ALL eyes are on the heavens in the hope that the local-cricket programme can avoid the space of cancellations and abandonments in recent weeks.
Saturated outfields and soggy wickets decimated the local cricket scene as persistent rain forced the cancellation or abandonment of all matches involving Dispatch district clubs last Saturday (June 16).
Just two fixtures featuring locals — Papplewick and Linby in the Notts Premier League and Hucknall in Division A of the Gunn And Moore South Notts League — saw any action at all.
But even they had to be abandoned as the weather won the day.
In the NPL, with tomorrow representing the halfway point of the season, a third of games scheduled this year have already been axed or abandoned.
However, league bosses have confirmed they have no plans to extend the campaign.
The grounds staff at Papplewick Hall worked their magic to get the match against high-flying Mansfield Hosiery Mills under way at all last Saturday, despite the first ball being bowled an hour late.
Papplewick put the visitors in and made a sparkling start, with Jim Rhodes (two for 42 from 13 overs) having opener Gareth Curtis caught for a four-ball duck with the score on zero.
Mansfield were two down when Jonathan Thrower (one for 42 from seven overs) removed the other opener, Joe New, and a third wicket fell with the score on 37.
That only served to bring brothers Tom and Matt New together with the former unleashing fireworks to hit 93 (two sixes and nine fours) before being run out at the non-striker’s end by Rhodes.
Matt New stuck around for a patient 36 not out (three fours), despite another rain break, but the home side would have fancied their chances.
However, their reply lasted just 12 overs, in which the in-form Mark Nelson had blasted 30 not out. Papp were left high and dry on 44 for two for a share of the points.
In Hucknall’s match with West Bridgfordians, the New Gatehouse men were cut short in their prime having smacked 252 for eight from their reduced allocation of 45 overs after the start had been delayed.
Half-centuries from opener Andy Carden (53, two sixes and eight fours) and skipper Robin Maxwell (56, seven fours), and a bludgeoned 63 (four sixes and six fours) in just 46 balls from Scott Harris were the highlights as only George Orange (four for 54 from 13 overs) enjoyed his day in the visiting attack.
Bridgfordians started promisingly with Alistair Petitt and Henry Straw (both 17) putting on 30 for the first wicket. But two wickets from Maxwell (two for six from 3.2 overs) as first change had them stuttering before the rain returned and the players left the field for the third and final time.
Elsewhere, the biggest casualties of the weather were table-topping Rolls-Royce Leisure, of Hucknall, who top the Division A table in the Gunn And Moore and were scheduled to play fourth-placed Balderton.