Issues to be resolved as Notts Premier cricket season nears end

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With only two rounds of matches remaining in the 2011 season, there are still issues to be resolved at both ends of the Nottinghamshire Premier Cricket League table.

At the top, it will either be Clifton or the West Indian Cavaliers that raise the trophy and both face interesting tussles this weekend.

Leaders Clifton need to secure 24 points from a possible 40 in the last two fixtures if they are to be crowned champions for the third successive year and on Saturday they travel to Langwith Lane to take on Cuckney.

The home side hit a three-match winning streak in August, but went down last weekend to Papplewick by six wickets.

In the previous match between these two this year, Cuckney managed to hold on for a draw with eight wickets down after Richard Harris and Dan Birch had powered Clifton to 269 for 6.

Lucas Carlisle and Ian Parkin were the Cuckney’s saviours that day with 54 and 30 not out respectively.

West Indian Cavaliers have the tougher fixture when they travel to Lady Bay to challenge the Nottinghamshire Academy.

The Cavs are yet to overcome the county side in the Premier League although they came close earlier this term, but were denied by the weather when they had the Academy nine down and 40 runs short of their target.

But they will also be conscious of losing to the Academy in dramatic fashion last season at Birchover Park when they were unable to defend a target of 228 when Michael Robson saw the job through 84 not out.

The Cavs will be turning again to Saqlain Mushtaq, hoping he can add to his remarkable tally of 61 wickets for the season.

At the other end of the table, it is Papplewick and Belvoir who are battling it out to avoid joining Kiveton Park in dropping out of the league.

Papplewick need just eight points from their last two games to guarantee their safety and this weekend they travel to Wollaton.

The visitors’ victory last weekend against Cuckney was much-needed and was their first win in five games.

Alex Lloyd grabbed his first ton of the season in the Cuckney game and now has exactly 600 league runs for the campaign, with Mark Nelson also delivering with 594.

This will be an emotional day for Wollaton as it will be the final home appearance of skipper Ed Savill before he moves to Scotland later in the month.

One of their five wins this season came in the game at Papplewick in June when Alex King led the attack with 4-34 when Papplewick were dismissed for 162.

Belvoir travel to Caythorpe with a slim chance of keeping their survival hopes alive, but need Papplewick to slip up if they are not to return to the South Notts League after just one year.

The home side had a four-game winning streak interrupted when they were dismantled for just 76 last weekend, courtesy of Mansfield Hosiery Mill’s Kieron Garside who grabbed an astonishing 8-27.

Belvoir’s star performer this year has been Darren Bicknell, who leads the league batting roster with 909 runs at an average of more than 75 per innings and who will look to go past the 1000 mark in the last two games.

Kiveton host Kimberley knowing that they are already relegated back the Bassetlaw League; on the face of it, they have had a very difficult year in the top flight but there have been some undoubted individual successes.

There have been league tons for Matthew Cartwright and Christopher Hadley and skipper Lee Brooks has taken 28 wickets, but the strength of the playing resources has not been able to compete week-in-week-out and this has been their undoing.

Kimberley have had a season of highs and lows and come into the match on the back of a win last week against Wollaton that broke a five match losing streak.

Paldip Sidhu confirmed his promise in the Wollaton match with his maiden league century Matt Wright performed well with the ball, grabbing 4-45.

The final game of the day sees Welbeck travel to The Fieldings to take on Mansfield Hosiery Mills.

It truly has been a season of two halves for the Colliers – after seven games they were bossing the league with a 100 per record.

But, having only won one game since 4th June has seen them drop from top spot to fourth.

The previous game between these two this year saw Welbeck get the better of a draw when Martin Dobson and Matt Higgins both got hundreds and put on an opening stand of 246.

For the Mansfield side, Gareth Curtis has again been the stand-out performer with 4 hundreds in his 879 runs.