Peterborough Town skipper David Clarke insists his team will thrive under the pressure of being Northants Premier Division title favourites.
A convincing 89-run win at the home of reigning champions Finedon last weekend has given Town control of the title race and Clarke now wants his side to kick on against third-placed Brigstock at Bretton Gate tomorrow (June 29, noon).
This is a fixture with added spice as it heralds the return to Town of Asim Butt, a star man at Bretton Gate for a decade before switching to Brigstock in the close season.
Young off-spinner Mohammed Saif also moved to Brigstock from Town in the winter.
“It will be good to see Asim again,” Clarke stated. “There were no hard feelings about his departure and we all recognise what a really good player he was for us. He’s likely to be highly-motivated to do well tomorrow.
“Saif is also a very talented player, but we won’t be worrying about anything they have. We will be concentrating on our own game.
“I would say we are favourites to win the title now.
“That was a serious test at Finedon last weekend and we came through it well with an outstanding team performance.
“There wouldn’t have been many games at our level of a better standard in the country as there were a lot of minor counties players on view.
“We beat a very good team very comfortably. The pressure will increase, but we have enough experienced players to cope.
“It was good to see so many players contributing.
“Alex Mitchell played a crucial innings at number seven with the bat and Mark Edwards and Jame Smith just stifled their reply. It was very encouraging and when the league switches to straight win or lose we should be even better.”
Clarke returned to the side at Finedon after a long spell on the sidelines with a knee injury. He could select the same team again tomorrow.
Bourne Cricket Club are hosting a prestigious Unicorns Trophy quarter-final match at the Abbey Lawns on Sunday (11am).
Cumberland are the visitors to take on Lincolnshire in a 50-over match. Admission is free.
Cambridgeshire are also in quarter-final action as they travel to Knypsersley to take on Staffordshire.
Wisbech Town all-rounder James Williams will skipper a side that includes clubmate Josh Bowers, Peterborough Town’s pair Rob Sayer and Harrison Craig of Oundle Town.
Cambs: E. Ballard, W. Hussain, C. Guest, C. Park, J. Williams, R. Sayer, T. Moses, J. Bowers. B. Allison, H. Craig, S. Rippington.
Sayer helped rescue Cambridgeshire from terrible trouble on the opening day of the Unicorns Championship season at March Town last weekend.
Cambs were 64-6 against Norfolk when Sayer joined wicket-keeper Lee Thomason at the crease and the pair promptly added 138 for the seventh wicket.
Sayer struck 75 and Thomason 103 as Cambs were dismissed for 276.
The match was eventually abandoned as a draw when nicely poised.
Bourne host Boston in the Lincs Premier Division tomorrow (noon) when there is a crucial Cambs Division Two derby between strugglers and Ufford Park at Port Lane (12.30pm).
Saturday, June 29
(Noon) Premier Division: Geddington v Oundle Town, Peterborough Town v Brigstock.
LINCS PREMIER DIVISION
(Noon): Bourne v Boston, Bracebridge Heath v Market Deeping.
(12.30pm) Division One: March Town v Histon, Ramsey v Wisbech Town.
Division Two: Castor v Ufford Park, St Ives & Warboys v Stamford Town.
Sunday, June 30
(11am) Quarter-finals: Lincolnshire v Cumberland (at Bourne), Staffordshire v Cambridgeshire (at Knypersley).
(1pm) Division One: Grantham v Peterborough Town, Oundle Town v March Town, Wisbech Town v Castor.