Injuries to key Town men and an outstanding performance from Oundle has left the city side in danger of not qualifying for finals day in the Northants T20 Championships. The last round of qualifying games take place this Saturday and Town must beat hosts Brigstock and Old Northamptonians while also receiving help from elsewhere to have any chance of reaching the semi-finals.
And on Sunday Town host Essex Premier League leaders Wanstead and Snaresbrook in the Area Final of the ECB Club KO (Bretton Gate, 1pm) when the likely absence of skipper David Clarke (hamstring) and the definite unavailability of all-rounder Lewis Bruce (broken thumb) will be keenly felt. There’s also a chance in-form Mohammed Danyaal won’t make it for family reasons – the former Stamford School student claimed 5-6 on his first bowl for Cambs in an eight-wicket win against Shropshire in the NCCA Trophy last Sunday.
Town knocked Wanstead out of the National T20 quarter-final in 2014 and it’s the Sunday game the city side will prioritise this weekend as they seek to reach the national rounds of the 40-over competition for the first time in the club’s history. Wanstead have won all six of their league games and rattled up 400 in 54 overs in their last outing.
"It should be a great game between two top-of-the-table sides on a belting batting track,” Clarke enthused. “It’s bad timing to have a couple of injuries – although I will leave it as late as possible before deciding whether I play or not – but we have a lot of good players who have waited patiently for opportunities and we are at home which is a big advantage in national competitions.
“We will go to Brisgtock to try and win both games to see where we end up. We didn’t execute our plans very well at all last weekend so that was disappointing.”
Fiery seamer Mark Edwards is not in action on Saturday, but will be back in the first team on Sunday. Classy batsman Sulemain Saleem and veteran opening bowler Jamie Smith could return on both days after turning out for the seconds last weekend.