It’s been a disappointing season for Peterborough Town, but they remain a class apart from their Northants Premier Division neighbours, Oundle Town.
Oundle have a far more attractive ground - Milton Road was lit up splendidly in the summer sunshine today (July 23) - but in terms of batting, bowling and fielding they lag behind the team from the big city up the road.
A fact emphatically rammed home by Peterborough who won by nine wickets chasing 174-7 with almost 19 overs to spare.
Oundle won the toss and batted today. A positive move from their former Peterborough-playing skipper Bashrat Hussain, but that positivity ended after about 10 overs of their innings.
The home side were too passive - Mark Hodgson’s brisk 40 was the exception - in perfect batting conditions, especially against slow bowlers Lewis Bruce and Richard Kendall, for whom line and length tactics prevailed until Jonathan Dalley’s assault late in the innings.
Neither Bruce nor Kendall picked up the wickets their metronomic accuracy demanded, but the containment they provided enabled Town to complete victory with a brisk jog.
Asim Butt was the only Town casualty falling for 41 following an opening stand of 90 with captain David Clarke.
Clarke finished unbeaten on 60, but he was quicky over-taken by left-hander Alex Mitchell who blasted an unbeaten 62 from just 49 balls.
Mitchell’s knock included nine fours and three sixes and rushed Town over the line in terrific style.
Town won’t win a league that once more is split into two distinct halves in terms of ability, but Oundle are fortunate that a woeful Wellingborough outfit stand between them and relegation.
Overseas recruit Tshepo Moreki has not played to the standard of his predecessor, fellow South African Petrus Jeftha, and his aggressive approach with the ball was brushed aside with ease by Clarke and Butt.
So fed up was Moreki with the flat pitch he resorted to coming around the wicket and bowling short. It was borderline bodyline, but ultimately rather pointless at his pace and with his skill level.
Clarke and Moreki meet again tomorrow (July 24, 1pm) when Town return to Oundle for a semi-final in the Rutland League’s John Wilcox Cup competition.
M. Hodgson c Howard b Kendall 40
J. Bolsover c Mitchell b Smith 20
P. Foster run out 28
P. Adams c Danyaal b Bruce 19
T. Moreki lbw Bruce 6
J. Esler b Dawborn 8
J. Dalley not out 26
G. Martin b Dawborn 10
B. Hussain not out 3
TOTAL (7 wkts) 174
Bowling: J. Dawborn 10-1-32-2; J. Smith 10-0-26-1; L. Bruce 15-3-56-2; R. Kendall 13-3-40-1; M. Danyaal 2-0-14-0.
A. Butt c Martin b Bolsover 41
D. Clarke not out 60
A. Mitchell not out 62
TOTAL (1 wkt) 177
Bowling: B. Hussain 7-0-30-0; T. Moreki 10-0-46-0; J. Bolsover 6-0-39-1; J. Charlton 3-0-20-0; G. Martin 3-0-16-0; P. Wilson 2.2-0-22-0.