Peterborough Town thirsting for revenge on the opening day of the Northants League season and local teams contest a National competition
Peterborough Town’s opening Northants Premier Division fixture of the season tomorrow could be a cracker based on last season’s clash with Rushden at Bretton Gate (April 27, noon).
Town are keen keen to gain revenge for a shock 16-run defeat from the 2018 campaign after a game that yielded close to 600 runs.
Three players struck tons that day, Charlie Thurston and Chanaka Ruwansiri for Rushden and Rob Sayer for Town, but the latter’s dismissal prompted a collapse from 226-2 to 288 all out.
Sayer is due to fly home from a winter playing cricket in Australia in time to play, but Thurston, a member of Northants first-class squad, is not likely to be involved.
“Ruwansiri should be about though,” Town skipper David Clarke said. “And he has batted beautifully in the last two seasons at our place.
“But we will back ourselves to win this time. I don’t know a lot about Rushden’s line-up for this season, but we will probably have the greater strength in depth.
“We’re pleased to have signed Josh Smith. He’s a high-class batsman and a more than decent slow bowler. With Rob Sayer and Lewis Bruce expected to play much more this season that should also help us. It’s a strong-looking batting line-up even if we have lost Asim Butt.
“We’ve enjoyed some high-scoring friendlies and we’re raring to get stuck into the league. We’re not making any predictions this season. We’re going to play some bold, attacking cricket and see where it takes us.”
A top order of Clarke, Sayer, Bruce and Smith is an exciting prospect, especially as the Bretton Gate track is expected to favour batsmen. David Sayer, Chris Milner, Alex Mitchell and Vansh Bajaj is a strong middle order as well.
Bajaj, who won’t play until the end of May because of exams, made his first-class debut for Cambridge MCCU this summer.
David Sayer, Mark Edwards and Jamie Smith will compete for the new ball with Rob Sayer, Bruce, Smith, Matt Milner and Bajaj all capable of good off-spin bowling.
Butt has joined Premier Division Brigstock this summer as has teenage spinner Mohammed Saif. Saif is a top prospect with the Northants Academy and needs to play Premier Division cricket to further his career.
The ICC World Cup Trophy will be on display at Bretton Gate on Saturday on the last leg of a worldwide tour.
Oundle start their Premier Division season at Northampton Saints. They also have a plethora of slow bowling options, but they a few runs to find from last season as James Kettleborough has left.
Oundle expect a big season from the talented Craig brothers Connor and Harrison.
Town also host Cambs Division One side Sawston & Babraham in the first round of Royal London Club Championship on Sunday (April 28, 1pm). Town enjoyed a club record run to the last 16 in this competition last season. Ramsey have conceded their scheduled tie against Bourne.
Sawston & Babraham are at Ramsey in the opening Cambs Division One League match of the season tomorrow (12.30pm).
Saturday, April 27
(Noon)Premier Division: Northampton Saints v Oundle, Peterborough Town v Rushden.
LINCS PREMIER DIVISION
(noon): Grantham v Market Deeping.
(12.30pm) Division One: Ramsey v Sawston & Babraham.
Sunday, April 28
ROYAL LONDON CLUB CHAMPIONSHIP
(1pm) First round: Peterborough Town v Sawston & Babraham.
(1pm) Division One: March v King’s Keys, Market Deeping v Oundle Town.