NCL PREVIEW: Brixworth skipper Caunt looking forward to facing old ONs pals

STRAIGHT BAT - action from Saints' premier division defeat to Rushden (Picture: Dave Ikin)
STRAIGHT BAT - action from Saints' premier division defeat to Rushden (Picture: Dave Ikin)

Brixworth skipper Peter Caunt says the clash with Old Northamptonians is always a fixture he circles on the calendar at the start of the season.

And the former ONs player admits he will once again be looking to prove a point against his former club this weekend.

Caunt spent the best part of 10 years at Billing Road before leaving to join Brixworth four seasons ago.

He is now in his second campaign as captain at Northampton Road and is relishing the reunion with some familiar faces this weekend.

“They always give me a warm welcome when I get to the crease so I’m looking forward to that,” said Caunt.

“I’ve got good friends at ONs and there’s always a bit of a point to prove for me when I play against them.

“The opportunities weren’t there for me in the end with George (Arblaster) taking the wicketkeeper spot.

“He’s a really good player and I hugely respect him as a bloke and as a cricketer.

“I wanted to prove I could keep wicket in the premier division on a weekly basis and Brixworth offered me that chance.

“This game between the two clubs is always one I circle on the calendar and I’m really looking forward to the challenge.”

Caunt and co will be looking to bounce back from a difficult day at Peterborough last weekend.

Brixworth were bowled out for just 81, losing by 152 runs at the champions.

And Caunt said: “They are the best team in the league.

“They’ve got high quality players and we came undone against some really good swing bowling.

“We’ve got more tough fixtures to come in the next couple of weeks, but there’s nothing stopping us from getting good results.”

Caunt will call on his side’s experienced heads to steer the side to victory in this weekend’s game at Northampton Road.

The likes of Ross McLean, who is also a former ONs player, and Fred Newborough will have big parts to play with the ball.

“It’s great to have Ross back and in fine form,” Caunt said.

“We’ve got a good, balance side, with Ross, Fred Newborough and Ashley Morris in the wickets already.

“We’ve got a lot of experience in our team, which makes things easy for me as captain.”

Caunt is confident that he can use his knowledge of ONs to his side’s advantage this weekend.

And he said: “ONs are always there or thereabouts at the top of the league.

“But they’ve got a couple of batsmen and bowlers that we’ll be targeting.

“We do know them well and they will know us well so it should make for an interesting game.”

Elsewhere in the premier division this weekend, Saints will bid to recover from their first defeat of the season when they travel to Rushton on Saturday.

Mark Wolstenholme’s men were edged out by Rushden last weekend, losing by five wickets despite a decent bowling performance from Corbyn Dolley, who took four for 76.

Dolley had earlier hit 27 in his side’s 226 for nine, in which Dan Harris (71) and Zak Harvey (70) impressed.

Horton House were also beaten last Saturday, going down by six wickets at home to Stony Stratford.

Jack Johnson hit 70 in Horton’s 190 for eight, but Stony cruised home, despite three for 50 from Horton skipper Andrew Neate.

Next up for Neate’s side is a trip to Rushden this weekend.

Stony, who had Jarrod Pretorius’s unbeaten 66 to thank for the win against Horton, will look to build on their success when they host Peterborough.

Elsewhere, table-toppers Finedon Dolben go to Oundle and Wollaston entertain Geddington.

Overstone skipper Patel seeking promotion

Overstone Park skipper Kunal Patel believes this could be the year his team achieve their promotion ambition.

Patel’s side have started the season in style, winning all three of their NCL Division Two matches so far.

They are already 20 points clear of second-placed Saints IIs and will be looking to maintain their 100 per cent start by winning at Brigstock this Saturday.

And Patel believes that the fact his team have built solid foundations so early on could lead to a shot at earning elevation to division one.

“We usually start slowly and are in the bottom four after six games,” said the captain.

“But we’ve got good foundations to build on and we just need to carry on where we’ve left off by playing some attacking cricket.

“We’ve always set out for promotion but made excuses about having a young team, but this year we’ve got a good balance and we’re in good shape.

“We’ve got a couple of tough games coming up and it will be about how we cope with them.

“We’re missing three or four players but we’ve got a couple back and we’ve got a good squad to choose from.”

At 25, Patel is one of the older members of the Overstone squad.

And he said: “I just try to lead from the front.

“But I don’t have to do too much because we’ve got a really good mix of players.

“It’s very much a team effort for us and we’re all good friends, which makes it much easier.”