Papplewick’s late title charges bites the dust

OWZTHAT! --  Farnsfield opener James Smith survives a caught-behind call by Papplewick wicketkeeper Tom Bowers during last Saturday's match.
OWZTHAT! -- Farnsfield opener James Smith survives a caught-behind call by Papplewick wicketkeeper Tom Bowers during last Saturday's match.

The brave, late promotion challenge by PAPPLEWICK AND LINBY finally met its match in tabletopping Farnsfield 2nd last Saturday.

A run of eight wins in nine matches had propelled Papplewick into the race for the Bassetlaw League, Championship title -- and a place in the Notts Premier League.

But a losing draw at home to Farnsfield has almost certainly pulled the rug from underf their feet.

A return of only seven points leaves them fully 40 behind Farnsfield with only two games to play -- and even 37 behind second-placed Clipstone Welfare.

Papplewick gave themselves every chance because after winning the toss, they restricted Farnsfield to 234 for four from their allotted 50 overs and set themselves a gettable target.

But a curate’s egg of a reply saw them recover nicely from a dodgy start, but then lose key wickets when they needed to accelerate. They ended up hanging on to avoid outright defeat, finishing on 205 for nine.

After the early losses of Adam Rostance and Joe Walker to Mark Hallam (two for 20 in seven overs), opener Alex Lloyd hit 44 (five fours), Ross Fitz-John 49 and Sri Lankan Kosala Kulasekara 39 (four fours).

If only one of them could have stayed a little longer. Instead, 131 for three turned into 171 for six as visiting bowler Dave Loveridge (four for 67 in 15 overs) turned the screw.

Both Fitz-John and Kulasekara fell to lbw decisions -- the latter to Notts CCC all-rounder Sam Wood (two for 62 in 15 overs).

Earlier, the pick of the Papplewick bowlers had been skipper Jim Rhodes (one for 40 in 15 overs) and Kulasekara (one for 29 in seven). But wickets were hard to come by, and young spinner Charlie Blatherwick was sent for 77 runs in only eight overs.

Farnsfield’s innings was an accumulation of run-gathering partnerships, beginning with 62 for the second wicket shared by opener James Smith (40, five fours) and Callum McKenzie. The impressive McKenzie went on to add 42 for the third wicket with Wood (26, three fours) and 56 for the fourth wicket with captain Curtis Mitchell.

He himself top scored with 79 (one six and ten fours) before he was caught and bowled by Blatherwick, while Mitchell upped the tempo to good effect late on, firing an unbeaten 52 (three sixes and four fours) off 45 balls.