

J. Gaul b Bruce 0

Extras 13

TOTAL 144

Bowling: D. Sayer 7-0-19-2: J. Dawborn 7-0-42-1; L. Bruce 11.5-4-38-6; M. Danyaal 2-0-13-0; R. Kendall 7-1-26-1.

Oundle won a nail-biting relegation battle at Wellingborough to pretty much ensure their survival as a Northants Premier Division club for another season at least.

It didn’t look great for Oundle when they slumped to 90-6, or when their hosts reached 170-5 in pursuit of 215, but they turned things around twice to win by 18 runs.

Ben Groom (89) rescued Oundle with the bat alongside Tshepo Moreki (32). South African Moreki, who was playing his last game for the club today, also did well with the ball taking 4-58 after captain Bashrat Hussain (4-43) had taken the first four wickets to fall.

Wellingborough’s sixth-wicket pair added 103, but off-spinner Jack Bolsover broke that stand and pulled off a fine caught and bowled to seal the win with an over to spare.

Oundle are now 28 points clear of Wellingborough with just five matches to go.

Scores

WELLINGBOROUGH lost to OUNDLE by 18 runs

Oundle 215 (B. Groom 89, T. Moreki 32).

Wellingborough 197 (B. Hussain 4-43, T. Moreki 4-58, J. Bolsover 2-40).