A Bank Holiday Weekend to savour left PAPPLEWICK AND LINBY with a fistful of statistics to be proud of at the end of the first month of the 2015 cricket season.
Papplewick amassed no fewer than 594 runs in two matches to stretch their unbeaten start to the campaign.
A win over Edwinstowe, last Saturday, and a winning draw over Mansfield Hosiery Mills, on Bank Holiday Monday, extended their lead at the top of the table to 27 points already. They entertain second-placed Retford this coming Saturday.
On the individual front, two of their new signings, Justin Brathwaite and Shaharyar Aslam, proved their worth again, playing starring roles in the runfest.
Reliable opener Alex Lloyd underlined his status as one of the best batsmen in the Bassetlaw League with a huge, unbeaten century against Edwinstowe and a further 81 against Hosiery Mills.
And an exciting product of the club’s youth network, 16-year-old Charlie Blatherwick, emerged -- Ben Stokes-like -- as a name to be reckoned with. Left-arm spinner Blatherwick, son of former Chesterfield and Nottingham Forest footballer Steve Blatherwick, took five wickets in BOTH matches, which might well be some kind of league record for a player of so little experience.
No wonder Papplewick chief Neil South had a broad smile on his face come Monday night. Not only are the club firmly back on track, after their inauspicious relegation two summers ago, but they are also fulfilling the common-sense philosophy he set out when first taking over as chairman and signalling the end of the big-name, ex-pro era.
Confidence on the field is also sky-high, which was so evident in last Saturday’s dismantling of Edwinstowe. The visitors arrived at Papplewick Hall as last season’s First Division champions when they won 12 games and sailed to the title by 29 points. They returned home a crestfallen outfit, made all too aware of a gulf in class they have yet to bridge.
On a cracking track, home skipper Jim Rhodes opted to bat after winning the toss -- and was rewarded by an exhibition from openers Lloyd and Brathwaite that would have been hard to match even in Papplewick’s glory days.
Lloyd carried his bat for a wonderful 171 not out that spanned 162 balls and featured two sixes and 21 fours.
He put on 202 for the first wicket with West Indian recruit Brathwaite, who was well on his way to his first century for the club until unfortunately bowled on 91 (three sixes and 11 fours).
The Barbadian fell to Tom Ward, the only Edwinstowe bowler to come to terms with the Papplewick onslaught. Ward went on to take three more scalps, including Shaharyar for a golden duck, for figures of 4-77 in 15 overs.
However, he couldn’t stop Papplewick racking up a mammoth total of 316-7 in their allotted 50 overs, and one which Edwinstowe never even looked like sniffing after tea.
They did just about handle the threat of Rhodes, and after losing skipper James Dobson to Richard Hodgkinson (3-22 in 13 overs), who again looked sharp, the visitors did recover to 86-2 in the hands of Adam Dutton (38, six fours) and Ward (33, five fours).
But their stand of 76 was broken by Blatherwick, whose return of 5-25 in ten overs showed maturity beyond his years. Fellow spinner Reuben Singh and Brathwaite, who dislodged Dutton, also picked up key scalps and as Hodgkinson came back to mop up the tail, Edwinstowe sank to 128 all out in 46 overs.