Stony Stratford Earn Creditable Draw Against Peterborough
|Author: Steve Bellew||Published: 8th May 2011 22:12|
Stony Stratford 1st XI drew with Peterborough
Northants Cricket League, Premier Division
Stony Stratford ground out a creditable draw against a strong Peterborough side to maintain their solid start to the new season at Ostlers Lane on Saturday.
Peterborough, who lost out on the title by a point last year, came to Stony having been tipped by many to go one better this season and wrestle the NCL championship away from Finedon. But whilst they were in control for three quarters of the game, the visitors never looked like beating Stony, who had South African star Sharn Gomes to thank again for another fine innings as they comfortably held on for the draw.
Stony skipper Steve Bellew won his third successive toss and with plenty of rain around overnight and on Saturday morning, he decided to ask Peterborough to bat first. When Bellew ripped through the visitors top order to leave them on 31 for 3, Stony looked poised to run through what looked to be a shaky batting line up. With the ball swinging prodigiously, Bellew trapped Pakistani professional Asim Butt and Martin Hair in front lbw.
The ball was swinging to such an extent that a leg slip was required and Gomes, who had only been in the position a handful of balls, took a sharp low chance to dismiss Lewis Bruce off Bellew. 19 year old David Clarke, one of the league's better young players was struggling to survive against Bellew and Habib Ullah but a key turning point was to follow as he gloved a rising ball from Bellew down the leg side to keeper Jarrod Pretorius. Pretorius, who has been in fine form with the gloves in the early part of the season, dropped what was a relatively straightforward chance and it was to cost Stony dear as the Peterborough opener went on to score a decisive hundred.
When Ashley Rodgers fell to Ullah, Peterborough were 78 for 4 from 25 overs but Clarke was joined by Cambridgeshire captain Paul McMahon and the pair put on 84 for the fifth wicket. McMahon looked uncomfortable throughout but to his credit he battled hard and made a very important 44 for his side before he became Ullah's second victim.
Peterborough were keen to try and up the rate, sensing that on what was now a pretty flat wicket, any score under 200 would be easily chaseable. Clarke brought up a fine hundred in the fiftieth over, taking the visitors past 200 in the process before falling victim to an athletic, diving catch by Bellew off the bowling of Humphries (2 for 28). Wickets fell regularly and Bellew came back to grab his fourth of the innings by dismissing Ajaz Akthar at the end, Gomes also picking up a wicket in the last overs. As the two sides left the field for the interval, the game was in the balance.
Ian Sandbrook works one off his legs It swayed immediately towards Peterborough in the first over after tea when Akthar bowled Richard Scott for a duck, but the ship was steadied by the impressive Gomes who once again showed his class. He was joined by debutant Ian Sandbrook who looked very secure and compact at number three and the pair went on to produce a solid foundation for Stony by putting on 73 for the next wicket before Sandbrook (25) fell to a sharp catch at short leg off the bowling of McMahon (2 for 39). The problem for Stony was the scoring rate. Peterborough's spin attack bowled very tightly and got more out of the wicket than their Stony counterparts.
Scoring was never easy throughout but despite losing Paul West (0) and Kevin Wijesinghe (4), Gomes was never ruffled and passed fifty without giving a chance. Nick Allen came in an blasted a quick 20 off 22 balls but when he went in the 45th over, quickly followed by Pretorius for 0 and with another 60 still needed to win, Stony decided to shut up shop and in truth never looked like losing the game. The only question was whether Gomes would score a second successive hundred. He carried his bat, for the second game in a row, but in the end finished unbeaten on 96, Stony ending up on 161 for 7 and with 8 points.
Stony travel to the County Ground in Northampton next week, where they have never won, to take on Northants Academy who have won two out of their first three games.
Stony Stratford 2nd XI beat Long Buckby by 52 runs
Northants Cricket League, Division 2
Stony 2nd XI got their first win of the season with a fine 52 run victory at Long Buckby. Stony batted first and youngster Tom Moore once more lead the way, his 77 proving to be the top score of the day and the foundation of Stony's 229 for 6. Opener John Lambe cracked a useful 46 before skipper Mike Avery (29) and Chris Bolton (33) added runs down the order to push the Stony total along past 200.
After tea it was the turn of another Stony youngster to take charge of the game. Young quickie Andrew Ellemore ran through the home side's batting order, taking 5 for 36 from 15 impressive overs. There were two wickets for leg spinner Jamie Baxter and a wicket apiece for George Humphries and Paul Brown. Long Buckby fell well short in the end, despite 46 from Sam Bevin and 29 Jack Mousley. It was a much needed win for Stony, who had struggled in their previous two games in this their first year in Division 2 of the NCL.
Stony Startford 3rd XI beat Kempston 2nd XI by 155 runs
Northants Cricket League, Division 6
There was also a first win of the season for the 3rd XI at home to Kempston Hammers 2nds. Steve Wharton proved himself to be a class apart by hammering 156 not out, his innings including 12 fours and seven sixes as Stony posted 233 for 4 declared. Nabeel Ahmed also chipped in with 38. In reply, the visitors folded to a poor 78 all out, with three wickets apiece for Neil Fewtrell and Peter Bateman.
Stony Stratford 4th XI drew with Wolverton Town 3rds
Four Counties Cricket League
The 4th XI had the better of a draw with local rivals Wolverton Town 3rds. Batting first, Stony racked up 231 for 9 with 81 from Ian West and 58 from skipper Robbie Arnold. Wolverton hung on nine down on 181 with 50 from Anthony Baker proving to be the mainstay of the innings. Stony's attack was lead by 14 year old Aaron Ashton, who took a fine 4 for 32.