Not even the presence of an England Under 19 player of the recent past could stop Stony Stratford being steam-rollered by Peterborough Town in a Northants Premier Division match today (May 16).
Ben Duckett was tipped for big things as a teenager, but like many before him, has not found fame or fortune from a place on the Northants first-class staff. He was over-shadowed in this game at the lovely Campbell Park ground in Milton Keynes by an opening batsman suffering from a painful bout of gout, a former Pakistani Under 19 World Cup performer and, most irritatingly probably, a fast bowler who seems to have thrived since leaving Northants.
It would be a major surprise if Joe Dawborn remains at Bretton Gate all summer. The first-class counties (amusingly including Northants, the county who released him) are having a sniff around Bretton Gate and they must like what they discover. Swinging the ball at a decent pace is a skill bestowed upon few, but Dawborn has it. He’s the Jimmy Anderson of the Northants League, complete with mood swings.
Dawborn bagged 4-14 here from 11 hostile overs, but most importantly claimed the wicket of Duckett, the one home player with the ability to threaten Town’s 242-8. He was caught at mid-on by skipper Lewis Bruce having struck six fours - all off the bowling of Jamie Smith - leaving Stony on 46-4. Stony limped on to 99 all-out meaning four games have passed, four wins have been completed and the opposition have yet to reach 100 in any of them.
Professional off-spinner Paul McMahon collected 3-17, Smith picked up two wickets and Kieran Jones bagged the final victim. Stony had started appallingly losing a wicket in each of the first two overs.
Town will have much harder games this season - they have one next Saturday (May 23) when Rushden visit fortress Bretton Gate - when they might need a bigger contribution from a middle order badly missing the substantial form of Callum French.
Gout-sufferer Clarke and ex-World Cup player Asim Butt added 115 for the second wicket, but the demise of the latter for a sweetly-struck 69 led to a procession of wickets until Dawborn arrived at the crease to swing a few lusty blows. He finished on 39 not out, but Clarke’s 88, which included a lot of singles, was of far more importance.
D. Clarke c Simpson b Strong 88
L. Bruce c Pretorious b Anwar 7
A. Butt c Duckett b Strong 69
T. Young b Strong 0
M. Howard b Anwar 7
P. McMahon b Anwar 2
S. Williams c Duckett b Anwar 7
C. Milner c Duckett b Strong 2
J. Dawborn not out 39
J. Smith not out 0
TOTAL (8 wkts) 242
Bowling: A. Strong 17-1-75-4; K. Anwar 17-4-53-4; S. Richardson 7-0-42-0; C. Simpson 14-0-59-0.
P. Chandaran c McMahon b Smith 1
J. Pickles c Milner b Dawborn 0
B. Duckett c Bruce b Dawborn 32
J. Pretorious b Dawborn 5
A. Strong b Smith 15
PA Chandaran b Dawborn 0
K. Anwar lbw McMahon 11
J. Baxter not out 7
G. Simpson b McMahon 0
N. Allen b Jones 21
S. Richardson b McMahon 2
Bowling: J. Dawborn 11-5-14-4; J. Smith 9-0-47-2; P. McMahon 5-4-2-17-3; K. Jones 4-1-18-1.
Oundle couldn’t do Town a favour by beating leaders Finedon, but they did at least bat first and ensure the visitors to Milton Road couldn’t leave with maximum points.
Oundle might have regretted that decision when slumping to 28-6 and 38-7, but Richard Cunningham cracked 64 batting at number nine to push the home side up to 132 all-out. The next highest scorer was Pete Foster with 15.
Bashrat Hussain nipped out two Finedon batsmen early on, but the title fancies eventually romped home by seven wickets.
Oundle 132 (R. Cunningham 64, W. Sneath 4-36, P. Patel 3-19).
Finedon 133-3 (D. Murphy 58no, S. Devoy 47no, B. Hussain 2-24).