Life back in the Bassetlaw League might be no smoother for relegated PAPPLEWICK AND LINBY than it was in the Notts Premier League (NPL).
That’s a conclusion to be drawn from their opening two matches of the new campaign after defeat at Anston last Saturday followed a losing draw the previous weekend.
Sheffield outfit Anston were runners-up in The Championship last term, finishing only 43 points behind champions Ordsall Bridon, who went up to the NPL.
But nevertheless, their five wicket dismissal of Papplewick was a bit too comfortable for the locals’ liking.
The visitors appeared to be laying a sound platform in the hands of opening bats Tony Bettridge and Alex Lloyd.
Bettridge, the club’s former player/coach and better known for his bowling exploits in his heyday, appears to be enjoying the new responsibility he has been given this season.
He made 44 and shared a fruitful first-wicket stand with Lloyd (21), who is feeling his way back to form after a long absence through injury.
However, once both had been dismissed by Anston’s best bowler, Andy Ruczenczyn, Papplewick struggled to regain momentum.
Ruczenczyn also picked up the scalps of Mark Nelson for eight and captain Jim Rhodes for a duck to finish with figures of four for 43 from 14 overs.
And with Sri Lankan all-rounder Amila Perera claiming three for 28 in 15 fine overs at the other end, it was left to Gareth Blinkhorn and Tom Bowers to keep Papplewick honest.
Blinkhorn fired 36 and Bowers 26 before both were caught off the bowling of Lewis Brealey (two for 21 in seven overs).
The visitors ended up with a total of 169 from their allotted 50 overs. But it soon looked inadequate when Anston openers Josh Marsh (46) and Anthony Roddis (25) embarked on a sound opening stand in reply.
Papplewick gave themselves hope with a burst of four wickets, two of which fell to Rhodes (two for 41 in 14 overs), who carried much of the bowling burden on his own shoulders. Sam Stewart, who removed Marsh, also took two for 15 in seven overs.
But man-of-the-match Perera made his second timely intervention of the day, cracking an undefeated 65 that guided Anston to victory with five overs to spare.
This coming Saturday, Papplewick are at home to Kiveton Park Colliery, who finished sixth in The Championship last season.