Paul the Town pro earns his dough

The Peterborough Evening Telegraph - - Et Sport - By ALAN SWANN

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.

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