Rolls wicket rated one of the best in Notts Premier League

PITCH PERFECT -- skipper Dan Birch in action for Rolls in the Notts Premier League (PHOTO BY: Richard Parkes Photography Ltd)

PITCH PERFECT -- skipper Dan Birch in action for Rolls in the Notts Premier League (PHOTO BY: Richard Parkes Photography Ltd)

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Hucknall’s highest-ranked cricket club have been handed a late tonic as they wave farewell to the Notts Premier League (NPL).

For their pitch has been ranked by umpires and opposing captains alike as one of the best in the league during the 2014 season.

Rolls-Royce Leisure made a controversial move from their long-standing base on Watnall Road, Hucknall to play their home matches at the Rolls headquarters on Moor Lane in Derby.

The switch raised eyebrows at the time, especially as this year was the 60th anniversary of cricket being played at Hucknall Rolls. And it has since led to the club’s expulsion from the league because the ground does not fall within the Nottinghamshire boundaries.

However, it was all part of a concerted policy by the company to turn the Hucknall site into a specialist centre for football, with support from Notts County Football Club.

And Rolls’s director of cricket at the time, ex-Notts CCC manager John Birch, insisted it would mean better facilities for his title-chasing team.

Now Birch has been partially vindicated by end-of-season figures released by the NPL’s ground adviser, Mike Aplin, which give ratings for the wickets of all 12 member clubs.

Marks out of 20 are awarded by all umpires and opposition captains -- and Rolls have finished second in both lists.

Their average mark from umpires is 17.3 -- just 0.4 behind the best, awarded to Welbeck Colliery. And their average mark from captains is 16.6 -- just 0.5 behind the top-rated club, Kimberley.

The worst-rated pitch is that of West Indian Cavaliers at Birchover Park in Bilborough, which gets just 13.1 from the umpires and 11.9 from the captains.

Next worst were the pitches at Plumtree and Caythorpe.