The Rutland cricket league kicked-off with a bang yesterday (Sunday) as seven matches on the opening weekend saw centuries recorded.
That might be some sort of record for an April day in England as batsmen took full advantage of a dryish winter to batter the boundary boards.
Ben Stroud hammered 158 from just 128 balls for Bourne, Dan Bendon smacked 120, and took six wickets, on his debut for Oundle, teenager Conor Craig whacked 101 from just 70 balls for Nassington, while Andy Larkin of Ufford Park and Dave Sargeant of Market Deeping enjoyed themselves in the same match and Rob Woolley and Aussie Ben Bryant both reached three figures for Ketton.
Opener Stroud smacked four sixes and 22 fours in his innings at the Abbey Lawns, but Bourne’s certain victory was denied by heavy rain with Medbourne on 114-4 chasing 290-3. Stroud put on 201 for the second wicket with Sam Evison who made 92.
Bendon plays for Peterborough Town’s arch-rivals Rushton in the Northants Premier Division and he warmed up for some more competitive cricket by flaying the Stamford attack to all parts in a Division One clash at Milton Road. His 120 included two sixes and 20 fours and helped Oundle to 243-6 from 45 overs.
Bendon also bowls leg-spin and his 6-38 ensured Stamford finished well short of victory on 168 and sealed his position as the standout performer on the day.
Craig cracked a ton on the opening day of last season and he survived a couple of early scares before repeating the feat. His 101 helped Nassington to 208 from 34-4, but a reasonably close finish at Barnack was ruined by the weather. Barnack were 147-6 with 15 overs to go when play was stopped for the day.
Just up the road at Ufford Park they played through a bit of rain and the reward was an exciting three-wicket win in Division Two for Market Deeping.
Larkin crashed 134 of Ufford’s 246-9. He hit three sixes from successive balls and 19 fours, but Sargeant’s 101 from just 70 balls set Deeping on the way to victory. Deeping were 4-2 at one stage and 134-3 when Sargeant was dismissed, but Dave Gillett (58no) and his son Connor Gillett (39) saw them home.
Ketton captain Rob Vitas claimed his role was as vital as the part played by Woolley and Bryant in the Division Two thrashing of March. Vitas declared early after Ketton had piled up 310-2 from 40 overs and five minutes after March were dismissed for 120, the heavens opened.
Woolley made 138 and Bryant 104 not out. It was Bryant’s second ton of the weekend as he smashed the Oakham attack for 134 in a Saturday (April 11) friendly. Woolley also claimed four cheap wickets as March lost their final five wickets in five overs. Ketton play March on the opening day of the Cambs Division One season this weekend (April 18).
Back in the top flight of the Rutland League Wisbech beat Eaton Socon by three wickets in a high-scoring game at Harecroft Road. No-one claimed a ton a in this game, but both sides passed 200 with emerging talent Danny Haynes making 62 for Wisbech.
BOURNE v MEDBOURNE (abandoned)
Bourne 290-3 (B. Stroud 158, S. Evison 92).
OUNDLE beat STAMFORD by 75 runs
Oundle 243-6 (D. Bendon 120, P. Foster 47, M. Hodgson 31, M. Piggot 3-45).
Stamford 168 (C. Simmons 38, A. Hulme 30no, D. Bendon 6-39).
WISBECH beat EATON SOCON by 3 wkts
Eaton Socon 220-7 (M. Hay 51, G. Freear 3-38).
Wisbech 221-7 (D. Haynes 62, S. Albutt 39, G. Freear 36, D. Emmington 27no).
BARNACK v NASSINGTON (abandoned).
Nassington 208 (C. Craig 101, P. Best 3-27).
Barnack 147-6 (Z. Manzoor 36, A. Akhtar 25, A, Butt 20, J. Pope 3-47).
KETTON beat MARCH by 198 runs
Ketton 318-2 (R. Woolley 138, B. Bryant 104no)
March 120 (R. Woolley 4-6, S. Mahmood 3-18).
UFFORD PARK lost to MARKET DEEPING by 3 wkts
Ufford Park 246-9 (A. Larkin 134, R. Keymer 29, D. Sargeant 4-47).
Market Deeping 248-7 (D. Sargeant 101, D. Gillett 58no, C. Gillett 39, J. Andrews 27).
WHITTLESEY v KING’S KEYS (abandoned)
King’s Keys 220 (Shokat Ali 72, M. Raheel 46, T. Hussain 39, C. Evans 3-51).
Wjittlesey 53-3 (D. Drage 24, D. Walker 21).