Paul the Town pro earns his dough
PAUL Mcmahon really shouldn’t be such a perfect fit for Peterborough Town.
If he entered a TV quiz show it would be Mastermind (specialist subject Notts first-class batting averages 1960 to the present day) whereas most of his team-mates find the questions on Deal or no Deal too taxing a challenge.
And while some Town batsmen on the sidelines spend their idle time tweeting inanely, professor Mcmahon is more likely to be using his phone to google the most effective way to dismiss his next opponents.
Even so Mcmahon has become an extremely effective pro. He took 8-47 at Bretton Gate on Saturday as Town despatched Stony Stratford by 85 runs to maintain their position at the top of the Northants Premier Division.
In fact was a ‘top’ day all-round for the off-spinning artist. He topped the Premier Division wicket-taking charts in his debut season in the competition last summer and he’s topping the same list for 2012.
He’s snared 17 victims and yet he’s bowled just 39 overs. His wickets are costing just over five runs apiece and this was his best return in a Town shirt.
Stony had made a decent start when faced with a daunting task of chasing down Town’s 271-7. The visitors had been given 60 overs to achieve victory and the Bretton Gate wicket was somehow dry and true, thanks to some effective covers and magical groundsmen.
Town skipper Ajaz Akhtar did trap Stony’s South African run machine Sharn Gomes early on, but the cricketing OAP was then treated insensitively by opener Mihir Choksi and Northants staff member Rob Keogh.
But one brutal over of four boundaries merely hurried the arrival of Town’s spinners and whereas Lewis Bruce struggled to keep his fingers warm in the biting cold, Mcmahon proved why his club are prepared to supplement his London-weighted legal wages,
An acrobatic caught and bowled saw the back of Choksi and two more victims soon followed in successive balls thanks to a smart piece of work by wicket-keeper Chris Budd and a juggling caught and bowled.
The game was now up for Stony despite the serene progress made by Keogh who finished unbeaten on 85 withstanding both Mcmahon and some inventive sledging.
Keogh though was happy to let his less-able team-mates tackle Mcmahon which as a tactic was right-up there with bouncing the West Indian attack of the 1980s.
Rob Sayer’s nonchalantly-taken overhead catch was the Town fielding highlight as Stony were finally dismissed for 186. The dollies dropped by Alan Burton and Bruce were not so impressive, although the pair were in form with the bat along with Town’s junior pro Asim Butt.
Burton and David Clarke put on 35 for the opening wicket (223 fewer than the week before), as the former, a Desperate Dan lookalike, bashed 57 before falling disappointingly to a slow full toss.
Butt was totally untroubled in reaching 74 before slipping and treading on his wicket, but that just left centre stage to Bruce who was in majestic form.
The former Deacon’s schoolboy may have the physique of a pigeon, but his timing is so perfect he can power a ball beyond even the imposing Bretton gate boundaries.
Bruce smacked a six and eight fours and finished unbeaten on 79 to leave the Stony fielding unit in as big a mess as they left their changing room.