A fine start but Kettering won’t look to promotion just yet

Irthlingborough celebrate a wicket during their eight-wicket success over St Crispin & Ryelands in Division Two last weekend. Pictures by Alison Bagley
Irthlingborough celebrate a wicket during their eight-wicket success over St Crispin & Ryelands in Division Two last weekend. Pictures by Alison Bagley

Four wins in a row have left Kettering sitting in a very healthy second place in the early standings of the Northants Cricket League’s Division Two table.

But you won’t find many at Northampton Road talking about a possible promotion charge, not for the time being anyway.

Rushden enjoy the moment after they claimed a Brixworth wicket in their Premier Division clash, which ended in an interrupted draw

Rushden enjoy the moment after they claimed a Brixworth wicket in their Premier Division clash, which ended in an interrupted draw

This is the fourth season Kettering have played in the third tier following their relegation from Division One back in 2013.

Since then, their bids to return have seen them finish third, fourth and fifth in the respective campaigns that have followed.

Captain Lewis James admits promotion had been the undoubted target in those seasons.

And while the main aim is to return to Division One, it would seem any pressure to do so has been lifted with the focus now being on ensuring players earn their spots in the team.

“In each of the last three years we have said that we wanted to get promoted and it hasn’t happened,” James said.

“So we are not focusing too heavily on it this time.

“We are taking it game by game and we will see where we end up.

“Of course, getting promoted and winning the league is the target everyone has at the start of the season and we have started well.

“We have been working a lot harder in training this season and people are having to earn their places in the team instead of being given it.

“If players don’t train then they won’t play and we feel that’s the right way to do it.”

Having slipped to a two-wicket defeat to Wellingborough Indians on the opening day, it has been full steam ahead since then with four wins in a row.

The latest of those was a fine eight-wicket success over Long Buckby as Guven Kooner (108no) and James Parker (59) made a chase of a target of 174 look fairly simple.

“It’s been a decent start,” James added.

“I think we would have won the first game if we had just scored another 20 runs or so but we got beaten fair and square in the end.

“But since then it has been good. Guven got the majority of the runs last weekend and we will have him a lot more this season, which is going to be big for us.

“It is a fairly young side but they are all another year older and we are looking for everyone to step up.”