Top two showdown - Notts Premier Cricket League weekend preview

An unbeaten 86 by Richard Stroth helps Cuckney to notch up a vital win against Caythorpe -Pic by:Richard Parkes
An unbeaten 86 by Richard Stroth helps Cuckney to notch up a vital win against Caythorpe -Pic by:Richard Parkes

Only five points separate Cuckney and Rolls Royce at the top of the Notts Premier League table, and they will each be looking to secure maximum points as they meet this weekend at Watnall Road.

The league programme will be at the halfway stage after this round of matches and both will want to start the second half on top.

Leaders Cuckney are defending the league’s only unbeaten record and have won three of their last four outings.

Last weekend, they overcame Caythorpe after slipping to 129 for 4 chasing 230 and had Richard Stroh (86 not out) and Ian Parkin (39 not out) to thank for getting them to their fourth win for the year.

Their hosts have won six times but are looking for their first win since 8th June after a loss to Caythorpe and drawing with Mansfield Hosiery Mills.

Tom Lungley is having a fine season with the bat, having scored 322 runs at an average of just under 54. He is also second in the club’s bowling stats with 12 wickets, some way behind Adam Shepherd, whose 31 victims is the best in the league by some way.

West Indian Cavaliers and Clifton have been league champions on all but three of the Premier League’s 14 seasons, but only one of them is in the chase for the 2013 title and they meet this week at Birchover Park.

The Cavaliers are in third position but 39 points off the top spot and had a sparkling start to the season winning their first four.

But they have now only won one in their last six although last week’s match against Kimberley was abandoned before a either side could secure a result.

The Cavaliers will want to repeat their five-wicket victory in the corresponding fixture last season when Ricky Anderson returned the remarkable figures of 7-2-9-7.

Clifton are in ninth and Jarrod Coombe is in good form with 298 runs at an average of more than 37, and their bowling attack is being led by Martin Weightman with 20 wickets.

He will have to shoulder more of the burden as David Lucas will be out for at least the next few games with a broken finger.

A north-Nottinghamshire derby takes place at Sookholme where Welbeck welcome neighbours Mansfield Hosiery Mills.

The Millers are in fourth, 10 points behind the Cavaliers, and their three-match winning streak came to an end last week when they drew at home to Rolls Royce.

Tom New scored 69 in that game, bringing his season aggregate to 440, the third highest in the league behind Martyn Dobson and Richard Stroh.

Gareth Curtis has also had a purple patch with back-to-back tons in June.

Welbeck are in eighth position and, whilst they have secured three wins, consistency is their aim as shown by a win, draw and a loss in their last three outings.

The win last weekend was an impressive 10-wicket affair over bottom club Papplewick with Matt Higgins starring with an unbeaten century.

Papplewick travel to Lady Bay to take on an in-form Nottinghamshire Academy side who have won two of their last three and would have fancied taking the remaining three Farnsfield wickets last weekend to secure a third successive win had the weather not intervened.

Their bowling does seem to be their stronger suit so far this year with Luke Wood (22 wickets), George Bacon (14) and Adam Tillcock (13) all featuring well.

Tom Rowe (278 runs) and Hassan Azad (256) are the only two batsmen in the top 25 players in the league.

But Papplewick are struggling this term with only one win and seven losses.

The two defeats since their victory over Farnsfield have been by wide margins although Doug Morton did show some resistance with the bat last week with a dogged half century.

Eleventh-placed Farnsfield travel to Plumtree with the visitors trying to get their season kick-started.

The most recent Premier League match between these sides was the final game of the 2009 season when both these sides were relegated.

Farnsfield will hope to have skipper Paul Franks back on board after an extended period away with the Nottinghamshire side and, like Papplewick, they have only secured one victory this term.

But Plumtree’s home record is a good one with all four their wins having come at the PCG.

Matt Wood is in fine form, demonstrated by his 42-ball innings of 62 in the abandoned game against Clifton.

The final games sees Kimberley travel to Caythorpe, trying to halt a slide in form that has seen losses in their last three completed matches.

Last weekend’s fixture against the Cavaliers looked likely to have only one possibly winner with Kimberley seven wickets down, more than 90 runs adrift before the rain came.

With only four individual scores in excess of 50, their batting seems to be a weakness but Sam Johnson is a player to watch with 178 runs from six innings.

Caythorpe have claimed some mighty scalps this season with wins over both West Indian Cavaliers and Rolls Royce but like other sides in mid-table, consistency is their aim.

Jim Hindson is their standout performer with the ball, having taken 21 wickets at just over 20 runs each.