NCL CRICKET: Sun is shining on an ambitious club

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The sun continues to shine on the cricket club from Hardingstone.

With two teams in the Northants Cricket League, Sun Hardingstone are going from strength to strength.

Their first team are currently top of division 11 with six wins from as many games, while the seconds sit at the summit of division 13, having lost just once so far.

Both teams secured promotion last season and are well placed to do so again. And first-team captain Jonny Grove admits that the club now has more players than places as the popularity grows.

“We’ve got more players than we know what to do with,” said Grove.

“We try to rotate as frequently as possible to give everyone a game and we also run midweek friendlies.

“It’s just testament to the guys we’ve got at the club that people want to play for us.

“We don’t take ourselves too seriously and we all go back to the pub after the game.”

The club was formed in 2009 by landlord at Hardingstone pub, The Sun, and an entry was made into the NCL in 2011.

Three years later, a second team was formed, and the club continues to blossom.

“I’d like to think we can push for division six or seven in the future,” said Grove.

“It depends on whether we can keep hold of players and the older guys staying fit, but it just shows that if someone is willing to put the effort in, you get rewards.”

Chairman Dave Miller has been the man putting in much of the effort, driving the club forward.

And now there is a real chance that both teams will be celebrating promotion again this season.

The leading wicket taker in division 12 in 2014, Grove, has been unable to steer the first-team ship of late, but the likes of Ben Mellor and Alex Piper have shone with the ball.

Not that Mellor’s impressive form will be doing Grove’s bank balance any favours.

“We had a bet about who would take the most wickets,” said the skipper.

“But I haven’t played recently because I broke my finger in the second game so it looks like it’s in the bag for him.”

But Grove won’t mind as long as his team get promoted.

And the first-team captain would dearly love the seconds to go up as well.

“We want to keep both teams as close together in terms of leagues as possible,” Grove said.

“We do have a bit of movement between teams but we want to keep both strong.

“We got a double promotion last year and hopefully it will be the same this year.”

ONs skipper Arblaster: ‘We can beat champions’

George Arblaster is fully confident that his Old Northamptonians side can take down the champions at Billing Road on Saturday.

Peterborough provide the opposition in what promises to be an intriguing clash between two of the NCL Premier Division’s best sides.

Boro won the title last year and Arblaster knows all about their strengths.

But he believes his men can conquer them as they bid to get back on track following a disappointing couple of weeks that encompassed a defeat to Saints and an abandoned game at Horton House.

“Peterborough are one of the best sides in the league and they’re always going to be tough to beat,” said Arblaster.

“It would be a big scalp for the lads if we took them down, but they’ve lost a couple of key players and 
I’m confident we can get the win.

“We were disappointed to lose to Saints a couple of weeks ago because they’re our rivals and we felt we left a lot out on the field.

“But we’ve been doing well in the Twenty20 competition and that has given us the confidence going into this weekend’s game.”