Birch century fails to halt Rolls slump

DEFIANT DAN   --   Rolls captain Dan Birch was carried out on his sword after firing a terrific century against his former club, Clifton Village.

DEFIANT DAN -- Rolls captain Dan Birch was carried out on his sword after firing a terrific century against his former club, Clifton Village.

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Captain Dan Birch tried all he knew to resurrect the flagging season of ROLLS-ROYCE LEISURE in the Notts Premier League (NPL), lashing a nother marvellous century.

But in the end, even Birch had to accept second best as his side fell to another defeat -- this time against one of his former clubs, Clifton Village.

The ex-Derbyshire CCC big-hitter scored 108 to take his runs’ total for the NPl season to 844 -- at an average of 56.26.

However, his limelight was stolen by Clifton all-rounder Martin Weightman, who not only cracked a ton of his own but also bagged five wickets as Rolls were beaten by 47 runs.

It was the third reverse on the bounce for Birch’s troops and means they have not celebrated an outright victory in eight games, stretching back to 28th June.

No wonder they are now as low as seventh in the 12-team table, only 14 points above the bottom four, with three matches to play.

Clifton relished the challenge of being asked to bat first by Birch, amassing a total only four shy of 300 in their allotted 50 overs.

Weightman led the run spree with exactly 100 not out (two sixes and seven fours) off 107 balls. But only after the Rolls attack had been softened up by Caleb Mierkalns, who thumped an aggressive54 (three sixes and five fours) and Richard Harris , who stroked 50 (one six and seven fours).

Five of Rolls’s six bowlers took at least one wicket, but all were too expensive, most notably Hasnain Nasir (three for 67 in eight overs) and wayward spinner Matt Roberts (one for 77 in 15).

After tea, the home team continued the entertainment as openers Shaun Levy (55, six fours) and Michael Millwood (46, one six and seven fours) put on 78.

And then it was time for Birch’s ebullient exhibition at number four, which included four fours and 12 sixes and spanned only 74 balls.

However, wickets began to tumble at the other end and once Birch became seventh man out on 235, Rolls’s bold run-chase was nearing its conclusion.

Weightman took his share of stick but ended up with five for 83 from 13 overs as the locals were dismissed for 249 by the 46th over.