Butt finds his best form in time for huge Finedon challenge

Asim Butt on his way to 98 for Peterborough Town against Finedon last season.
Asim Butt on his way to 98 for Peterborough Town against Finedon last season.
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Peterborough Town skipper Lewis Bruce is delighted to see star batsman hit top form ahead of Saturday’s huge Northants Premier Division clash with Finedon at Bretton Gate (noon).

Butt has endured a lean summer so far by his own high standards. He’s scored 291 runs at an average of 36 in nine innings (team-mate David Clarke has more runs at a better average).

But the Pakistani professional was outstanding for Cambs in their Minor Counties Championship defeat with Bucks at Wisbech this week, following a first-innings 123 with 61 second time around.

And that is a key development as far as Bruce is concerned as Town look to get over two frustrating rain-affected games in a row with victory over one of their biggest title rivals.

Town spent almost nine hours dodging rain at Old Northamptonians last weekend and ran out of time to gain the positive result they deserved.

Five wickets apiece for Joe Dawborn and Paul McMahon eventually dismissed ONs for 140, but Town were left with just 17 overs to chase that total down. An impossible task without fielding restrictions and strict leg-side wide rules.

“It’s been a ridiculously frustrating fortnight,” Bruce admitted. “And the rules we are having to abide by are hurting us as they reward negative cricket.

“We have dominated two good sides on the last two Saturdays and ended up with fewer points than both of them.

“But we have the perfect game to enable us to get over our disappointments as Finedon games are always among the highlights of the season.

“It’s perfect timing that Asim appears to have hit his best form. He is the best batsman in the league and we need him to deliver in the biggest games.

“He has a decent record against Finedon so if he fires and Dawborn and McMahon keep bowling as well as they have been then we will have a good chance of winning.

“I’m very confident about this game. Finedon have a talented Australian playing for them this season, but they will be very wary of our top players.”

Butt, who is in his sixth season at Bretton Gate, has scored over 5,000 runs for Town in all competitions.

He passed 900 Premier Division runs in 2010, 2013 and 2014.

Town are currently third in the table behind Rushden and Finedon.

Leaders Rushden have a tricky game at in-form Oundle on Saturday.

“Oundle could well do us a favour,” Bruce added. “They are playing well and they have a stronger team now than when we beat them earlier in the season.

“We have to take care of our own business first though. We may have had a couple of recent disappointments, but we are still in touch with the top two.

“A win on Saturday would pretty much mean we catch Finedon so there is still plenty to play for.”

Town are likely to name an unchanged team as they chase a seventh win in 10 outings.