Oundle’s batsmen couldn’t have asked for much more in their top-of-the-table clash with Rushton at Milton Road yesterday (June 17).
It was baking hot and it was a near-perfect batting pitch complemented by a fast outfield. The conditions demanded a huge score after Rushton surprisingly opted to field first.
Sadly, for the team that started the day on top of the Northants Premier Division, they didn’t deliver when it mattered. Maybe successive weeks chasing a score under three figures meant many Oundle batters were under-cooked -it certainly looked like it as they were dismissed for 152 by Rushton who went on to complete a convincing win by nine wickets with almost 27 overs to spare.
As a result Rushton take over top spot. Like Oundle before them this season, it’s the first time they’ve ever been able to look down on the rest of the Northants League.
They could take some shifting as well. Two decent left-arm opening bowlers are backed up by two decent slow bowlers - leg spinner George Parker (3-31) was outstanding - and in James Kettleborough they have one of the best batsman in the league.
Kettleborough, recently of Northants and Glamorgan, finished unbeaten on 74 here, facing far fewer balls (69) than his partner Ben Coddington (62 from 94 balls) in an unbroken stand of 134 for the second wicket.
Young Harrison Craig dismissed another aggressive batsman early on, but Oundle’s bowlers had been given little chance by their batsmen.
Big-hitting South African Hanno Kotze, who is not expected to finish the season with Oundle, smacked an almighty six over the pavilion, but was promptly dismissed next ball by a smart catch, stood up to the wicket, by keeper Sam Malton.
Jonathan Dalley made a worthy 40 down the order, but too many batsman lacked the patience to bat long.
Oundle might also like to look at Ben Smith’s batting position. For a former first-class player capable of huge hundreds, number five is too low.
H. Kotze c Malton b B. Parker 14
D. Malik b B. Parker 9
M. Hodgson c Malton b Steed 20
B. Graves c Jackson b Steed 17
B. Smith b Kettleborough 18
P. Foster c Higginbotham b G. Parker 12
J. Dalley lbw Kettleborough 40
B. Hussain run out 1
P. Patel c and b G. Parker 2
T. Snelling c Mansell b G. Parker 5
H. Craig not out 0
Bowling: J. Higginbotham 8-1-32-0; B. Parker 7-0-34-2; M. Steed 11-4-24-2; G. Parker 12.3-1-31-3; A. Reynoldson 2-0-6-0; J. Kettleborough 4-0-19-2.
J. Kettleborough not out 74
B. Mansell c and b Craig 8
B. Coddington not out 62
TOTAL (1 wkt) 156
Bowling: B. Hussain 6.4-0-43-0; H. Craig 7-0-28-1; P. Patel 3-0-14-0; B. Graves 8-0-41-0; H. Kotze 4-0-29-0.