Cuckney cricketers on the verge of county title

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CRICKET’S Nottinghamshire Premier League reaches an exciting finish this Saturday with the destination of the championship trophy and the final relegation spot still to be decided.

In fact, one match could be decisive in both issues when leaders Cuckney host Wollaton at Langwith Road.

The home side were unable to take their chance to clinch the title last weekend when they fell to a losing draw against the Nottinghamshire Academy at Lady Bay.

Wollaton realistically need to secure a win if they are to avoid the drop and the prospect of beating the league leaders could seem daunting; but they will take confidence from their previous match-up in June when, whilst they lost, the margin of defeat was just 10 runs.

Will Root (51) and Luke Wood (4-48) were the stars that day for Cuckney that day whilst Dominic Reed and Alex King both took three wickets for Wollaton.

The other side that are battling to avoid the drop are Papplewick and on paper they have the easier challenge whilst Wollaton have to overcome the league leaders, Papplewick host relegated Worksop.

The home side have only won two games all season and their last victory was against Worksop at Central Avenue in June.

Aussie Eamonn Vines stepped up on that occasion to see his side home with an unbeaten 58 and Kelbert Walters took 3-33 on that day for Worksop, but he returned to the West Indies two weeks ago as the north Notts side prepare for life in the Bassetlaw League in 2013.

If Cuckney slip up, the Nottinghamshire Academy are the only side that can take the league trophy, but they will need to overcome the West Indian Cavaliers at Lady Bay to be in with a chance and hope that Wollaton overcome Cuckney.

Contests between these two sides are always keenly fought but this will be their first clash this year after their previous match-up was rained off; they last met in September last year when the county side clinched a winning draw when Scott Elstone hit 95 and Sam Wood took 4-50.

Rawait Khan has been in excellent form for the visitors this year hitting four fifties in his 340 runs.

Ricky Anderson has been the leading wicket-taker with 23 at less than 17.

The Cavaliers are hoping to finish in third and the two other sides vying to grab this spot meet when Caythorpe host Mansfield Hosiery Mills.

Both sides have had a good season characterised by extended runs of positive results punctuated by the occasional reverse.

The home side beat the Millers by four wickets in June when Josh Mierkalns hit 58 in chasing down 167 after Matt New and Sudesh Fernando put on 99 for the fourth wicket after their side had collapsed to 33 for three.

Welbeck travel to Kimberley with both sides looking to build towards next season; the visitors are four places and 49 points behind Kimberley but have secured one more victory, which may explain why the home side are not higher up the table.

Dan Birch has come good in recent weeks with two big hundreds but Akhil Patel leads the batting roster with 712 runs at an average of more than 50 and Matt Wright has had another excellent season with the ball taking 31 wickets at just more than 20.

Welbeck nearly added to their win count when these sides last met when they drew three runs short of their target, Guy Darwin doing his best to get his side over the line with 61 from 60 balls.

The final game of the day sees Clifton travel to Plumtree; this has been a difficult season for the 2011 champions and they struggling to finish in the top half of the table.

The home side are only six points and one place below them in what has been an excellent season for the South Notts side.

Sam Storey has now joined Matt Wood in the 400 run club and Muhammad Usman is leading the bowlers with 23 wickets at 26.

For the visitors, Tom Lungley has had an excellent year with 5 fifties in his 522 runs to add to his 20 wickets; Adam Shepherd has been their leading bowler with 31 wickets.