Peterborough Town skipper David Clarke has refused to write off his team’s chances of winning the Northants Premier Division title despite rain ruining a good chance of victory against leaders Old Northamptonians last weekend.
Town are 23 points off top spot with just seven matches to go. They also need to overhaul second-placed Finedon who are 14 points clear of the city side and they have a game in hand.
ONs were 79-4 chasing Town’s 188 at Bretton Gate last Saturday when a heavry rainstorm washed out proceedings eight balls before Duckworth Lewis became a factor.
“It was frustrating, but looking positively we didn’t lose any ground on ONs,” Clarke stated. “There is still a lot of cricket to be played between now and the end of the season amd I suspect there will be a few twists and turns.
“Finedon lost to bottom club Wollaston the other week and the still have both us and ONs to play so a lot could yet happen.”
Town travel to inconsistent Horton House on Saturday. Horton are the only team to have beaten ONs this season, but last week lost to lowly Brixworth.
It’s the start of a big weekend for Town who also host an rea final of the National T20 competition on Sunday.
That final was also washed out last weekend so Town will play Leicestershire champions Kibworth at 10.30 and then, hopefully, meet Home Counties top dogs Slough or Birmingham based Berkswell in the final around 4pm.
As usual Town’s selection is far from straightforward with top all-rounder Rob Sayer possibly missing both days.
Sayer, who missed nine weeks of the summer because of a hamstring injury, has beenadvised to rest by Leicestershire on Saturday even though he is being released by the first-class county at the end of the season.
The 23 year-old off spinning all-rounder, who has been asked to play for Cambs in a mid-table Unicorns Championship Eastern Division game against Buckinghamshire on Sunday, missed the ONs game after a hectic week of cricket leading up to the game.
T20 specialist Richard Kendall is expected to come into the squad for Sunday.
“I’m trying to persuade Rob to play on Sunday,” Clarke added. “His presence gives the side real strength in depth.
“Last Saturday we lost our way with the bat after a great start, but we battled hard in the field and we had a great chance of winning when the rain came.”
Opener Lewis Bruce struck 59 for Town and with Alex Mitchell cracking a quickfire 47 Town looked set for a huge score when reaching 152-3 but the loss of six wickets for nine means meant last pair Vansh Bajaj (24no) and Jamie Smit had to battle hard in a stand of 27.
Seamers Jamie Smith (2-31), in his first bowl for six weeks, and David Sayer (2-33) always looked threatening for Town with the former picking up the prize scalp of former Northants all-rounder Rob White for 28.
But 17 runs conceded to wides in 18 overs kept ONs in touch as did a bad dropped catch which would have left the visitors reeling at 50-5.
“If we’d have taken that catch we would have been able to rush through our overs to make sure Duckworth Lewis delivered a result,” Clarke said.
“As it was the margins were very tight so we couldn’t gamble.”