Super Sundays are becoming the norm at Peterborough Town.
Fresh from a week of national media madness following a miraculous one-run win in the National Club KO competition, Town yesterday (July 1) came out on top at Finals Day in the Northants T20 Championship at Bretton Gate.
There wasn’t quite such a dramatic finish - that would be impossible - but there was still plenty to admire once two one-sided semi-finals were out of the way and Town and Old Northamptonians were able to butt heads.
The ONs achieved a Northants Premier Division and T20 Cup double last season. They are top of the top-flight again and they travelled with pretty much a full-strength team so they started favourites against a Town team without either of the talented Sayer brothers.
But this Town team have been defying critics all season. They are not supposed to be third in the Premier Division. They are not supposed to have made a club record run in the National Club KO and beating the current top two clubs in Northants (Finedon were beaten in an effective quarter-final) in the county T20 was not supposed to happen either.
But pulling together as a team and putting faith in young players rather than living happily in the shadows cast by superstars (you never know the two might be connected) has delivered remarkable results.
The fact that in-form captain David Clarke was named man-of-the-match for his final unbeaten innings of 65 was no surprise, especially when also taking a brilliant one-handed catch into consideration, but his partner in a match-winning seventh-wicket stand of 42 came as a shock.
Teenager Conor Parnell has hardly played this season because of a love of studying. He wouldn’t have played in the final if Vansh Bajaj hadn’t been forced to dash home after the eight-wicket win over Oundle in the semi-final.
But he strode to the wicket with Town tottering at 104-6 chasing 145 and promptly smacked two huge sixes before cracking the winning runs with an over to spare. Parnell finished unbeaten on 24.
Clarke was excellent and received decent early support from Alex Mitchell (24). The captain also praised his bowlers who fought back from an early onslaught to restrict ONs to 145-7.
Teenager Saif Mohammed conceded just 19 runs from his four overs, while Parnell (2-14), Matt Milner (2-24) and Richard Kendall (1-22) also bowled with great guile. Parnell’s great game also included the key wicket of ONs’ skipper, and former Northants player, Rob White for 69.
Clarke also cracked 65 against Oundle who set an indifferent target of 135 in the semi-final. Asim Butt was 46 not out when that game ended. Lewis Bruce (3-20) was too good with the ball, while Milner conceded just 14 runs from his four overs.
ONs piled up over 200 in their easy semi-final win over Brixworth.
Town will now host a regional Midlands T20 Finals Day on Sunday July 28
PETERBOROUGH TOWN beat OUNDLE by 8 wkts
Oundle 135-9 (M. Hodsgon 25, D. Robinson 23, P. Patel 23, L. Bruce 3-20, V. Bajaj 2-35).
Peterborough 136-2 (D. Clarke 65, A. Butt 46no).
PETERBOROUGH TOWN beat OLD NORTHAMPTONIANS by 4 wkts
ONs 145-7 (R. White 69, R. Kaufman 25, C. Parnell 2-15, M. Milner 2-24, M. Saif 1-19, R. Kendall 1-22, L. Bruce 1-41).
Peterborough 146-6 (D. Clarke 65no, C. Parnell 24no, A. Mitchell 24. R. White 3-26, G. Wade 2-26).