Bunting reaches his century as Diamonds seek Trophy progress

Richard Bunting became the latest centurion for AFC Rushden & Diamonds on Tuesday night.

Captain Richard Bunting made his 100th appearance for AFC Rushden & Diamonds in Tuesday's 1-1 draw at Rugby Town
Captain Richard Bunting made his 100th appearance for AFC Rushden & Diamonds in Tuesday's 1-1 draw at Rugby Town

The Diamonds captain made his 100th appearance for the club in the 1-1 draw at Rugby Town, which extended their unbeaten run to 11 matches in the Evo-Stik Northern Premier League Division One South.

The evening didn’t pan out as most had expected with Rugby sitting rock-bottom of the table and without a home league win to their name this season.

With Diamonds in a rich vein of form, many had expected them to claim another victory but, instead, after losing central defenders Jack Ashton and Liam Dolman to injuries, it needed a Nic Evangelinos goal to secure a point after Chris Sterling had given Rugby a second-half lead.

Bunting conceded Diamonds were far from at their best.

But his milestone game did at least see the fine run continue and he quickly turned his attention to a return to the Dog & Duck this weekend as Andy Peaks’ team take on league rivals Lincoln United in the second qualifying round of the Buildbase FA Trophy.

Reflecting on his century of appearances, the Diamonds captain said: “It’s taken me a bit longer than everyone else, I’m not sure whether that’s down to my discipline or my body, a bit of both maybe! But it’s nice to get there.

“From a personal point of view, my 100th appearance wasn’t the best. I know I can do a lot better and collectively, we could have done better with the ball.

“Given the changes we had to endure, we defended well but we didn’t use the ball well enough.

“As the game went on and under the circumstances, we probably would have taken a point but it was still disappointing.

“We took six points from two tough games and then we went to Rugby who weren’t on a great run and we haven’t won so it was a disappointing end to a good week for us.

“We are ticking over nicely in the league.

“We have had a few draws in there that we could have turned into wins but we are unbeaten in 11 in the league, which is good.

“Now we are looking forward to Saturday, it’s a nice distraction for us.

“It’s a competition that can bring more financial reward for the club and if we can get through, it will give us a chance to maybe test ourselves against teams from a higher level again.

“It will be nice to be back at home and we will be looking to put on a good performance for the fans and hopefully progress into the next round.”