STONY Stratford host Brixworth on the final day of the Northants Cricket League Premier Division season this Saturday knowing that only a win will guarantee their survival.
Nine consecutive defeats have seen Stony plummet from a top five place to threaten their 10-year spell in the top flight, with Saturday’s thrashing at relegation rivals Burton Latimer a new low this season.
The only saving grace for Stony was that while they were being beaten by nine wickets at Burton, Rushden Town slipped to the bottom of the pile after their defeat to Wollaston.
However, to be sure of avoiding the drop, Stony will need to do what they have not for more than two months and win a match. Failing that they will have to hope for good news in games involving Burton and Rushden – and both face tough fixtures with Burton visiting a Northampton Saints outfit looking to seal the league title, while Rushden go to the Northamptonshire Cricket Academy.
While it looks unlikely that Stony will be dragged into bottom place on the final day, the Ostlers Lane side will be desperate to end with a win after a disastrous second half of the season.
The loss of skipper Steve Bellew to injury and decision by leading scorer Sharn Gomes to return to his native South Africa certainly haven’t helped matters, but Stony’s form during the last couple of months has been little short of humiliating for a side that has cemented itself in the Premier Division over the past decade.
Saturday’s nine wicket demolition at Burton Latimer was inflicted almost single-handedly by Waqas Chugtai. He blitzed through Stony’s order inside 19 overs to finish with remarkable figures of 9-15.
Jarrod Pretorius (18) top scored for Stony but the stand-in captain saw his side slump to a mere 53 as only Mihir Choksi joined him on double figures while seven others failed to score.
Burton then cruised to victory for the loss of just a single wicket to end on 54-1 – Pretorius taking a catch off the bowling of George Humphries to remove Mehul Adatia (13). However, David Shelford (25 not out) and that man Chugtai (4 not out) saw bottom side Burton move out of the drop zone.
Bucks County Cup
THERE was disappointment for Wolverton Town on Sunday when they lost out to Tring Park by 53 runs in the Bucks County Cup final.
The tie couldn’t have started much better for Wolves at Burnham Cricket Club as they reduced Tring to 100-9 before recovering slightly to reach a total of 145 – Zahir Khan the pick of the bowlers with 3-31.
Wolves began well enough in reply but when Aky Hussian fell they were left on 57-3 and a disastrous batting collapse followed with their last five wickets falling for only four runs.