NORTHANTS PREMIER DIVISION: Clarke is the ace in the Peterborough Town pack

David Sayer bowling quickly for Peterborough Town against Stony Stratford. Photo: David Lowndes.
David Sayer bowling quickly for Peterborough Town against Stony Stratford. Photo: David Lowndes.
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It’s not been a bad few days for Peterborough Town skipper David Clarke.

On Friday (July 14) he skippered Peterborough Town to a first Jaidka Cup triumph for five years and picked up the man-of-the-match award on the way for an unbeaten half century.

Paul McMahon bowling for Peterborough Town against Stony Stratford. Photo: David Lowndes.

Paul McMahon bowling for Peterborough Town against Stony Stratford. Photo: David Lowndes.

Today (July 15) he finished 84 not out as Town maintained top spot in the Northants Premier Division with an eight-wicket success over Stony Stratford at Bretton Gate.

And tomorrow (July 16) he is one of the chosen few with the honour of watching Roger Federer win his eighth Wimbledon singles title on centre court.

Clarke was ace today as Town chased down a rather higher-than-expected 208 against the team currently next-to-bottom of the top flight.

The captain, after surviving a very close run-out appeal early in his innings, shared an opening stand of 136 with Asim Butt (67) before Alex Mitchell and Scott Howard made minor contributions to a major win. Town stay 11 points of second-placed Rushton who also won today.

Joe Dawborn on his way to 4-43 for Peterborough Town against Stony Stratford. Photo: David Lowndes.

Joe Dawborn on his way to 4-43 for Peterborough Town against Stony Stratford. Photo: David Lowndes.

Town have avoided banana skins on successive Saturdays as today they missed the control in the field holidaying Lewis Bruce’s off-spin gives them. It did look plain sailing though as Clarke won the toss, inserted struggling opponents on a grey, overcast afternoon and watched as Joe Dawborn took a wicket with the first legal ball of the game.

But Stony stayed positive and from 58-3 soared to 150-3 thanks to defiant opener James Pickles (65) and precocious 14 year-old Michael Wells who spent of his innings dancing down the wicket to former first-class player and current professional Paul McMahon and striking him down the ground for easy runs.

McMahon is still struggling for his very best form following his lengthy injury lay-off and there was no compassion from Wells who made a fluent 46 before aggression got the better of him late in the day.

Stony looked set for a big score, but lost wickets regularly towards the end when Joe Dawborn, who claimed the first three wickets to fall, completed exceptional figures of 4-43.

David Sayer bowled quickly, and very short, before his tender back again gave way, but Town fiddled their way through with the ball before enjoying the flat batting track often to be found at the Gate this season.

Stony used eight bowlers more in hope than with any great masterplan, but Butt and Clarke were watchful when required and expansive when the opportunity arose, which it often did.

SCORES

Stony Stratford

J. Warsop b Dawborn 0

J. Pickles c Mitchell b McMahon 65

R. Hulbert c Butt b Dawborn 16

R. White b Dawborn 10

M. Wells b Danyaal 46

P. Chandan run out 3

K. Wiesinghe run out 7

S. Clark c Milner b Dawborn 17

G. Simpson c Milner b McMahon 0

G. Lewis c and b McMahon 19

D. Bryce not out 1

Extras 24

TOTAL 208

Bowling: J. Dawborn 13-3-43-4; M. Danyaal 11.2-0-50-1; P. McMahon 13.3-0-64-3; D. Sayer 4-0-12-0; D. Oldham 6-0-23-0.

Town

A. Butt c Clark b Simpson 67

D. Clarke not out 84

A. Mitchell c Hulbert b Clark 12

S. Howard not out 21

Extras 15

TOTAL (2 wkts) 209

Bowling; D. Bryce 7-0-38-0; R. White 4-0-26-0; G. Lewis 6-0-42-0; M. Hulbert 6-0-37-0; J. Warsop 5-0-17-0; K. Wiesinghe 4-1-14-0; G. Simpson 5-1-16-1; S. Clark 3-0-16-1.

Oundle host Peterborough Town next Saturday (July 22) and they kept in touch with the leading pack with a three-wicket win in a cracking game at Rushden.

Oundle looked in trouble when slipping to 123-6 chasing 215, but an 81-run stand for the seventh-wicket between the excellent Ben Groom (53no) and the determined Cameron Wake (26) pretty much saw them home.

Earlier Bashrat Hussain (5-59) and Ben Smith (51) had performed well for Oundle.

SCORES

Rushden 215 (C. Ruwansiri 41, B. Hussain 5-59, H. Kotze 3-42).

Oundle 216-7 (B. Groom 53no, B. Smith 41, B. Graves 35, C. Wake 26).