CRICKET: Doubts creep in as Papplewick crash

CHASING RUNS -- Papplewick batsmen Brad Matthews and Adam Rostance (57)
CHASING RUNS -- Papplewick batsmen Brad Matthews and Adam Rostance (57)
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WORRYING doubts about the effectiveness of new-look Papplewick and Linby are beginning to creep in after back-to-back defeats.

PAPPLEWICK AND LINBY 210-8

NOTTS CCC ACADEMY 211-3

Papplewick were hammered by seven wickets at home to Notts CCC Academy — 48 hours after they had crashed by six wickets at Cuckney.

In mitigation, it can be pointed out that these two sides now occupy the leading slots in the Notts Premier League (NPL).

But under experienced, new captain Matthew Dowman, Papplewick have now won just one of their eight NPL starts and sit dangerously close to the wrong end of the table.

Most concerning is their batting, which continues to rely far too heavily on South African signing Warren Nel.

Once again, he delivered the goods on Monday when hitting the young Notts attack for an attractive 85, which included one six and 13 fours.

It was the 29-year-old’s third half-century in the league already this term. But support from teammates is proving hard to locate.

Yes, young opener Eamonn Vines again showed promising signs, compiling a patient 27 (four fours) and sharing 85 for the second wicket with Nel after Dowman had departed for just one.

But once both Vines and Nel had been dislodged by the pick of Notts’s bowlers, Sam Wood (four for 61 from 14 overs), there was little to come.

From 129 for two, Papplewick slid to 176 for eight, with only Adam Rostance (18) and Jim Rhodes offering resistance. Indeed they only moved past the 200-mark thanks to a gutsy, late cameo from Gareth Blinkhorn (26 not out, three fours) to mark his call-up from the second-eleven.

Also among the wickets for Notts was Scott Elstone, taking two for 20 from six overs. And it was Elstone who spearheaded the Trent Bridge team’s successful reply with the bat.

The well-regarded Elstone, who is 22 this Sunday, cracked an unbeaten century at number three after Wood (23, four fours) had laid the platform for the innings in a first-wicket stand of 38.

A repertoire of four sixes and 14 fours was too classy for Papplewick, whose seven bowlers toiled in the Bank Holiday sun.

Nel (one for 37 in ten overs), Dane Straw (one for 39 in ten) and Jim Rhodes (10.1 overs for 26 runs) did not perform too badly.

But Elstone shared 99 for the second wicket with Hassan Azad (37, five fours) and 52 for the fourth with Adam Tilcock (19 not out) to see Notts home by the 47th of the allotted 50 overs.