Hat-trick cannot stave off first defeat

Karim Saleem

Karim Saleem

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A HAT-trick from Husnain Riaz failed to inspire leaders Rolls-Royce Leisure as they fell to their first defeat of the season in Division A of the Gunn And Moore South Notts League.

Rolls had been riding on the crest of the wave under new boss John Birch, who made his name with Notts CCC and by transforming the fortunes of Papplewick and Linby.

His new charges had stormed to the summit of the top flight with an unbeaten start to the season with five wins in their opening seven outings.

And all looked to be heading towards another victory after they shot third-placed Radcliffe-on-Trent out relatively cheaply.

The undoubted highlight was a blast of three wickets in three balls from Riaz (four for 35 from 11 overs) to finish the visitors’ innings with a flourish.

But the normally reliable Rolls batting line-up for once failed to get the job done, despite facing a target of little more than three an over.

Their main tormentor was opening bowler Eddie Torr (five for 36 from 14.4 overs), who removed four of the top five in the order, including opener Wasim Karim (33, eight fours).

In fact, batsmen two to six contributed a paltry 12 runs as the locals collapsed to 69 for eight.

Valiant skipper Saleem Karim did his best to stave off a seemingly inevitable reverse and big dent to Rolls’ lead at the top of the table.

For he hit an unbeaten 39 (one six and four fours).

So well did he play that Rolls were in sight of nicking an unlikely losing draw.

But back came that man Torr to finish off the job and inflict a 21-run reverse that opens up the title race once more.

Earlier in the day, the Rolls bowling attack were in top form and Ansar Khan (three for 14 from 14 overs), who came on as first change, transformed the Radcliffe innings from 38 without loss to 39 for three.

Saleem Karim (two for 31 from ten overs) chipped in with a couple of scalps despite 44 (six fours) from Ieuen Marks-Venables and 31 (four fours) from that man Torr.