Rain lets bottom team off the hook at Papplewick and Linby

WHITWELL WICKET-TAKER -- Gareth Blinkhorn, who struck for Papplewick and Linby before the rain came.
WHITWELL WICKET-TAKER -- Gareth Blinkhorn, who struck for Papplewick and Linby before the rain came.

Frustrated Papplewick and Linby’s bid to get their title challenge back on track in the Bassetlaw League’s Championship was thwarted by the weather.

Papplewick had high hopes of bagging their seventh outright victory of the campaign when they entertained bottom-of-the-table Whitwell at Papplewick Hall. After all, the Derbyshire side had failed to win any of their 11 games so far this term and had suffered eight defeats.

However, only 22 overs of play were possible, with the visitors reaching 61-3, before the rain, which had threatened all day, finally forced the teams to give up the ghost and accept a weather-affected draw.

Papplewick did at least pick up one bowling bonus point, to go with the six each side received for the abandonment, but they remain fourth in the table and actually lost ground on one of their rivals for the champions’ crown, and promotion to the Notts Premier League, because Clipstone Welfare managed to escape the clutches of the weather and post a win over Anston. It was the only match of six in the top flight to reach a definite conclusion.

Sam Ogrizovic’s troops have 164 points, 23 behind leaders Farnsfield, 14 behind second-placed Clipstone and ten behind third-placed Thoresby Colliery. They could now do with a long-overdue period of sunshine because their next four fixtures are all very winnable -- against North Wheatley with Leverton, Retford, Anston and Notts and Arnold Amateurs.

Against Whitwell, Ogrizovic won the toss and asked the visitors to bat first. But after just six deliveries, a huge storm arrived and inevitably turned the contest into a timed game. The raging storm did not prevent the Papplewick skipper giving his side an enthusiastic team-talk before they were allowed off the field! And it seemed to pay dividends because, on a helpful track, they bowled effectively.

Gareth Blinkhorn (1-8 in six overs) bagged the first breakthrough when trapping opener Brandon Pritchard lbw for four with the total on 16, and no further runs had been added when Jim Rhodes (1-26 in seven overs) compensated for unusually expensive figures by bowling Alan Draycott for six.

Whitwell’s ship was steadied by their skipper, Andy Shaw, who struck a good-looking, undefeated 29 that included four boundaries and bossed a third-wicket stand of 38 before his partner, Chris Foster, was caught by Leon Botha off the bowling of Simon Roberts (1-13 in five overs) for eight.