Local legand Ajaz Akhtar made an instant impact at his latest club Market Deeping.
The 46 year-old all-rounder has moved into the Lincs Premier Division after falling out with previous employers Ketton where he’d struggled for form in the early part of the summer.
But new surroundings clearly galvanised the former Peterborough Town and Cambs skipper as he cracked 71 at a good rate on debut as Deeping won by six wickets at bottom club Spalding yesterday (May 30).
Akhtar opened with fellow veteran Chris Jones and was soon joined at the crease by captain David Gillett as they chased Spalding’s modest 165 all out. That’s a combined age of 133 for Deeping’s first three.
Gillett added 41 and Jamie Morgan stroked an unbeaten 30 as Deeping eased him with 18 overs to spare.
Akhtar was pipped to the man-of-the-match award by fast bowler Tom Andrews who collected 7-43 from 17 fiery overs. Akhtar wasn’t fit enough to bowl, but he expects to trundle in next Saturday when Deeping host local rivals Bourne in what should be a humdinger of a contest.
Deeping are currently third in the table, 12 points behind second-placed Bourne. The reigning champions also won yesterday, making short work of Grantham’s 175 thanks to more blistering batting from Conrad Louth.
Last weekend Louth two centuries - one to win the Winkworth Cup final and the other a brilliant 151 against Market Rasen in a league victory.
And yesterday he once again found runs easy to come by after Tom Dixon’s 6-42 had undermined a decent batting start by Grantham.
Louth smashed six fours and six sixes in a whirlwind 82 which saw Bourne race home in just 25.5 overs. Skipper Pete Morgan was next best with 41 which also included a couple of sixes.
Bourne are now level on points at the top of the table with Bracebridge Heath.
BOURNE beat GRANTHAM by 6 wkts
Grantham 175 (D. Webb 60, K. Bonsal 41, T. Dixon 6-42, S. Evison 2-26).
Bourne 176-4 (C. Louth 82, P. Morgan 41, A. Stroud 20).
SPALDING lost to MARKET DEEPING by 6 wkts
Spalding 165 (L. Hollingworth 25, B. Smith 22, W. Nel 21, T. Andrews 7-43, M. Adatia 2-15).
Market Deeping 168-4 (A. Akhtar 71, D. Gillett 41, J. Morgan 30no, W. Nel 2-32).