Peterborough Town’s stay at the top of the Northants Premier Division proved to be a brief one.
Town went down by two wickets at reigning champions Rushden - a first defeat of the season - which enabled Old Northamptionians to move back to the summit after a seven-day absence.
This was a frustrating loss for Town who can’t find a away to beat these opponents. It’s three defeats in a row against a team who have started slowly this summer, but are sure to be in the title shake-up come September.
Town started well at Short Stocks racing to 83-1 in just 16 overs, but they promptly lost three wickets in an over and struggled to 170 all out.
Rushden always looked likely to chase that down before suffering some late alarm at the hands of teenage seamer Mohammed Danyaal who bagged 4-24. The side slumped from 150-4 to 162-8 before edging home, albeit with plenty of time and overs to spare.
Danyaal is a player with bags of promise, but it was a performer at the other end of his career who batted best for Town. Ajaz Akhtar has looked limited in his strokeplay since moving up to open the batting at the age of 47, but he adopted an aggressive approach here and flayed a decent attack for 51 from 51 balls before succumbing to the ball after he’d reached his half century.
Sadly his return to the pavilion was copied by Lewis Bruce and Tim Young in the same Christian Davis over and any hope of a score closer to 200 was dashed by Asim Butt’s departure, again immediately after reaching 50. Three of the top five Town batsmen failed to score as captain David Clarke had been dismissed in the first over of the game.
Jamie Smith also struck early in the Rushden innings and, although Bruce claimed a wicket in his first over of off-spin, Rushden batted consistently well until Danyaal started to wreak havoc.
Sadly it was too little too late for a a Town team who have another tough game at reigning Leicestershire League champions Kibworth in the National Club knockout tomorrow (May 29).
D. Clarke b Gaul 0
A. Akhtar c Branston b Davis 51
A. Butt c Groome b Branston 50
L. Bruce b Davis 0
T. Young c Branston b Davis 0
M. Howard run out 13
D. Sayer c b Ruwanasiri 16
C. Milner b Ruwansiri 12
M. Danyaal c Greene b Davis 0
J. Smith b Ruwansiri 10
J. Dawborn not out 0
Bowling: J. Gaul 5-0-25-1; S. Branston 7-1-37-1; C. Ruwansiri 8.5-0-28-3; C. Davis 15-0-52-4; M. Ansari 4-0-18-0.
B. Paine c Danyaal b Bruce 18
S. Kumar c Milner b Smith 0
C. Ruwansiri c Sayer b Smith 33
L. Spears c Bruce b Danyaal 33
C. Davis b Dawborn 50
S. Branston c Clarke b Danyaal 12
O. Warwick c Milner b Danyaal 0
T. Smith c Clarke b Danyaal 0
M. Groome not out 6
M. Ansari not out 3
TOTAL (8 wkts) 171
Bowling: J. Dawborn 14-1-60-1; J. Smith 8-1-24-2; L. Bruce 7.5-1-37-1; D. Sayer 2-0-20-0; M. Danyaal 8-2-24-2.
Ben Graves made it back-to-back hundreds for Oundle as they won by eight wickets at Wellingborough.
Graves followed his maiden senior ton in a Rutland Division One match at Wisbech last Sunday (May 22) with 102 not out today as Oundle roared past their visitors’ 167 with plenty in hand.
Earlier veteran Colin ‘Sugar’ Ray had taken the first four Wellingborough wickets. Wellingborough recovered from 71-6 to post a total that still proved inadequate. Jack Bolsover returned excellent figures of 3-18 in 10.4 overs with his off spin.
Graves hit 16 fours and a six.
OUNDLE beat WELLINGBOROUGH by 8 wkts
Wellingborough 167 (C. Jackson 83no, C. Ray 4-60, J. Bolsover 3-18).
Oundle 171-2 (B. Graves 102no, M. Hodgson 27no).