Trailblazing Papplewick and Linby are early-season leaders

WALKING TALL -- ex-county bowler Richard Hodgkinson ripped through Anston's top order for Papplewick and Linby.

WALKING TALL -- ex-county bowler Richard Hodgkinson ripped through Anston's top order for Papplewick and Linby.

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The barnstorming start to the new season by PAPPLEWICK AND LINBY continued with a demolition job on Anston in The Championship of the Bassetlaw League.

After a couple of contests that were all about their blistering batting, Papplewick unveiled their bowling assets in their third match of the 2015 campaign.

And after dismissing their Sheffield visitors for just 99 to tee up a nine-wicket romp, Jim Rhodes’s men were crowned the early-season leaders of the table and instantly became the bookies’ favourites for a return to the Notts Premier League, from where they were relegated in 2013.

Rhodes himself played a familiarly reliable role in the victory, winning the toss, putting Anston in and producing a ten-over spell with the new ball that yielded only 12 runs and captured the wikcket of visiting opener Anthony Roddis, trapped lbw for 16.

But he was upstaged at the other end by ex-county bowler Richard Hodgkinson, who confirmed that he’s very much back in business.

Word has it that the 31-year-old Hodgkinson, who had spells with both Notts CCC and Derbyshire at his peak, has regained full fitness and full appetite for the game. And a return of 4-40 from 12 overs that ripped through Anston’s top order went some way towards proving it.

The key wicket, though, was collected by young spinner Charlie Blatherwick, who enhanced his rising reputation by bowling Anston’s brilliant all-rounder Amil Perera. Sri Lankan Perera plundered 672 runs last season and was beeginning to look dangerous here before Blatherwick (3-12 in eight overs) removed him for 29 (four fours) and, just for good measure, 13 runs later, he had visiting captain Callum Smith caught behind for ten.

Another teenage tweaker, Reuben Singh (2-6 in three overs), chipped in with the last two wickets, leaving Papplewick’s batsmen with an easy task in reply.

That reply was led by new West Indian signing Justin Brathwaite, who fired 38 (one six and five fours) on his debut as the club’s new professional. Brathwaite put on 51 for the first wicket with Alex Lloyd (39 not out, four fours), who steered his side home by the 23rd over with help from Shaharyar Aslam (13 not out).