Usain Bolt wouldn’t have beaten Oundle Town in the Northants Premier Division any quicker than Peterborough Town did today (May 2).
There was a huge gulf in class and quality at Milton Road as the city side romped home by 10 wickets in a match that lasted 37 overs and three balls and a shade under three hours. Good news for those keen on following the Premier League relegation battle, but bad news for those who enjoy competitive cricket.
Oundle are a decent top flight side. They finished fifth last season and, as their skipper Phil Adams asserted before the game, they were keen to knock the reigning champions off their perch. Adams acted positively by electing to bat first when winning the toss and enjoyed a decent 30 minutes, but then the wheels fell off in spectacular fashion.
Oundle opener Mark Hodgson creamed Jamie Smith for four successive boundaries to take his side to 36-0, but his dismissal for 26 to a catch behind off Joe Dawborn changed the course of the game.
Dawborn, who will play for Leicestershire seconds in a four-day game starting on Tuesday (May 5), is deadlier than a killer shark when he scents blood and he promptly shot Alex Martin and Zeeshan Manzoor out in the space of three balls on his way to figures of 6-29 from a ball under 14 overs. Big-hitting Manzoor’s departure to the second ball he faced drew gasps of disappointment from the sizeable crowd, and not just because Premier Division ‘blocker’ Adams was walking out to the crease.
Smith quickly knocked Adams’ stumps over and the rest of the Oundle batting line-up folded quickly. Off-spinning Town professional Paul McMahon took a wicket with his first ball, another with his third ball, dropped a caught and bowled off his sixth ball and finished with 3-3 from three overs as Oundle were bowled out for 75 as 10 wickets fell for just 35 runs.
Town struggled to chase 92 the previous week, but openers Asim Butt and Lewis Bruce were in imperious form from the first ball. Their timing was impeccable as they tore into former team-mate Bashrat Hussain from the off. Butt took 12 from the first over and when the winning runs arrived in the 11th over, Hussain had conceded 45 runs from 34 deliveries.
Butt finished unbeaten on 42 from 31 balls and Bruce was 32 not out from 34 balls. Both had slices of luck when facing Petrus Jeftha as Butt was caught and bowled off a no-ball and Bruce offered a hard chance to the slip cordon, but this was a one-sided encounter that did no favours to the standing of an ECB League standard competition.
Nor did a points system that awarded Town ‘just’ 25 points for a win that could hardly have been any more conclusive. Town, who have won their first two matches, are 10 points behind likely title rivals Finedon who have picked up extra points purely because they were able to bat first and win.
M. Hodgson c Milner b Dawborn 26
M. Bell c Young b Dawborn 12
A. Martin c Milner b Dawborn 4
Z. Manzoor lbw Dawborn 0
P. Jeftha b McMahon 14
P. Adams b Smith 0
P. Foster b Dawborn 1
G. Martin b McMahon 3
B. Hussaib c Butt b McMahon 1
R. Cunningham b Dawborn 6
P. Wilson not out 0
Bowling: J. Dawborn 13.5-4-29-6; J. Smith 10-1-37-1; P. McMahon 3-1-2-3.
A. Butt not out 42
L. Bruce not out 32
TOTAL (0 wkts) 77
Bowling: B. Hussain 5.4-0-45-0; P. Jeftha 5-0-31-0.