Town skipper convinced his side will bounce straight back

Ajaz Akhtar scored 51 off 51 balls.
Ajaz Akhtar scored 51 off 51 balls.

Peterborough Town skipper David Clarke will be looking for his side to bounce straight back after suffering a first defeat of the season last weekend at Rushden and with it went top spot in the Northants League Premier Division.

Town entertain Northampton Saints at Bretton Gate on Saturday and Clarke is expecting a 20-point haul and a return to the summit providing other results go their way.

It was a third loss on the trot to Rushden - this time by two wickets - but Clarke was quick to point out they are no better than Town.

“Man for man Rushden are no better than us,” he stressed. “They do have five really strong players but then so do we. The difference on Saturday was their best players all performed and maybe ours didn’t.

“One over proved to be the turning point. Thanks to Ajaz Akhtar and Asim Butt we were going well at 86-1 but then we lost three wickets in one over. That killed us and instead of 200 plus we only made 170.

“We just need to be a bit more solid and when we get in good positions we need to consolidate.

“I’m confident we can bounce back on Saturday. Saints are a good side but we normally play well against them. We’re still only four points off the top so 20 points this week is the ask.”

While Akhtar (51 from 51 balls) and Butt (50) both received pats on the back from Clarke, he was again singing the praises of his young teenage seamer Mohammed Danyaal, who bagged 4-24.

“He’s a fantastic prospect, definitely one to watch for the future,” said Clarke.

“He’s got the best average in the league and he’s a lot quicker than people think. He takes batsmen by surprise. And he can also bat as well.”

Town bowed out of the National Club KO competition on Sunday when losing by 40 runs to reigning Leicestershire League champions Kibworth, who batted first and made 300.

“They were a very strong side while we were missing our Minor Counties players and put out a team with an average age of just 22,” added Clarke.

“But we still acquitted ourselves well and I was happy with the way we performed.

“What I wasn’t happy with was the decision to dock us 12 penalty runs for a slow over rate. That was ridiculous.

“We spent most of the afternoon fetching the ball from the village and then we had a long wait while one of their batsmen decided to change his bat.

“For us Tim Young batted very well for his 70. He was unbelievable. Every time he hit the ball it seemed to go for four.

“We were 100-0 after 12 overs but then seemed to run out of steam.”