Rollers’ bid to beat rain runs out of time

DEFIANT DAN  - -    captain Dan Birch tried his best to force a victory against his former club, Clifton Village (PHOTO BY: Richard Parkes).
DEFIANT DAN - - captain Dan Birch tried his best to force a victory against his former club, Clifton Village (PHOTO BY: Richard Parkes).

Frantic attempts by title-chasing ROLLS-ROYCE LEISURE to turn a rain-affected match into a crucial victory were thwarted in the Notts Premier League (NPL).

Third-placed Rolls travelled to second-placed Clifton Village, knowing that a win could take them to the top of the NPL table.

Heavy rain delayed the start of the match and eventually reduced it to 35 overs per side, which is the designated minimum.

Rolls couldn’t survive all their overs and suffered a dramatic batting collapse, slumping from 85 for two to 120 all out in 32.4.

They then produced a gallant fightback with the ball, which was scuppered by league rules that state all games must finish by a certain time.

It was timed out and abandoned with Clifton’s innings on 113 for seven after 29 of their overs. They were eight runs short of success, while Rolls were three wickets short.

The drama began with the home side winning the toss and quickly congratulating themselves oin the deicision to put Rolls in. For they removed Gurpej Landa for two and Matt Roberts for nought.

The Hucknall team recovered via a vibrant third-wicket stand of 78 between skipper Dan Birch (46, three sixes and one four) and Shaun Levy (31). But their need for quick runs soon got the better of them.

Both Birch and Levy were dismissed by Tim le Breton (four for 28 in six overs), and it wasn’t long before the rest of the Rolls batsmen followed.

Indeed not one other player made double figures as Clifton duo le Breton and Indian all-rounder Shreyas Iyer (four for 29 in 9.4 overs), who caught and bowled key man Tom Lungley for a duck, wreaked havoc. Eight wickets tumbled for only 35 runs, with the last coming in the 33rd over.

Le Breton then anchored Clifton’s reply with a battling 39 from 73 balls. But at the other end, Rolls’s bowlers were always on top.

Matt Roberts took three for 21 in six overs, Atif Sheikh took two for 19 in seven overs and Lungley one for 21 in eight.

The only time Clifton got into a rhythm was when Le Breton and Richard Harris (17) took the total from 30 for three to 74 for four.

But then with one eye on the clock and recognising the need to chase down their victory target, they faltered after Harris became the first of three stumpings for Rolls wicketkeeper Suhail Ahmed.

Le Breton was sixth man out on 99 as spinner Roberts turned the screw at the death.

At least both sides picked up more points than if the match had been cancelled completely -- Clifton 11 and Rolls ten.

The Hucknall side still lost third spot in the npl table, though -- to Plumtree, whom they entertain this coming Saturday.