Local clubs battle for county T20 crown

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THIS Sunday sees the Notts Premier League’s T20 cricket competition kick-off with all 12 teams competing for places in a countywide T20 Finals Day, which returns this year to Trent Bridge on 9th July.

The opportunity to play on one of the world’s finest cricket grounds and to enter the national stages of the ECB club T20 competition will ensure some hard-fought games.

The matches are being hosted at three grounds, Mansfield Hosiery Mills, Papplewick and Plumtree with four teams competing at each location.

The winners of the first and second matches will play-off against each other on the same day and the winner of the play-off will progress to the Finals Day at Trent Bridge.

An intriguing tie start the day at Papplewick where the hosts take on rivals West Indian Cavaliers in the first game in a repeat of the fixture from the 2011 cup On that occasion, the Cavs secured a 33 run win thanks to solid innings from Aqib Afzaal and Morteza Ali and three wickets from Saqlain Mushtaq.

Games between these two clubs are always closely fought and this will be no exception and Warren Nel and Matt Dowman will bring their experience to the Papplewick unit.

The second game at Papplewick takes place between 2011 T20 champions Wollaton and Caythorpe.

These two sides have not met before in T20 competition but Wollaton will be looking to repeat their 2011 success when they progressed to the ECB competition.

Both clubs are both in the bottom half of the league table with only two points between them in ninth and 10th place and they are also due to meet on the day before the T20 game in the league.

Wollaton’s skipper Tim Young is in good nick with the bat and Caythorpe surprise package might be Kafeel Shafique who grabbed five wickets in the defeat of Cuckney on Monday.

The two promoted sides play their games at Plumtree, but to meet in their play-off both will have to overcome some stern competition.

Hosts Plumtree kick-off the day with a tie against 2009 and 2010 champions Cuckney.

These two sides have never met in T20 competition but, with Plumtree’s recent victory in the league against Cuckney fresh in the mind, Cuckney will be out to assert their supremacy in the shorter version of the game.

They have a trio of experienced T20 campaigners in Richard Stroh, Will Butler and Tom Ullyott and it will be interesting to see how they fare against some of Plumtree’s leading performers. Wasim Rana was in outstanding form over the weekend with figures of 7-33 against the Academy and a match-winning 60 against Wollaton.

The second fixture at Plumtree pits the Nottinghamshire Academy against Worksop, two sides at opposite ends of the form scale in the league.

Both sides will recall the eight-wicket loss handed to Worksop in the league earlier this term and they will be looking to make up for that loss.

The Academy side will probably more used to this format as many of their side will feature in the second XI T20 competition and George Bacon and Simon Webster will be the key threats with the ball.

Worksop will be looking for an all-round performance from Anguillan Kelbert Walters.

The final quartet of clubs meet up at The Fieldings, home of Mansfield Hosiery Mills.

Welbeck Colliery take on the host side in the first game and like Worksop, they are currently in the relegation zone and looking for some form.

The Millers are in fine form, currently in fine form in fourth in the league and have players capable of performing well in T20 cricket such as Gareth Curtis and Sudesh Fernando.

Martyn Dobson will be the batsmen to watch for Welbeck after his match-winning 96 against Worksop on Monday.

The second match in Mansfield sees Kimberley take on Clifton in what is sure to be a close-fought contest.

These two teams have never met in T20 competition and both sides are struggling to find consistent form on Saturdays.

Martin Weightman’s all-round skills will be key to Clifton’s progress in this competition and Kimberley skipper Sam Ogrizovic’s batting and leadership of the fielding effort from behind the sticks will be influential.

The games at all three grounds start at 10.45am, 2.00pm and 5.15pm.