Peterborough Town remain top and unbeaten in the Northants Premier Division, but they will view yesterday’s (June 8) drawn game with Northampton Saints as a missed opportunity to strengthen their early-season hold on the title race.
Northants League teams did better than most in delivering action on a day badly affected by rain, but for all it meant shortened games. Town and Saints contested a 26-overs-a-side match and it was so tight all three results were still possible with two overs of the game to go when Town needed 20 with three wickets in hand to pass Saints’ 156-5.
The dismissal of Mark Edwards to the first ball of the penultimate over changed Town’s mindset though. They settled for losing draw points from then on - much to the chagrin of one lippy fielder who was warned twice by the umpires for unseemly chuntering - and they gathered enough to maintain a three-point lead at the top. All Town’s rivals towards the top managed to win, but none faced a side as strong as Saints.
Town let their visitors off the hook though. Most of the Saints side arrived just moments before the revised 4.15pm start time and they looked unprepared as they crashed to 18-3. It should have been 18-4 and four wickets for in-form Edwards as Mo Rivzi was missed at slip before he’d scored. It was to prove a costly blunder.
Rivzi (54) and Zaakir Khawaja (74no) re-built the innings patiently before launching some huge shots into the tennis courts and beyond during a fourth-wicket stand of 109 as Town’s battery of slow bowlers failed to gain any control.
Town still possessed a batting line-up capable of winning, but openers Chris Milner and Lewis Bruce departed in the same over and Rob Sayer wasn’t far behind them after suffering an lbw decision that clearly irritated him.
Josh Smith batted beautifully for 47, but some poor dismissals at the other end meant his departure five overs from the close effectively ended hopes of a sixth straight win.
Town are back in action today (June 9) when contesting the first stage of the Northants T20 competition at Loddington. Holders Town face Oundle, whose Premier Division game was washed out yesterday, in the semi-final (1.20pm) with the winners playing either Old Northamptonians or the host club in the final straight afterwards.
Bourne and Market Deeping saw their Lincs Premier Division game abandoned before a ball was bowled yesterday. Only one game survived in the top two Cambs League divisions and none involved a local team.
Saturday, June 8
NORTHANTS PREMIER DIVISION
PETERBOROUGH TOWN drew with NORTHAMPTON SAINTS
Saints 156-5 (Z. Khawaja 74, M. Rivi 54, M. Edwards 3-28).
Town 143-8 (J. Smith 47, C. Milner 21, M. Rivzi 3-33, M. Wolstenholme 3-40).
Northants Premier Division: Oundle Town v Desborough.
Lincs Premier Division: Louth v Bourne, Market Deeping v Sleaford.
Cambs Division One: March Town v Sawston & Babraham, Wisbech Town v Eaton Socon.
Cambs Division Two: Castor v Waresley, Ufford Park v Stamford Town.