For a couple of hours today (April 29) a repeat of Peterborough Town’s low-scoring farce at Stony Stratford last season was on the cards.
Twelve months ago the teams scored a grand total of 112 runs between them and when Stratford slipped to 54-7 in the Northants Premier Division re-match today, batsmen on both sides were re-living nightmares.
But the home side recovered to a respectable - or miraculous given recent memories - 149 all-out before in-form Town skipper David Clarke cracked an unbeaten 81 to steer his side to a seven-wicket win.
Teenage Mohammed Danyaal starred with the ball for Town taking 4-14 from seven overs, while Jamie Smith and Joe Dawborn collected two victims apiece.
Clarke added 61 for the first wicket with Asim Butt (28) and 59 for the second wicket with Lewis Bruce (21) as Town made it two wins from two Premier Division matches this season.
It took Town just 19 overs to scoot home and the entire game occupied just two balls short of 54 overs.
J. Pickles c Milner b Danyaal 9
N. Allen b Smith 11
P. Patel lbw Dawborn 9
J. Warsop lbw Danyaal 4
R. White b Danyaal 6
J. Pretorius c Sayer b Danyaal 7
T. Moore c Mitchell b Smith 0
K. Wijesinghe not out 37
A. Strong b Dawborn 31
A. Malik b Sayer 9
J. Baxter c Mitchell b Bruce 6
Bowling: J. Dawborn 9-1-57-2; J. Smith 10-3-31-2; M. Danyaal 7-3-14-4; D. Sayer 5-0-28-1; L. Bruce 3.4-0-10-1.
A. Butt c and b Baxter 28
D. Clarke not out 81
L. Bruce c Moore b Warsop 21
A. Mitchell c White b Warsop 1
K. Judd not out 3
TOTAL (3 wkts) 153
Bowling: A. Strong 5-1-46-0; A. Malik 3-0-19-0; J. Baxter 4-0-34-1; K. Wijesinghe 3-0-31-0; J. Warsop 4-0-16-2.
Oundle will travel to Bretton Gate to face Peterborough Town next Saturday (May 6) as equals.
They’ve also won their opening two Premier Division matches and today’s 134-run win over Rushden at Milton Road could hardly have been more convincing.
Rushden, the champions of 2015, have lost most of that all-star line-up and they were outclassed by an Oundle side who have improved beyond all recognition compared to last season.
They finished next-to-bottom 12 months ago, but wise close-season recruitment is already paying off.
Cambs’ Minor Counties professional Ben Smith (91) and South African import Hanno Kotze (65) did the bulk of the scoring in Oundle’s 253-8, although local lad Steve Brooks (49) also played well.
And then teenage talent Harrison Craig, a winter signing from Nassington, claimed his first two wickets at this level as Rushden were dismissed for 119 after reaching 70-2.
Craig and Ben Graves (3-14) could become fearsome spin twins this summer. Graves, who also opened the batting, impressed watching Cambs’ supremo Ajaz Akhtar enough for there to be an exchange of phone numbers.
OUNDLE beat RUSHDEN by 134 runs
Oundle 253-8 (B. Smith 91, H. Kotze 65, S. Brooks 49).
Rushden 119 (S. Kumar 32, B. Graves 3-14, H. Craig 2-3, P. Patel 2-20, B. Hussain 2-46).