Bril­liant Butt hits a su­per ton for Town

CRICKET: Akhtar’s boys close the gap on ta­ble-top­ping Saints with easy win

The Peterborough Evening Telegraph - - Et Sport - by ALAN SWANN

ASIM butt has a name that could in­spire a thou­sand cheeky head­lines, but the crick­eters of rush­ton wouldn’t find any of them funny.

Butt cracked a bril­liant Bret­ton Gate ton for Peter­bor­ough Town in their Northants Premier Di­vi­sion win over Rush­ton on Satur­day, just six days af­ter do­ing the same for Bar­nack against the same opo­si­tion in the Rut­land League.

Town should charge ad­mis­sion money to watch Butt bat. In a city that gets ex­cited when a few mil­lion quid pro­duces a few drib­bling foun­tains, the lit­tle mas­ter of­fers great value for money.

He is small enough to win a panto place along­side Snow White, but the Pak­istani pro’s tim­ing and class en­ables him to hit the ball as pow­er­fully as any­one.

Rush­ton ac­tu­ally set Town a chal­leng­ing tar­get of 229 for vic­tory in 55 overs.

A cou­ple of hours later it was made to look en­tirely in­ad­e­quate as Town raced to vic­tory by nine wick­ets in just un­der 36 overs.

Butt sped to 50 in 43 balls, reached his 100 in 84 balls and faced 94 balls be­fore hol­ing out for 110 off young Hunts player Jonathan Car­pen­ter.

He struck three sixes, one of which had ten­nis play­ers scat­ter­ing for cover, but there were also ex­quis­ite cover drives and well-placed cuts to ad­mire.

Butt’s dis­play rather over­shad­owed David Carke’s own splen­did 82 not out which in­cluded nine fours. Clarke drives the ball im­pres­sively straight and the pair put on 176 for the first wicket in just 28 overs be­fore Matthew Pate­man blasted a quick­fire 35 to fin­ish the con­test.

Fit­tingly Pate­man ended the af­ter­noon’s en­ter­tain­ment with a mas­sive six. It was a suit­able demon­stra­tion of Town’s dom­i­nance.

But it wasn’t all about the bats­men. On a blaz­ing hot day, Town’s bowlers did a fine job in con­tain­ing a de­cent Rush­ton line-up, es­pe­cially as pro­fes­sional Tan­veer Ahmed was away court­ing the Pak­istani na­tional se­lec­tors.

Also cap­tain Ajaz Akhtar’s right shoul­der is now so worn out he finds toss­ing a coin painful, but he did dis­miss dan­ger­man Rhodri Evans be­fore re­tir­ing to mar­shal his troops from the cov­ers.

And they didn’t let him down. Paceman Jamie Smith bowled ad­mirably ac­cu­rate for no tan­gi­ble re­ward and seamer Basharat Hus­sain would have had more than one wicket to his name with more good for­tune and a more alert um­pire.

But it was slow bowlers Richard Ken­dall and Lewis Bruce who re­ally caught the eye par­tic­u­larly as they per­formed when Rush­ton were look­ing to up the run rate.

Ken­dall has been at Bret­ton Gate for eight years and still his own team-mates strug­gle to cat­e­gorise his bowl­ing. From the bound­ary rope the web­mas­ter for one of Peter­bor­ough’s lead­ing em­ploy­ers, looks like he’d fit neatly into the pow­der­puff Bangladeshi at­tack, but from 22 yards away the ball wob­bles dis­con­cert­ingly in front of mys­ti­fied bats­man.

Ken­dall’s fig­ures didn’t grab the at­ten­tion at the close, but his team­mates were im­pressed with the con­tri­bu­tion of a man nor­mally found in the sec­ond team.

And Bruce also de­liv­ered un­der pres­sure. His 13 overs were bowled con­sec­u­tively at the end of the in­nings so 3-52 was a fine re­turn.

It would have been even bet­ter if Akhtar’s own stan­dards in the field matched what he de­mands from oth­ers.

In the end it didn’t mat­ter. Rush­ton man­aged just 58 from their fi­nal 10 overs leav­ing Town to romp home and to within two points of lead­ers Northamp­ton Saints who were held to a draw.

Town travel to Saints next week.

PETEr­bor­ough Town:

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