The stage is set for a battle royal between the top two in the Bassetlaw League’s Championship table after both recorded convincing victories in the latest round of matches.
High-flying Farnsfield travel to meet second-placed Clipstone this Saturday in a clash that could go a long way towards deciding the destiny of the title race.
Farnsfield encountered no problems in disposing of bottom-of-the-table Worksop by five wickets to stride to their tenth win of the campaign and remain 15 points clear with six matches to play. They shot the visitors out for 125, with the only resistance coming from Tim Smith jnr, who went in after both openers had fallen for ducks and was still there at the end after making an undefeated 77. The second highest scorer was the extras column (19) as just one other player made double figures. The wickets were shared by Dave Loveridge (4-33 in 15 overs), Joe Worrall (3-35 in 13 overs) and Iain O’Brien (2-34 in 12 overs). Farnsfield raced to their target inside 20 overs, despite three wickets for Harry Taylor (3-42 in seven overs). Callum McKenzie top-scored with 34, while Marin Mitchell made 20.
Clipstone turned up the heat with a four-wicket success at Edwinstowe, who wasted a solid start by sliding from 81-1 to 156 all out, despite 43 from Yashan Samarasinghe and 33 from opener Chris Tindle. Change-bowlers Tyab Khan (4-43 in 11 overs) and Mohamed Althaf Anwardeen (3-29 in 12 overs) did the damage. In reply, Clipstone hit trouble when Simon Walton (5-33 in 14 overs) reduced them to 38-4. But they were rescued by Amory Holder, whose 57 (ten fours) steered them home with the help of 31no from Jason Gorman.
Meanwhile the Clipstone-Farnsfield showdown is sure to be closely monitored by third-placed Papplewick, whose crushing 142-run win over struggling neighbours Notts and Arnold Amateurs left them just ten points behind Clipstone. Their hero was Gareth Blinkhorn, who fired 51 with the bat before producing bowling figures of 7-31 from only eight overs to skittle Amateurs for just 77, in reply to the hosts’ total of 219. Jim Rhodes also took 3-18 from 13 overs, while Tom Bowers (53) was another batsman to crack a half-century, helping his side recover from a dodgy 41-4.
Fourth place in the table was cemented by Retford after they enjoyed a three-wicket win over local-derby rivals, North Wheatley with Leverton, who were restricted to 184-9 after being put in, despite a first-wicket stand of 108 between Matthew Loates (55) and Richard Robinson (37). The bowlers to put the brakes on were Umar Zaman (4-48) and Wayne Spooner (3-48) before Retford’s reply recovered from 39-3, 66-4 and 99-5 in the hands of Pascal Broadley, whose unbeaten 67 guided the home side to victory with 11 balls to spare.
The day’s other two fixtures resulted in a winning draw for Glapwell Colliery and the long-awaited first outright victory of the season for lowly Whitwell, who stunned Anston by dismissing them for just 65. Andy Shaw took 6-18 in 14 superb overs after Dan Sayles had hit 55 in Whitwell’s total of 177.
Glapwell recovered from 82-6 to make 222-7 at home to Thoresby Colliery, thanks largely to an unbeaten 62 from opener and anchorman Lee Topham, who shared 90 for the seventh wicket with Rasika Wijesinghe and 50 for the eighth wicket with skipper Matthew Page. Thoresby hung on at 200-9 after 53 from Mitchell English and 41 from Nayeen Ahmed, despite four wickets apiece for Page (4-34) and Tharindu Perera (4-36).