PREVIEW: Huge weekend ahead for Peterborough Town
It's a massive weekend ahead for for Peterborough Town (July 21/22).
The table-topping city stars have a crunch Northants Premier Division game at neighbours Oundle tomorrow (noone start) before heading off to the Northampton County Ground for Finals Day in the Northants Twenty/20 Cup on Sunday.
Remarkably the top four in the Northants Premier Division have all made it to Finals Day.
Clarke certainly has no preference on who Town receive in a draw which takes place 30 minutes before the opening semi-final.
Rushton, Old Northamptonians and Finedon are all full of high-class performers as are Town despite the absence of professional all-rounder Paul McMahon who is on ICC duty at the Women’s’ World Cup Final at Lord’s.
“It’s the best Finals Day line-up I can remember,” Clarke stated. “Usually a couple of the top sides meet before the semi-finals.
“But these are the four best teams in the Premuer Division. The draw is largely irrelevant because you are going to have to beat two tough teams to lift the trophy.
“It’s obviously disappointing to be without McMahon, but we fancy our chances as long as we all play to our best.
“Asim Butt has a fantastic record at the County Ground and the surroundings won’t be new to most of our team.”
Town are also disappointed Twenty/20 specialist bowler Richard Kendall isn’t available. They have added youngsters Mohammed Saif and Connor Parnell to their squad, while top batsman Alex Mitchell is flying home early from a stag weekend to play.
Mitchell won’t be at Milton Road tomorrow in a game that probably has more significance for the home side than Town.
Oundle remain on the outskirts of the title race in fifth position, but in this most unpredictable of seasons Mark Hodgson’s men can’t be ruled out of a first top-flight championship.
“If they beat us they will be right back in the hunt,” Clarke admitted. “But if we beat them they can probably be ruled out.
“It’s obviously a game of huge significance for both teams and it should be a cracker. We fancy our chances against anyone, but Oundle are the strongest they’ve ever been at this level.
“They have a lot of depth to their batting as a they’ve proved a couple of times recently.
“But we will have a strong side out and we are in the middle of a good run of form.”
Lewis Bruce returns to the Town team tomorrow, but fast bowler David Sayer is doubtful because of a bad back.