Thrills and spills as NPL title chase tightens even more

Welbeck Colliery v Rolls Royce Leisure.
Welbeck Colliery v Rolls Royce Leisure.
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The 16th round of NCB Premier League fixtures had a little bit of everything at the weekend.

With weather interruptions, centuries, five-wicket hauls, upsets all on the menu, there was plenty to keep the interest.

League leaders Cuckney made the trip to Radcliffe-on-Trent mired in a run of four games without a win.

Radcliffe on the other hand have been enjoying better form of late, lifting themselves out of the bottom two.

The visitors won the toss and having elected to bat found it a real struggle.

Wickets fell at regular intervals as batsmen got in, but failed to make anything from their starts. Eddie Torr, opening the bowling, claimed 3-35, but the star was Usman Muzaffar who took 5-49 as Cuckney closed on 143-9 from their 50 overs.

In reply, Radcliffe promoted Josh Mierkalns to open the innings, and this proved to be an inspired move. Mierkalns teamed with Ben Carr (35) in an opening stand worth 102, but, when Mierkalns fell for 63 just seven runs later, the Bears sensed the door beginning to open.

Luke Thomas did his best to kick it down, collecting 4-15 from seven overs as Radcliffe collapsed to 132-7, before the door slammed shut in the 31st over to complete a three wicket win.

Plumtree clambered back into second, cutting the Cuckney lead to 16 points in the process with a stunning five wicket win over West Indian Cavaliers at the PCG.

The hosts won the toss and invited Cavs to bat, Glen Read all over the top order as, between rain showers, Cavaliers slumped to 41-7, Glen Read grabbing 5-49.

Bilal Shafayat countered with 63 from 69 balls as he added 90 with Kafeel Shafique for the eighth wicket, Shafique’s run out prompting the final rattle of the innings as the finished all out on 134 in the 39th over.

Read was backed up by his opening partner, Matt Milnes, who took 3-30.

Plumtree’s reply was reasonably untroubled, as first Saad Ashraf with 32 and latterly Graeme White with an unbeaten 48 from just 28 balls led them to their target inside 31 overs.

Clifton Village drop to third in the table after they took 10 points from their abandoned fixture at Mansfield Hosiery Mills.

The Millers won the toss and had their visitors bat first in another match where showers were dodged early.

Richard Harris (49) featured in a stand of 50 for the second wicket with Tim le Breton and 49 for the third with Martin Weightman as the Village reached 108-3.

The innings then fell away as Keiron Garside (3-32) and Matt New (3-36) gained a measure of control, Clifton closing after 50 overs on 161-9.

With the time lost to rain, MHM knew they would be up against the clock to reach their target, and the regular loss of wickets made it an uphill task.

Only Tom New, with 30, threatened to make a score of substance as Martin Weightman took 3-35 to restrict the hosts to 126-7 from 38 overs when time was called.

Caythorpe dropped to fourth after being washed out home to the NCB Academy, albeit they gained three points on Cuckney into the bargain.

On winning the toss, home skipper James Hawley, elected to bat, Caythorpe reaching 30 without loss from 11 overs when rain halted play.

With a restart scheduled for 3.15pm, a further shower crossed the ground leading to the match being abandoned at 4pm.

Rolls Royce Leisure now sit fifth, having got the better of their drawn game at Welbeck Colliery. The home side won the toss and asked Rolls to bat first.

Shaun Levy (44) and Michael Millwood (48) shared in an opening stand of 105 to set the tone of batsmen getting on, but not kicking on, Dan Birch making 30 and Tom Lungley 45 as Rolls made 250-8 from their 50 overs.

Andrew Marchant (3-39) and Jon Ball (3-53) took the plaudits with the ball.

The Colliers reply followed a similar pattern as several batsmen got starts, but didn’t completely cash in.

Lewis Cameron (48) and Raman Sharma (46) featuring in an stand of 95 for the second wicket, before Richard Stroh (30) added 57 for the fourth with Jon Ball.

The Rolls bowlers were able to maintain control as Welbeck saw out their 50 overs, scoring 208-6.

Despite holding out to take a losing draw at Kimberley Institute, bottom side Ordsall Bridon lost further ground to MHM at the foot of the table.

The home side won the toss and chose to bat, Sam Ogrizovic and Sam Johnson compiling a 94 run opening stand to set up the innings.

Johnson would go on to dominate the Institute tally, making a fine 104 before being fourth out with the total 173.

George Bacon added a 31-ball 37 to push the final score to 241-7, Gary Andrews taking 3-43 for Bridon.

Not for the first time this season, Bridon lost wickets in bunches, sliding to 38-4 before Sufian Munir tried to lead the revival.

He made it to 41 before becoming the first of Chris Glover’s three victims.

James Brice marshalled the tail with a patient innings as Ordsall held out to close on 175-8, Glover’s three wickets costing 46 runs.