Cuckney look to close the gap - Weekend Notts Premier League preview

Second-placed Cuckney host Plumtree looking to close the 11-point gap at the top.

With four winning draws and just two wins, they seem to be missing the firepower that Luke Wood brought to their attack now that he has transferred to the Academy.

Richard Stroh heads the club’s batting and bowling stats and Will Root is in solid form after his match-winning 128 not out against the Academy last time out.

Plumtree secured a victory and a winning draw over the champions last year and will be keen to continue that record.

They will be without skipper Ben Thompson, who is away on business, but Matt Wood stands-in and will have good memories of his 86 not out in the home win last year.

Mansfield Hosiery Mills take on Caythorpe at The Fieldings with both sides showing good form of late after sluggish starts to their campaigns.

Despite losing to the Cavaliers on Bank Holiday Monday, the Millers have won three of their last four and are one of the form teams of the league.

Their most recent win was an eight-wicket affair over Farnsfield with Gareth Curtis scoring his first league century of the season, adding an unbeaten 112 with Sudesh Fernando to clinch the points. Caythorpe are looking for their third straight win and will take confidence from 23 run victory at Birchover Park over the Cavaliers last weekend.

It was their three Notts old boys that secured that win with 50s for Darren Bicknell and Matt Dowman and five wickets for Jim Hindson.

The bottom two clubs will meet at Station Lane as Farnsfield host Papplewick with both looking to win their way out of trouble.

The home side will be without skipper Paul Franks, who is appearing for Nottinghamshire at Scarborough, but Graeme White may feature.

The league newcomers have not won since the second match of the season, but there remain positive signs with half centuries in the last match for both Michael Bell and Callum McKenzie. Jim Rhodes and Alex Lloyd have been the outstanding Papplewick players, but Rhodes apart, their bowling seems to be by far their weaker suit.

Clifton host Welbeck, and it promises to be a tight affair as only one point separates them in eighth and ninth.

The home side have won their last two after a poor start and new recruit Caleb Mierkalns looks to have settled in well after a crucial run-a-ball 82 in last weekend’s victory over Papplewick. Welbeck’s win over Kimberley was masterminded by Jake Ball (4-16) and Martyn Dobson (62) and they will want to get the rest of the team in decent form, especially as they are likely to lose Ball to Nottinghamshire during the T20 campaign next month.

The stand-out fixture this weekend sees West Indian Cavaliers travel to Watnall Road to take on the league leaders Rolls Royce in a much-anticipated encounter.

The home side are 18 points ahead of their opponents who are in third with Cuckney separating them.

Rolls have won five of their first seven games in the league and warmed up for this fixture with quick-fire nine-wicket win over Plumtree last weekend.

Adam Shepherd was the star of the show in that game, reducing his pace intelligently to get the most out of the wicket to take 7-23 and he now leads the league statistics with 21 at less than 15 runs each.

The Cavaliers form has slipped since they opened the season with four straight wins and they have now lost two of their of their last three, including a 23 run loss at home to Caythorpe last week. Ricky Anderson has been in good form with the ball, though, and he will have to continue to lead the attack in the continuing absence of injured Shahzada Khan.

A close game is anticipated at Kimberley where the Nottinghamshire Academy will looking to secure only their second win of the season and propel themselves up the table from their current spot in 10th.

The home side suffered a zero point loss last week against Welbeck when they were dismissed for just 113, but recent wins against Papplewick and Clifton showed their fighting spirit; Paldip Sidhu is their stand-out batter with 250 runs at an average of more than 41.

The Academy have had a tough start to the season but will hope to go one better than the corresponding fixture last term when they secured a winning draw.

Sam Kelsall (77) and Adam Tillcock (3-48) provided the key inputs that day and both are likely to playing this weekend.