Cricket - Bruce believes Town are unbeatable at Bretton Gate

Jamie Smith bowling for Peterborough Town last weekend.
Jamie Smith bowling for Peterborough Town last weekend.
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Captain Lewis Bruce believes Peterborough Town are invincible at Bretton Gate.

Town crushed Brixworth by 152-runs last Saturday to complete two years unbeaten at home in the Northants Premier Division.

It’s a fine record made even more impressive by the fact that only two visiting teams have passed 150 in that time.

Brixworth were dismissed for 81 last weekend, which was 34 more than they managed in 2014.

Bruce is enjoying the ruthless nature of his bowling attack, but he’s less impressed with the standard of opposition to have faced his side so far this summer.

Town have conceded just 92, 75 and 81 runs while racking up three wins in a row this season.

Quick seamers Joe Dawborn, who is closing in on a first-class contract at Leicestershire, and Jamie Smith collected four wickets apiece against Brixworth before Kieran Jones claimed the first two Premier Division wickets of his career in an eight-ball spell.

David Clarke (80), Asim Butt (66) and Bruce (42) had earlier helped Town pile up 233-4 in 52 overs.

Bruce said: “Our home record is phenomenal.

“Visiting teams just don’t know how to bat at Bretton Gate, but then they are facing a hostile and very talented bowling attack.

“It bothers me slightly that we are winning too easily at times, but it impresses me that we are relentless when we have a team on the ropes.

“There will be harder games to come, but the way we have started the season makes me think we will cope with anything, especially at home.”

In the last 22 Premier Division matches at Bretton Gate, the average team score by Town’s opposition is just over 103. On eight occasions the visitors have been bowled out for under 100.

Unfortunately, such are the vagaries of the Premier Division points system, Town are only third in table despite winning all three matches so far.

Town are 10 points behind leaders Finedon, even though the table-toppers only scraped past a weak Wollaston side last weekend.

Batting first and winning is crucial in this competition and that will be the plan when Town travel to the delightful Campbell Park ground in Milton Keynes to play Stony Stratford on Saturday.

Stony were the last team to win at Town on May 11, 2013 when they had England Under 19 captain Oliver Stone in their ranks.

Town will expect to win whatever happens at the toss this weekend, but Bruce is conscious that one of his more vital duties takes place before a game has even started.

“Teams want to bat first against us this season,” Bruce added.

“Maybe they expect to lose and don’t want to spend three hours chasing the ball around in the field before they have to bat!

“Brixworth told me they would have batted first against us. That’s their right, but the fact that we would get fewer points from winning just because we lost the toss doesn’t sit well with me.

“We ought to beat Stony, but they had a good win last weekend and scored plenty of runs so we will have to keep our standards high.”

Town are expected to be unchanged with second-team skipper Stuart Williams filling the considerable batting void left by Callum French and Jones continuing to stand-in for injured England Under 17 seamer David Sayer.