Favourites Cuckney hope to home in on title - NPL weekend preview

Will Butler is duly dispatched to the dressing rooms following lbw by Ryan McFadean  -Pic by:Richard Parkes
Will Butler is duly dispatched to the dressing rooms following lbw by Ryan McFadean -Pic by:Richard Parkes

Leaders Cuckney are eyeing a second successive Notts Premier League trophy and, with five games remaining, must be favourites if they keep winning.

They have been victorious in their last five outings and this weekend they welcome the Nottinghamshire Academy to Langwith Road looking to make it six in a row.

But the Academy will be motivated by the humbling 168-run defeat to Cuckney at Lady Bay in June when Billy Root carried his bat for an unbeaten innings of 128.

If the Academy are to win the match, their bowlers will have to subdue Root and his colleagues and the leading county bowler with 33 wickets is Luke Wood, a Cuckney player until this season.

He is returning to his home ground for the first time in the NPL and went wicketless in the June encounter.

The West Indian Cavaliers have won their last seven matches, the last two by more than 150 runs, and this week they travel to Caythorpe.

Ameer Ahmed is the man in form with the ball for the Cavs, having taken nine of his 14 league wickets in those last two games.

He has some way to go to overhaul Usman Afzaal in the bowling stats as he has taken 37 at fewer than 13 runs each including a return of 5-33 in the recent win over Welbeck.

Caythorpe’s season has been one of ups and downs with only four wins, but one of those victories was against the Cavaliers in June.

Jim Hindson spun them to victory that day with figures of 5-38 and Josh Mierkaln’s poor run of form was ended in brutal fashion with his unbeaten hundred in the winning draw away at Plumtree last week.

Plumtree sit in equal seventh but will be anxiously looking over their shoulder as there are only nine points between them and Welbeck in 10th and this week travel to Rolls Royce.

They will not have fond memories of Rolls’ trip to the PCG earlier this year when they were humbled for just 64 with Adam Shepherd starring with 7-23.

David Bedingham, Plumtree’s South African overseas player, has scored more than 1,400 runs for the club including 452 in the NPL with a season’s best of 139 against Papplewick.

Rolls have slipped from the top two in recent weeks but are only two points behind the Cavaliers, though, as they still have to play the Cavs and Cuckney, and their title hopes remain strong.

Farnsfield are in 11th and have a tricky away trip this weekend to The Fieldings to take on a Mansfield Hosiery Mills side looking to quickly bounce back from their heavy defeat away at the Cavaliers last week.

Farnsfield are fighting hard and have secured three of their four wins in the last seven matches.

They are a young, locally-produced side well-led by skipper Paul Franks, who is one of three players who have exceeded 300 league runs, the others being Callum McKenzie and Matthew Sisson.

The Millers have had a solid season in fifth – all their wins and winning draws have come against sides below them in the league.

Tom New’s 688 runs place him top of the pile across the league as does the seven times he has passed 50 in 17 innings.

Kimberley aided their climb away from the danger zone when they secured their third win of the campaign last weekend against Papplewick, but they play another side in the bottom five this week when they welcome Welbeck to the 2BM ground.

Alex King has been a shrewd signing and he took 6-43 last week, giving him a total of 34 wickets this season.

Welbeck are nine points below Kimberley, despite having won one more game, including a comprehensive nine-wicket win over Saturday’s opponents at Sookholme in June when Jake Ball led the attack with figures of 4-16 from 11 overs.

In what will be an interesting weekend for all the clubs in the bottom half, another key battle takes place at Clifton who welcome Papplewick and Linby.

The visitors’ hopes of retaining their Premier League status seem to be slipping away and they are now 61 points from safety; but they will take confidence from their previous game against Clifton when they fell just 12 runs short of victory.

That win over Papplewick was in the middle of a three game winning streak for Clifton but they subsequently endured an eight-match spell without another victory.

Stand-in skipper David Lucas (4-41), Richard Harris (64*) and Jarrod Coombe (62*) combined to defeat Farnsfield last weekend to end that streak.