The Northants League Premier Division title slipped further from Peterborough Town’s grasp this afternoon (August 15).
For the second week running the city side were involved in a tight match and once again they came out of it second best.
Last weekend league leaders and now red-hot title favourites Rushden were the victors, today it was Northampton Saints who took off from Bretton Gate with the spoils, winning by three wickets.
It means the reigning champions’ chance of a fourth successive title are hanging by a thread. Rushden have gone over 40 points clear with just five to play and it would take a massive mess-up on their part for Town to have any realistic hope of keeping their hands on the trophy.
And of course Town would have to win all their remaining games as well - something which is not happening quite so easily for them these days.
They were certainly beaten by the better side today.
Lewis Bruce tinkered with his batting order in the light of the Rushden collapse but it didn’t really come off.
Skipper Bruce promoted himself to opener and departed for only four and there were also single-figure scores for Tim Young (5), Paul McMahon (2) and Marcus Howard (8).
Only Asim Butt (52) of the top order men really got to grips with a tricky track as Town toiled away to 153-6 off their 55 overs. David Sayer was 30 not out.
The wicket appeared kinder and much more predictable for the Northampton XI. They lost wickets at regular intervals but were well up with the run rate and reached 154-7 in the 42nd over - still 13 overs left.
Paul McMahon was chief Town wicket-taker with 3-43.
David Clarke ct & b Mark Wolstenholme 18
Lewis Bruce ct Chris Park b Mark Wolstenholme 4
Asim Butt ct Mayur Odedra b Jack Mousley 52
Tim Young b Nick Bell 5
Paul McMahon ct Shiv Jhala b Nick Bell 2
Marcus Howard lbw b Corbyn Dolley 8
David Sayer not out 30
Chris Milner not out 1
TOTAL (6 wkts) 153
Bowling: Mark Wolstenholme 16.0-4-51-2; Nick Bell 17.0-4-31-2; Jack Mousley 12.0-0-30-1; Corbyn Dolley 10.0-1-36-1.
Zak Harvey lbw b Paul McMahon 31
Chris Harris ct Chris Milner b Jamie Smith 9
Joe Collins b Paul McMahon 40
Corbyn Dolley lbw b Lewis Bruce 26
Jack Mousley st Chris Milner b Lewis Bruce 12
Patrick Bright ct David Clarke b Joe Dawborn 13
Mark Wolstenholme not out 12
Chris Park b Paul McMahon 5
Shiv Jhala not out 1
TOTAL (7 wkts) 154
Bowling: Joe Dawborn 12.0-1-44-1; Jamie Smith 7.0-1-16-1; Paul McMahon 13.3-5-43-3; Lewis Bruce 9.0-0-47-2.
Oundle were away at Wollaston and won by 31 runs.
They posted a score of 200-9, of which Phil Adams smashed an unbeaten 61 off 59 balls, and Wollaston were bowled out for 169.
Top Oundle bowler with 5-53 was Petrus Jeftha.