Champagne on ice as Weldon head for another title

Finedon Dolben celebrate a wicket during last weekend's win over Peterborough as they closed in on the NCL Premier Division title. Picture by Alison Bagley
Finedon Dolben celebrate a wicket during last weekend's win over Peterborough as they closed in on the NCL Premier Division title. Picture by Alison Bagley

The champagne will be on ice for Weldon this weekend.

They need just four points from their final two matches to wrap up the Hevey Buiilding Supplies NCL Division Three title after taking the decisive step towards a second crown in a row with a crushing 10-wicket success over Irchester last weekend.

It has been an incredible couple of years for Weldon as they won the Division Four title without losing a game last season.

And they have been beaten just twice on their way to another promotion in the current campaign.

Jonathan Freeman (4-13) and captain Harpreet Saini (4-24) did the damage as Weldon bowled Irchester out for 100 last Saturday before openers Thomas Chenery (64no) and Joshua McLellan (35no) took care of the run chase.

There is, of course, still a job to do but Weldon are set for life in Division Two next season.

And skipper Saini said: “We have started to have a little think about next season and I know people who play at the next level and they don’t think there is a huge gap between the two divisions.

“But we aren’t going to get too far ahead of ourselves because there is still a job to finish this season.

“We know we need four points to wrap everything up and the boys are only thinking about that at the moment.

“I am confident we will do what we need to do at the earliest opportunity.

“We want to win the title and enjoy it before we start thinking too far ahead.”

Saini insists it has been a collective effort that has helped the club enjoy an excellent couple of years while the first-team is, in general, made up of players who have come through the ranks.

“It’s really been about all the youngsters in the club,” added Saini, who’s team head to Heyford this weekend.

“The majority of our team has come through the youth system, all the way up from the under-11s to where they are now.

“And the club have really rallied. Everyone is playing a part in helping to push it forward.

“A couple of years ago, it was a struggle but now we have people always coming forward to help behind the scenes and without them, we can’t do what we do on the field.”

The battle for the second promotion place couldn’t be closer with second-placed Old Grammarians and third-placed Wollaston 2nd locked on 385 points with Irchester a further 20 behind with two games to go.

Finedon Dolben are closing in on their first NCL Premier Division title for seven years.

Captain Callum Berrill led his team to another crucial victory as they crushed third-placed Peterborough by eight wickets at Avenue Road last weekend.

Having won the toss and put the visitors in, the Dolben bowlers restricted Peterborough to 174-8 with Tom Sole (3-31) being the pick of the home attack while only a ninth-wicket stand of 45 between Danny Mohammed (34no) and Matt Milner (16no) gave their opponents something to bowl at.

In the end, however, it proved to be nowhere near enough as Berrill (62no) and Sean Davis (40) put on 85 for the second wicket before Drew Brierley (35no) joined his captain to help finish the job in the 31st over.

With two matches remaining, the next of which is a trip to Northampton Saints on Saturday, Dolben hold a 24-point lead over second-placed Old Northamptonians who stayed in touch with a three-wicket success at Oundle.

Only Conor Craig (28) got into the 20s as Oundle were skittled out for 97 with Gareth Wade (4-22) and Tom Heathfield (3-32) doing the bulk of the damage.

The reply wasn’t straightforward, however, as Liam Fresen (4-35) tore through the ONs’ top order but they eventually scrambled home on 101-7.

Elsewhere in the top flight last weekend, there were wins for both Geddington and Rushden.

Cameron Braans took 5-9 as Geddington (194-7) beat Wollaston (137) by 57 runs while Chris Law and Chanaka Ruwansir both took four wickets as Rushden (222) saw off Horton House (175) by 47 runs.