Peterborough Town professional Paul McMahon, a master of all-things cricket related, delivered a mixed bag of marks after his team’s opening Northants Premier Division performance of the season today (April 25).
The reigning champions beat Wollaston by three wickets at Bretton Gate, but as they were only chasing a modest victory target of 93, it’s clear that some parts of Town’s winning machine were working better than others.
McMahon graded the bowling as 9.5/10 (‘honestly, we bowled superbly), the ground fielding as 8/10, the catching as 2/10 (‘we dropped three catches and missed one stumping’) and the batting as 4/10 (‘we should have knocked it off with little trouble as the pitch was blameless’), but as least Town picked up 25 points which is more than they managed from the first day of last season, a campaign that ended in a third-straight title success.
Wollaston will in all probaliity struggle this season. They won the toss and batted which was a rare positive act from a set of players that were out-matched in ability, if not in concentration and stubbornness.
Town’s opening bowlers jamie Smith and Joe Dawborn beat the bat with great regularity and a wicket apiece was scant reward for their domination, but if seamers doe’t claim the wickets for Town, spinners usually will.
Wollaston grafted their way to 54-2, but then lost their last eight wickets for 38 to off-spinners Paul McMahon and Lewis Bruce. Captain Bruce celebrated the recent birth of his first child by claiming 5-17 from 11 overs, while McMahon picked up 3-24 from 15 overs as Town reached tea thinking of an early finish.
It did take only 25 overs and two balls to seal the win, but they disappointingly lost seven wickets while doing so. Town always looked likely to succeed, but they will need to sharpen their game up before they head off for a derby date with title dark horses Oundle at Milton Road next Saturday (May 2).
Marcus Howard (28no), who struck a six to get off the mark. and Callum French (26), who could be leaving the area for employment and personal reasons soon, did best for Town with the bat.
Meanwhile Oundle were in far more convincing form at Horton House. Newcomer Zeeshan Manzoor was a destructive hitter when playing for Barnack in the Rutland League last season and embellished that reputation by smashing 95 not out from just 46 balls as Oundle reached 253.
Horton were dismissed for 161 in reply with Bashrat Hussain, Richard Cunningham and Ben Graves each taking three wickets as Oundle collected the maxiumum 30 points.
N. Mosey b Dawborn 5
M. Jones c Milner b Smith 5
M. Ralph lbw Bruce 27
S. Musgrave c Young b McMahon 21
L. Bates b McMahon 9
C. Elderton b McMahon 0
C. Perry b Bruce 5
M. Carter not out 16
J. Coutts b Bruce 0
J. Driver lbw Bruce 0
K. Bahra lbw Bruce 3
Bowling: J. Dawborn 11-5-16-1; J. Smith 12-3-33-1; P. McMahon 15-6-24-3; L. Bruce 11-4-17-5.
A, Butt b Coutts 7
L. Bruce c Bates b Coutts 0
D. Clarke lbw Bahra 14
C. French c Coutts b Perry 26
T. Young c Musgrave b Perry 9
M. Howard not out 28
P. McMahon c Driver b Musgrave 7
C. Milner c Jones b Parry 0
J. Smith not out 0
TOTAL (7 wkts) 93
Bowling: J. Coutts 7-0-27-2; K. Bahra 7-1-20-1; C. Parry 6-2-14-3; S. Musgrave 5.2-0-33-1.
HORTON HOUSE lost to OUNDLE by 82 runs
Oundle 253 (Z. Manzoor 95no, A. Martin 40).
Horton House 161 (B. Hussain, R. Cunningham, Graves)