Papplewick off the mark at last

RHODES WORTHY -- captain Jim Rhodes, who led relieved Papplewick and Linby to their first home win for two years.
RHODES WORTHY -- captain Jim Rhodes, who led relieved Papplewick and Linby to their first home win for two years.
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Sighs of relief could be heard the length and breadth of the Dispatch district last Saturday night after PAPPLEWICK AND LINBY returned to the winning trail at last.

After suffering relegation from the Notts Premier League last term, tasting victory just twice in 22 starts, Papplewick had opened the new campaign without a win in six.

However, a local derby against Notts and Arnold Amateurs provided them with the ideal opportunity to get off the mark -- and they took it with both hands to celebrate their first home win for two years.

Mid-table Amateurs had collected a couple of success in the opening weeks of the season. But they were never at the races once home skipper Jim Rhodes had won the toss and asked them to bat first.

Rhodes himself took the new ball -- but it was his partner, Ross Fitz-John who upset the applecart with a terrific spell that yielded figures of four for 31 from 12 overs.

Fitz-John dislodged opening bats Craig Harrison (23, four fours) and Vinay Landa for six before following up with the scalps of Sam Ecob and Liam Patterson-White.

Amateurs slid from 47 for one to 59 for five and never recovered, despite cameos of defiance from Ian Cross (18) and Jordan Finney (16).

For Papplewick, Rhodes returned for a second spell -- and mopped up the tail in double-quick time to end with three for 30 from nine overs.

The visitors’ total of 99 was hardly likely to cause heart palpitations, even in a home dressing-room bereft of confidence.

The cheap loss of the in-form duo, Tony Bettridge and Fitz-John, who were both bowled by all-rounder Finney (three for 19 in eight overs), did force a few to take up nailbiting. And at 29 for three and 47 for four, work was still to be done.

But Papplewick were guided home by Mark Nelson, who stroked 35 (four fours) and shared a match-clinching stand of 46 with Gareth Blinkhorn.

Blinkhorn finished on 22 not out as the winning runs arrived for Papplewick in the 31st over.