Quiet confidence will underpin Peterborough Town’s Northants League campaign this season.
The optimistic fanfare that usually accompanies the start of the city side’s Northants Premier Division season is absent - losing star bowlers Joe Dawborn and Paul McMahon has seen to that - but skipper David Clarke expects his team to prove the naysayers wrong.
Oundle’s big summer recruitment drive has seen them installed as more likely title winners than a Town team who have not finished outside the top three in a decade.
But Clarke is happy about that as he prepares to lead Town into their first match at Rushden tomorrow (April 28). Oundle’s all-star team host Brixworth at Milton Road (noon).
“We’ve lost a couple of star names, but we’ve picked up a couple of quality players in Rob Sayer and Vansh Bajaj as well,” Clarke insisted.
“It’s going to be different this season as we will probably sneak under the radar a bit, but that might suit us.
“I still expect us to do well. We are not resigned to a season when we don’t challenge for the title. We will aim to be competitive in every game and see where it takes us. The top three is our goal.
“Rushden are usually an aggressive team so we will have to be ready for that.”
Lewis Bruce is the only notable absentee from Town’s team. Bajaj and seamer Mark Edwards, from Ramsey, will make their Town debuts.
Town (from): D. Clarke, A. Butt, R. Sayer, K. Judd, V. Bajaj, A. Mitchell, D. Sayer, M. Milner, C. Milner, M. Danyaal, J. Smith, M. Edwards.
Market Deeping started their Lincs Premier Division season in style with a four-wicket win over neighbours Bourne at Outgang Road. Tomorrow they make the trek to newly-promoted Scunthorpe, while Bourne host Louth at the Abbey Lawns (noon).
Ufford Park are the only local side with a home game in the Cambs League this weekend. They entertain Saffron Walden seconds tomorrow (12.30pm) hoping to build on last weekend’s win over Grant seconds.
Nassington have pulled their first team out of Rutland Division One due to a shortage of players.
Saturday April 28
Premier Division (noon): Oundle v Brixworth, Rushden v Peterborough Town.
Division Two (noon): Peterborough Town 2nds v Rothwell.
Division Three (noon): Brixworth 2nds v Oundle 2nds.
Lincs Premier Division
(noon): Bourne v Louth, Scunthorpe v Market Deeping.
Division One (12.30pm): Histon v Wisbech, Kimbolton v Ramsey.
Cambs Division Two (12.30pm): St Giles v Castor, Great Shelford v Stamford Town, Ufford Park v Saffron Walden 2nds.
Sunday, April 29
Division One (12.30pm): Barnack v Bourne, King’s Keys v Grantham, Peterborough Town v Ketton Sports, Wisbech v Weldon.