Brilliant Butt hits a super ton for Town
CRICKET: Akhtar’s boys close the gap on table-topping Saints with easy win
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.