Peterborough Town face a Northants Premier Division title showdown next Saturday (August 8).
Both teams collected the maximum 30 points against struggling sides today (August 1) meaning unbeaten Rushden will start next weekend’s big match at Short Stocks with a five point lead. The top two have opened up agap on third-placed Finedon who were held to a draw today by Oundle.
Town beat Stony Stratford by 100 runs at Bretton Gate in a game that lacked the drama of the previous week. Then Joe Dawborn livened up a similarly one-sided game by taking all 10 wickets - today the division’s quickest, most exciting bowler managed just 2-47 from 12 overs and was out-bowled at the start of the innings by Stamford School student Mohammed Danyaal who took the first two wickets to fall on his way to figures of 2-16.
That opened the door for professional Paul McMahon to work his magic. He collected 5-41 as the visitors were dismissed for 127 with over 20 overs of the match still remaining.
Town won the toss and dominated a poor team from the start. David Clarke and Asim Butt added 93 for the first-wicket before the latter top-edged a hoick to the deep square leg boundary and was caught.
Tim Young and Clarke then added 90 for the second wicket before Clarke hit his own wicket and trudged off 10 runs short of a ton he deserved. Clarke went past 500 Premier Division season during his innings and is now not far sure of 600.
Young fell soon afterwards for 46 and Town declared on 227-4 five overs early.
Presumably because they didn’t want too waste too much energy ahead of their big game next weekend when they will seek to avenge their only defeat of the season.
A. Butt c Ellemore b Sohal 42
D. Clarke ht wkt b Sohal 90
T. Young c Allen b Strong 46
M. Howard c Pickles b Soham 23
D. Sayer not out 13
P. McMahon not out 6
TOTAL (4 wkts) 227
Bowling: A. Strong 11-1-46-0; K. Anwar 8-1-29-0; A. Ellemore 3-1-10-0; S. Richardson 11-0-43-0; V. Sohal 17-0-92-3.
M. Hulbert c Milner b Danyaal 16
P. Chandran c Butt b Danyaal 2
V. Sohal lbw Dawborn 27
N. Allen c Milner b Dawborn 14
W. Fernando c Young b McMahon 10
J. Pickles lbw McMahon 29
K. Anwar c Howard b McMahon 8
P. Chandran c Dawborn b Bruce 13
A. Strong c Young b McMahon 0
A. Ellemore not out 4
S. Richardson lbw McMahon 0
Bowling: J. Dawborn 12-0-47-2; M. Danyaal 6-1-18-2; P. McMahon 12.2-2-41-5; L. Bruce 7-0-19-1.
Oundle warmed up for tomorrow’s (August 2) Regional Twenty/20 Finals day by battling to a creditable Premier Division draw at Finedon.
Oundle were 15-3 and 78-6 chasing 222 before recovering to 188-9 thanks mainly to a seventh-wicket stand of 91 between Ben Groom (54) and captain Phil Adams (40).
Groom was dismissed with three balls to go, but the last pair survived the remainder of the over.
Oundle are back at Finedon tomorrow as Northants Twenty/20 champions. They tackle Leicestershire champions Loughborough in a semi-final (10.30am) and possibly a final against Kimberley Institute (Notts) or Bury St Edmunds (Suffolk).
They will be without South African all-rounder Petrus Jeftha who is ineligible for the national rounds.
Finedon 222 (D. Murphy 64, J. Bolsover 4-75).
Oundle 188-9 (B. Groom 54, P. Adams 40, C. Goode 4-24).