NOTTS PREMIER LEAGUE ROUND-UP: top two Cuckney and Plumtree set for showdown to decide title

The stage is set for the ultimate showdown to decide the Notts Premier League (NPL) title after heavy rain returned with a vengeance to wash out Saturday's schedule.

AUSSIE RULES -- Australian bowler Trent Lawford had taken five wickets for leaders Cuckney when rain halted their latest match.
AUSSIE RULES -- Australian bowler Trent Lawford had taken five wickets for leaders Cuckney when rain halted their latest match.

As all six matches were abandoned at about the halfway stage, the top two sides, Cuckney and Plumtree, each collected nine points. So it’s everything to play for when they collide head-on in the penultimate round of fixtures this coming weekend.

Cuckney, who are seeking to seal their third NPL title in five season, have home advantage and also hold an 11-point advantage over their rivals. Both sides are at home in their final matches the following Saturday when they entertain relegation-threatened rivals -- Cuckney against Hucknall and Plumtree against Welbeck.

When the weather intervened on Saturday, Cuckney were in control of their match at Radcliffe-on-Trent, having reduced the home side to 173-7 from 44 overs after putting them into bat. Australian Trent Lawford inflicted most of the damage, taking 5-26 to defy determined batting from James Marshall (74) and Rob Sutton (35).

Plumtree’s match at home to Notts CCC Academy was in the balance for they had managed a total of only 205-8 in their allotted 50 overs. Hassan Azad hit 63 and skipper Ben Storey 31, but the main honours went to Academy bowler Connor Marshall, who took 6-51.

Third-placed West Indian Cavaliers went into their fixture at home to Caythorpe still harbouring hopes that they could have a say in the title race. But the rain left them 27 points behind the leaders and needing a miracle in the last two set of games. They did all they could, though, as Corey Collymore bagged 5-30 to help them skittle the visitors for 152, of which more than half was scored by one player, Martin Dobson (80). Cavs were 19-1 in reply when the abandonment came.

At the foot of the table, the frantic scramble to avoid the drop looks likely to go the wire, with just ten points separating the bottom four, Ordsall Bridon, Hucknall, Welbeck and Clifton Village.

Frustrated Welbeck looked all set to ease their fears when bowling out Bridon for just 106, with Jonathan Ball taking 3-17 and Tom Lungley 3-33. But after replying with 22-1, the heavens opened and they had to be satisfied with just ten points.

It was a similar story for Clifton, who dismissed Mansfield Hosiery Mills for 128 thanks chiefly to Muhammed Usman (4-26) and Martin Weightman (3-29), but could barely begin their reply.

However, Hucknall were up against it when the weather halted their game at Kimberley, who amassed a total of 306-9 in the hands of Dominic Brown (123 off 107 balls) and Neil Edwards (56), despite 5-60 from Will Spray.