CRICKET: Nel’s one-man show inspires Papplewick

AN EXTRAORDINARY exhibition of explosive batting by new signing Warren Nel inspired Papplewick and Linby to a most unlikely victory in the Kingfisher Beer ECB National Club Championship.

After the frustration of their first three Notts Premier League matches falling foul of the weather, Papplewick travelled to Rotherham more in hope than expectation for a Regional Group Two, First Round tie against Treeton.

The crack South Yorkshire League side had hammered Papplewick in the same competition back in 2009 and were favourites to progress.

However South African all-rounder Nel (29), who has been a prolific run-getter in the Lincolnshire League in recent years, had other ideas.

Going in at three, he cracked a magnificent, unbeaten 137 as Papplewick successfully chased down a target of 215 in the allotted 45 overs.

He thundered seven sixes and nine fours in his 127-ball knock. And such was his remarkable dominance of proceedings that no other Papplewick player mustered more than 13!

That 13 was supplied by another fresh recruit, 21-year-old Oliver Makin, in a vital stand of 59 for the fifth wicklet that enabled Papplewick to recover from 51 for four.

When Makin fell, the locals suffered another slide to 115 for seven, 146 for eight and 165 for nine as Treeton bowler Scott Cunningham (four for 57 in nine overs) claimed four scalps in quick succession.

And although Nel remained, defying everything Treeton could throw at him, it still looked odds-on his courage would fail as Papplewick needed fully 50 runs as last man Dane Straw strode to the crease.

But somehow Straw (12 not out) not only survived but also helped Nel race to the target with 15 balls to spare.

Yes, Papplewick were helped throughout their innings by a surfeit of 45 extras, including 29 wides, but nothing could detract from Nel’s amazing achievement.

Earlier the Springbok had also bowled a tidy nine-over spell that yielded figures of two for 27. Spinner Straw (two for 44 in nine overs) bagged a couple of wickets too, while Jim Rhodes returned one for 37 from his nine overs.

However Treeton just about held the upper hand, with the aggressive Danny Kemp leading the way. Kemp blasted six sixes, plus two fours, in a 56-ball 59, while the rest of the frontline batsmen ground out runs in a workmanlike fashion.

Stephen Foster made 28, Gareth Davis 27, Greg Norton 26 and skipper Chris Cobb 25. The most profitable stand was 69 for the fourth wicket between Kemp and Cobb.