A crucial win keeps Old Grammarians on course

The Desborough players celebrate a wicket during their victory at Overstone Park in the top-of-the-table clash in Division One. Picture by Dave Ikin
The Desborough players celebrate a wicket during their victory at Overstone Park in the top-of-the-table clash in Division One. Picture by Dave Ikin

The battle for promotion in Division Three looks to be one of the most intriguing in the Hevey Building Supplies Northamptonshire League this season.

Those in the top two places come the end of the campaign will be plying their trade in Division Two next year and the race for promotion was opened up last weekend.

While the weather had a role to play for the first time in a long time, there were no problems for Old Grammarians as they inflicted just a second defeat of the season on leaders Weldon to move to within 20 points of them.

They did it in emphatic style as well.

Mauro Saracino (95), Anthony Shepherdson (85), Gary Small (75) and Tom Shepherdson (46no) led second-placed OGs to a huge 353-9 before Andrew Houlden (3-22) and Andrew Brierley (3-27) did the damage with the ball as they wrapped up a big 192-run success.

Captain Tom Pace missed out on the crucial victory as he was on his bike to take part in the RideLondon 100 last weekend.

But he was understandably delighted to see his players pick up a vital success.

“It’s definitely a case of so far, so good for us and hopefully it continues,” Pace said.

“It was a huge game for the boys last weekend so for them to get the right result was fantastic.

“If you look at our scorecards, the availability has been generally quite good.

“When you consider what is happening in cricket and the fact that some clubs are struggling to get sides out there, the fact that we have had good availability has helped us.

“We also have strength in depth. Anyone in our team could bat anywhere between one and 10 so to have that to choose from is a huge help.”

The likes of Geddington 2nd, Wollaston 2nd and Irchester are all chasing OGs and Weldon in the battle for top-two supremacy.

And Pace knows there will twists and turns in the final eight weeks of the season.

“There are going to be slip ups,” he added.

“We had one against Brixworth 2nd the week before we played Weldon and we didn’t really know where it came from.

“But we came back and proved that we are good enough to be up there.

“It’s really close up there, we have a 20-point gap either way. We are 20 points behind Weldon and 20 ahead of Geddington 2nd and there are other teams chasing as well so there isn’t much in it.

“Things can change really quickly so it is going to be an interesting second half of the season.”

Desborough took a giant step towards a return to the NCL top-flight as they beat Division One title rivals Overstone Park by five wickets.

Batting first, Overstone reached 225-6 with Jordan Capel (75) and Vikesh Patel (68) the main contributors.

But Desborough chased that down in just 34.4 overs, thanks in the main to opener Jake Bindley.

He carried his bat for an unbeaten 95 from 88 balls while the main support came from Lee Pollard (48).

The win means Desborough are now 15 points clear at the summit with eight games to play.

Old Northamptonians 2nd took advantage to close the gap on Overstone as they thumped Burton Latimer by eight wickets.

Scott Sanders struck 62 in Burton’s 183 all out but it wasn’t enough as an opening stand of 127 between Daniel Hill (97no) and Jack Newton (53) paved the way for ONs’ success.

Finedon Dolben moved to within nine points of Old Northamptonians in the race for the Premier Division title after a four-wicket win over Rushden.

While ONs had to settle for 10 points from their ‘no result’ at Peterborough, Dolben took full advantage.

Tom Brett (3-13) and Vicram Sohal (3-29) helped bowl Rushden out for 168 and it would have been even worse had Sam Kumar not struck a superb 105 from 102 balls.

But Finedon got to the target on 169-6 with contributions from Tom Sole (48), Drew Brierley (32) and Sohal (32) before captain Callum Berrill (23no) finished the job.