Magical Millwood triggers grand national dream for Rolls

MILLWOOD SO GOOD -- Rolls all-rounder Michael Millwood, who produced a superb all-round display to shoot down Alfreton.

MILLWOOD SO GOOD -- Rolls all-rounder Michael Millwood, who produced a superb all-round display to shoot down Alfreton.

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Dreams of a trip to a county ground for the final were fuelled by an early-season victory in the prestigious ECB National Club Championship for ROLLS-ROYCE LEISURE.

Rolls have launched their second challenge for glory in the competition, which comprises several regional qualifying groups.

Each group winner goes through to the last 16, which is played on a knockout basis down to the September final to be contested this year at Bristol, home of Gloucestershire CCC.

Sixteen teams from the East Midlands area feature in Rolls’s competitive group -- but they reached the quarter-finals with a 70-run success at Alfreton.

In the final eight, they were due to play last Sunday against West Indian Cavaliers, the team who pipped them to the Notts Premier League title in 2013. But the tie was rained off and will now be played this weekend.

All-rounder Michael Millwood was the key to the triumph over Alfreton, who play in the Derbyshire Premier League after winning promotion last season.

Millwood the number four batsman cracked a terrific 64 not out off only 49 balls as Rolls totalled 226 for five in their allotted 45 overs.

And then Millwood the new-ball bowler took five for 27 from nine overs to help rush the home team out for 156 in 39.2 overs.

He struck an early blow by removing opener Ryan Bramwell for a duck and then ended the resistance of number three bat Andy Gwalkin by having him caught behind for 22.

Three more Millwood wickets came in quick succession as Alfreton plunged from 42 for one to 48 for five and 61 for six.

The only batsman who stood firm was opener and captain Alex Mace, who remained for 78 balls, making 51 (three fours). But once he had been trapped lbw by spinner Dane Straw (two for 18 in nine overs), with the total on 110, Rolls were well on their way to victory.

They were held up only by a defiant 34 (two sixes and four fours) off only 15 balls from tailender Daniel Robbins, who was finally stumped by Suhail Ahmed off the bowling of Matt Roberts.

Earlier, Rolls had got off to a circumspect start in the hands of Gurpej Landa and Shaun Levy. But it was also a responsible one as they laid a sound platform for the innings, sharing 89.

Landa made 37 (six fours) before he was bowled, while Levy compiled 61 off 93 balls, which included ten boundaries.

Roberts added 18 and Steve Atkinson 14. But the rest of the afternoon was all about Millwood, who struck a six and five fours to add meat to the Rolls bones.

Of the five bowlers deployed by Alfreton, four collected a wicket each but the pick was probably the one who didn’t -- Richard Briggs, whose nine economical overs cost only 32 runs.