A happy return for Rushden as Brixworth are downed

Old Northamptonians seamer Afaq Babar in action during the five-wicket defeat of Wollaston
Old Northamptonians seamer Afaq Babar in action during the five-wicket defeat of Wollaston

Rushden’s return to the top flight of the NCL produced an encouraging opening as they squeezed past Brixworth.

Having been put into bat, the visitors recovered from 91-7 to post a competitive 235-8 in their 55 overs.

Peter Caunt was mainly responsible as he made an unbeaten 79 and he was assisted by Sam Bold who chipped in with 38 not our.

Opener Mikey Phillips then hit 88 in the reply but Brixworth chipped away and at 227-9 they would’ve fancied their chances but Oliver Woodhouse and Simon Childs saw the home side over the line.

Peterborough’s defence of the title began in frustrating fashion as Rushton ground out a draw at Bretton Gate.

Callum French’s 77 dominated the hosts’ 163 (Jake Higginbotham 5-49) but this total proved to be out of Rushton’s reached as they closed on 111-7 with only Jon Carpenter (44) making much impression.

Finedon recorded a comfortable 80-run victory over Stony Stratford.

Ben Howgego got his year off to an excellent start with an unbeaten 154 - Greg Evans adding 82 - as the home team declared on 252-2.

Will Sneath (5-20) then reduced Stony to 49-8 and although Edward Tate and Jarrod Pretorious made half centuries, they were bowled out for 172 in the 52nd over.

Oundle got the better of Northampton Saints at Birchfield Road East as they claimed a tight one-wicket victory.

Luke Cummins, on his Oundle debut, took 5-41 as the Saints were restricted to 167-9 (Zak Harvey 74) in their allocation.

At 58-5, Oundle were in a spot of bother, but Phil Adams’ undefeated 67 thwarted the efforts of Mark Wolstenholme (6-40) as they edged to victory.

Wollaston were on the wrong end of a five-wicket reverse against Old Northamptonians.

Only Steve Musgrave reached 30 as Wollaston were bowled out for 140 and the home side, led by Rob White (71) reached their target in the 36th over.

The other game of the round saw Horton House record a three-wicket win over Burton Latimer at Hall Field.

Will Smith took 6-27 as Burton could only manage 140 and Jack Johnson then top scored with 43 as Horton reached their target with more than 12 overs to spare.