It couldn’t get much bet­ter for Town­ies

CRICKET: Akhtar leads the way in an­other com­fort­able win at Bret­ton Gate

The Peterborough Evening Telegraph - - World Cup - by ALAN SWANN

THEY could only be hap­pier times at Bret­ton Gate if Kym Marsh was on bar duty and He­ston Blu­men­thal of­fered to do the food.

Ac­tu­ally that’s not true as even the Town teas are the best in the Northants Premier Di­vi­sion these days.

Cer­tainly it would be hard to im­prove on the field as a sev­enth straight win would sug­gest. Even the late with­drawal of ace bats­man Asim Butt to a bout of food poi­son­ing couldn’t throw Town off the ti­tle track as they saun­tered to an easy eight-wicket win over Stony Strat­ford with over 50 overs to spare.

Even hard-to-please skip­per Ajaz Akhtar , whose con­stant ear-split­ting chat­ter has in­evitably led to him be­ing christined ‘the hu­man vu­vusela’, was im­pressed.

“We had a night­mare build-up with Asim fall­ing ill,” Akhtar ad­mit­ted.

“We changed the team-sheet three times, started with 10 men plus our ag­ing man­ager in the field and ended up with a side in­clud­ing three un­der 18 year-olds and some­one who only turned 18 last week.

“And yet we were again out­stand­ing. There is a good vibe around the club at the moment.”

There cer­tainly is and while Akhtar again de­liv­ered with the toss and the ball, the young­sters in the side also caught the eye.

Fif­teen year-old Rob Sayer held two catches, in­clud­ing vis­it­ing dan­ger­man Deon Ebrahim, and ef­fected a run out with a di­rect hit from 30 yards be­fore bowl­ing his off-spin tidily.

Seven­teen year-old Cal­lum French, who is so posh he goes to school on Satur­day morn­ings, left his lessons to re­place Asim and promptly took a wicket with the first ball he had ever bowled at Premier Di­vi­sion level.

He took a sec­ond in the same over and added a third to fin­ish with fig­ures of 3-9 from 14 balls. One of his vic­tims was caught by 18 year-old keeper Chris Mil­ner who again had an out­stand­ing day be­hind the stumps.

Akhtar def­i­nitely ben­e­fits from the pres­ence of a sharp stumper ca­pa­ble of stand­ing up to his swinging medium pac­ers. The cap­tain bowled beau­ti­fully to re­turn fig­ures of 5-43 from 17 suc­ces­sive overs which in­cluded a smart stump­ing.

Stony were sim­ply dread­ful though limp­ing along to 124 all-out be­fore bowl­ing the sort of dross which would have dis­graced Bret­ton Park never mind Bret­ton Gate.

Karthik Sun­daram re­placed Butt as opener and smacked 44 off just 37 balls (nine fours), while David Clarke made an un­trou­bled 46 (seven fours) be­fore hol­ing out to for­mer Zim­bab­wean in­ter­na­tional Ebrahim’s stock ball, the long hop, with vic­tory in sight.

Matthew Pate­man thugged his way to 26 not out in no time, while 17 year-old Con­nor Cunningham faced just one ball, but hit it for four to im­prove his av­er­age to 132.

Town re­main top and will make the trip to sec­ond-placed Fine­don next Satur­day (Fine­don and third­placed Northamp­ton Saints also en­joyed week­end wins) in good heart.

In con­trast Stony’s play­ers were not so happy, par­tic­u­larly the mid­dle or­der man who was so up­set at the de­ci­sion which ended his in­nings, he picked up a spec­ta­tor’s chair, an­nounced he would pay for any dam­age, and then smashed it to pieces in the dress­ing room.

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