Oundle steal a march on their rivals
OUNDLE twice came back from the dead to maintain their lead at the top of the Rutland Division One table.
The town side were 108-8 before recovering to post a respectable 45over total of 170-9 in their match at March.
But March responded with an opening stand of 101 before collapsing to 137 all out and a 33-run defeat.
Oundle’s ability to find superstar South Africans on a yearly basis is again paying dividends.
Petrus Jeftha is a seriously quick bowler, but for the second successive Sunday he proved he is also a dashing strokeplayer.
It was his innings of 81 which rescued the Oundle innings at Burrowmoor Road. Jeftha clubbed four sixes and seven fours in a splendid display of clean hitting.
Alex Martin had earlier scored 30 for Oundle, while Callum Young picked up 4-46 for March.
David Hodson then struck a classy 71 as he put on a century for the first March wicket with stubborn stalwart John Gilson (31), but Callum Neeter (4-30) continued his fine start to the season to turn the game on its head for a second time.
Jeftha inevitably chipped in with a couple of wickets as well.
Finedon are chasing Oundle hard at this early stage of the season and they kept in touch at the top with a 58-run win a low scoring affair over Nassington.
Finedon have conquered Northamptonshire cricket regularly in recent times, but have yet to win a Rutland title. Tom Norman’s 4-29 and Obi Ahmedzai’s 3-26 kept the Finedon batting in check and Nassington would have fancied chasing their victory target of 145.
But the local batsmen struggled from the start and only Kasim Ikhlaq (25) managed to pass 20 in a team to- tal of 86-9,
Reigning champions Peterborough Town suffered a first defeat of the season, but that was to be expected as they sent a reserve side to play at Bourne because of commitments to the Minor Counties Championship and to the National Club Championships.
But stand-in skipper Bob Milne was pleased with his side as they were only beaten by 21 runs at the Abbey Lawns.
Milne said: “We did well considering and the experience will do a lot of the players a lot of good.
“It was the innings of David Christmas for them at the end which took the game away from us a bit.”
Christmas smacked a quickfire unbeaten 51 to enable Bourne to post a formidable 207-8. Skipper Pete Morgan struck 61 batting at number three.
But Town delivered a plucky response led by former soldier Stuart Williams who played some sparkling shots in an innings of 68.
Milne supported him with 36 and Alex Mitchell (26) and Paul Hillsdon (22 not out) also weighed in as Town reached 186-5.
Milne was also pleased with the bowling contributions of Asam Ali (4-60) and Anand Kak (3-41).
Stamford won their local derby at home to Barnack for the second successive season.
Stamford’s 174-6 looked vulnerable, but Barnack’s batsmen failed to offer any meaningful support to old stager Gary Scotcher who made 42 of his side’s 46.
Liam Dave was the all-round star for Stamford cracking 43 and taking 3-9. Zac Chappell (32) and Steve Armstrong (3-42) also performed well for the winners.
QUICKFIRE HALF-CENTURY: David Christmas starred for Bourne.
BEATEN BUT HAPPY: Peterborough Town’s stand-in captain Bob Milne was satisfied with his side’s display.