Struggling PAPPLEWICK AND LINBY offered a glimmer of hope for their Notts Premier Legue season when defying champions Cuckney.
Papplewick are already stranded at the foot of the table after the first six games of the campaign.
But despite crashing by 109 runs at Kimberley last Saturday, they showed commendable character at home to Cuckney on Bank Holiday Monday.
After staring another defeat in the face on 82 for seven, chasing 234, Papplewick rallied to snatch a losing draw.
Their unlikely heroes were new-ball bowlers Jim Rhodes and Gareth Blinkhorn, who showed their fragile batsmen how it should be done.
Rhodes rapped a breezy 49 from only 39 balls, which included two sixes and six fours, while number 11 Blinkhorn belted a run-a-ball 36 not out (five fours).
Deserving as much credit at the other end was young off-spinner Jack McIver, who is one of Papplewick’s professionals for the summer.
For although he scored only 14 not out in a 93-ball vigil, he played a worthy anchor-role in stands of 58 with Rhodes and 47 with Blinkhorn.
Frustrated Cuckney tried as many as nine bowlers in a bid to seal the victory that had seemed theirs all day.
But Richard Stroh (five for 48 in 14 overs) was the only one to pose a serious threat.
Earlier Stroh had been supported by Lewis Bramley (two for 38 in ten overs), Ian Parkin (one for 28 in eight) and Kieron Garside (one for 28 in five).
Parkin had dislodged Doug Morton, who was the sole batsman in Papplewick’s top order to find form, making 41 (six fours).
The day had begun with the locals asking Cuckney to bat first and winning instant reward when Rhodes trapped dangerman Stroh lbw for nought.
The burly skipper went on to produce a typically mean spell, taking two for 17 from ten overs, with Blinkhorn (one for 33 in seven) helping him to reduce the champions to 42 for three at one stage.
The stranglehold didn’t last, though, as middle-order batsmen Tom Ullyott (eight fours) and captain Will Butler (six fours) exposed the shortage of depth to the visitors’ attack.
Both made 52, sharing 106 for the fourth wicket, and with Richard Bostock adding 32 (one six and three fours) and Bramley 19 not out, Cuckney finished up with a total that was par for the course.
The rest of the bowling burden for Papplewick was shared by left-arm spinnerKieron McComb (three for 56 in 11 overs), McIver (15 runs for 72 runs) and Michael South (seven overs for 33 runs).