Weak­ened Town are granted no mercy

The Peterborough Evening Telegraph - - Et Sport -

NA­TIONAL CLUB CHAM­PI­ONSHIP

PETER­BOR­OUGHTOWN were just a Mi­nor Coun­ties bats­man away from win­ning their Na­tional Club Cham­pi­onship first round tie at Granta.

It was al­ways go­ing to be a tall or­der beat­ing the East Anglian Premier Di­vi­sion cham­pi­ons with four star men on Cam­bridgeshire duty, but Town fell ag­o­nis­ingly short by just 25 runs in the thrice-de­layed con­test.

Runs were hard to come by on a slug­gish sur­face, but­town were happy at half-time as Granta had set them a mod­est win­ning tar­get of just 196 in 45 overs.

Basharat Hus­sain’s steady seam­ers were re­warded by four wick­ets at a cost of 52 runs, but teenager Rob Sayer was the pick of thetown bowlers by con­ced­ing just 22 runs from his max­i­mum al­lo­ca­tion of nine overs.

Matt Mil­ner picked up two wick­ets with his off-spin and Jamie Smith was the other suc­cess­ful bowler as Granta closed on 195-8.

Mil­ner was pro­moted from the sec­onds as cover for the ab­sent stars as was Martin Hair and they were two oftown’s high­est scor­ers.

Mil­ner made 32 and Hair scored 20, but­town’s hopes of a win de­creased sig­nif­i­cantly when pro­fes­sional Asim Butt was dis­missed early for just 12.

Chris Budd (26) did his bit, but the rest floun­dered against an ac­cu­rate home bowl­ing at­tack.

Town had en­tered the com­pe­ti­tion for the first time in over a decade and will prob­a­bly do so again in the hope that they can play ties on dates that don’t clash with Mi­nor Coun­ties cricket.

Pro­fes­sional all-rounder Paul Mcma­hon, star bats­men David Clarke and Alan Bur­ton, and high-class off­spin­ner/bat­ter Lewis Bruce all missed the match.

Town skip­per Ajaz Akhtar said: “Just one of those play­ers could have made all the dif­fer­ence and if we’d played this game last week when we had ev­ery­one avail­able I’m sure we would have won.

“Hav­ing said that the lads that came in all did well, It would have been good for the club to have had a good run in the com­pe­ti­tion, but with so many play­ers away it was al­ways go­ing to be tough to get through.”

PICK OF THE BOWLERS: Rob Sayer.

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