By Stuart Clarke
WOLLASTON captain Chris Perry insists it’s no coincidence that their third win of the season came in the same match that Northamptonshire youngster Olly Stone made his first start of the year for the club.
Twenty-year-old Stone has been a regular for his county this season in both the County Championship and t20 Blast, restricting his availability for Wollaston, for who he played 11 games last year.
But on his return Perry noticed a greater maturity to Stone’s game, scoring a measured 36 in Wollaston’s vital win over Rushden Town, which moves them further away from Burton Latimer at the foot of the table.
“It’s a strange situation for the club to be in really,” said Perry. “We love that he’s getting more starts for Northamptonshire in the first team, but it doesn’t really help us that much.
“He brings a really positive atmosphere to the dressing room, which is always helpful.
“You can notice the difference in him since he’s been playing more regularly for Northamptonshire.
“As captain you notice who puts their hand up and steps up at crucial times, and that’s what Olly did on Saturday more than he has done previously.”
Stone shared a 69-run partnership with the free-hitting David Shelford, who hit 15 fours in his innings of 83 not out, as Wollaston posted 248-6.
With Rushden’s reply reduced to 45 overs due to rain, Perry himself shone with the ball, picking up three for 60, while Steve Musgrave helped himself to four wickets at the other end.
The win extends Wollaston’s gap over Burton Latimer to 65 points, but Perry insists his side cannot take their foot off the gas just yet with nine league fixtures remaining and plenty of points still on offer.
“It was pleasing to get the runs on the board,” Perry added. “David played the perfect innings with a scoreboard that was looking quite good when he went in.
“He had a nice partnership with Olly, which gave us a platform for the lower order to post a good target.
“We haven’t done much winning this year so it was nice to win very convincingly, especially with the reduced overs in the second innings.
“Rushden have been playing some really good cricket, while we’ve been struggling.
“We were very happy to bowl them out and put the worry of rain behind us. Hopefully now we can look forward from here and in three or four weeks the ‘relegation’ word will be out of our vocabulary.”