Captain Mills leading the way in Earls Barton’s fine start

Geddington celebrate the wicket of Wollaston's Patrick Bright during their nine-wicket success in the NCL Premier Division last weekend. Pictures by Alison Bagley
Geddington celebrate the wicket of Wollaston's Patrick Bright during their nine-wicket success in the NCL Premier Division last weekend. Pictures by Alison Bagley
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If it’s runs you are after then Earls Barton have been the team to watch so far this season.

Having been promoted from Division Three of the NCL last year, the step up to Division Two has been no problem in the early stages.

Weldon celebrate a Podington wicket on their way to a five-wicket win in Division Four last Saturday

Weldon celebrate a Podington wicket on their way to a five-wicket win in Division Four last Saturday

Indeed, it’s been downright entertaining.

Having scraped to a two-run win over Old Grammarians on the opening day, the men from The Grange haven’t looked back with successive totals of 322-4, 253-7 and, most recently 323-2 last weekend, helping them to maintain an unbeaten start.

And captain Tom Mills is most definitely leading from the front.

He has pummelled 339 runs in four innings to make him the second highest run scorer in the league, he’s averaging 84.75 and he already has a top score of 154.

Faraz Ulhaq had every reason to smile after his unbeaten 100 helped set Rothwell up for a big 114-run victory at Irchester in Division Three of the NCL

Faraz Ulhaq had every reason to smile after his unbeaten 100 helped set Rothwell up for a big 114-run victory at Irchester in Division Three of the NCL

His knock of 98 helped set up last weekend’s win over Wellingborough Indians and the skipper believes his and his team’s success have come due to them playing with freedom.

“I just go out and enjoy myself,” a modest Mills said when asked about his superb form.

“I have played in teams before where there has been pressure on you but I am enjoying playing with my friends and slogging it around a bit!

“We have got several batsmen who should be scoring over 500 runs in a season.

“Our main focus has been on making sure we make a good start to our innings and give everyone a chance to go in and enjoy themselves.

“We have taken the pressure away and we want people to go and play their own game. I think it has paid dividends so far.”

Three wins from four matches have left Earls Barton sitting pretty in second place and already on course for another promotion, even though it remains early days.

But the desire to continue to move up is clearly strong, almost as strong as the good feeling that seems to be surrounding the club at the present time.

“The good feeling really began before the season started because we were 
doing fundraising events and it was a real club effort,” Mills added.

“That has spilled over into the cricket and we have improved our training and put a lot of time into it.

“We are a young team, I think the average age last weekend was around 22, and we said at the start of the season that we want to try to get into Division One as quickly as possible.

“There are a lot of ground improvements planned for the next couple of years and we want to work our way up as all that takes place.”