Sun greets big guns on opening day of new cricket season

Opener Nick Wild on his way to a useful 45 for Welbeck in their winning draw against Mansfield Hosiery Mills. (PHOTO BY: Rachel Atkins)
Opener Nick Wild on his way to a useful 45 for Welbeck in their winning draw against Mansfield Hosiery Mills. (PHOTO BY: Rachel Atkins)

Two of the title fancies, Welbeck and Mansfield Hosiery Mills, served up an entertaining draw as the sun shone to greet the start of the Bassetlaw League, Championship season.

Welbeck finished a close third last season, while Hosiery Mills are back in the league after dropping down from the elite Notts Premier League.

The hosts were put into bat, and responded well, amassing an excellent total of 269-9 from their allotted 50 overs, which included 60 from Ashley Willis, 45 from Nick Wild and 37 from Richard Stroh.

Wild (eight fours) saw them through the opening period, sharing 54 for the second wicket with Ethen Johnson, before skipper Stroh (six fours) presided over the middle order.

The innings was wobbling a bit at 128-5 but then Willis, going in at seven, fired two sixes and eight fours in profitable stands worth 66 with Stroh and 58 with tailender Simon O’Neill (25).

The pick of the Millers’ bowlers were Kamal Manek with 3-59 from 12 overs, Kyle Garside with 2-48 from 11 overs and Chamikara Mudalige with one for 46 from 12 overs.

In reply, the visitors struggled to find momentum after a stuttering start in which they lost Anuk Sampathawaduge Fernando and Patrick Delahunty cheaply.

Manek (42, one six and five fours) steadied the ship in partnerships of 54 with Steve Gooding (22) and 40 with captain Mark Smallwood.

But they never got themselves in a position where they could launch a winning run-chase, and in the end, Smallwood was happy to bat out for the losing draw.

He ended up unbeaten on 58 (one six and five fours), but lost a succession of partners at the other end, including three to bowler James Willis, until number ten Jonathan Salmon provided stern resistance with 29no (five fours) and lifted the total from a precarious 153-8 to a closing 202-8.

Willis returned the best figures for Welbeck, bagging 3-35 from ten overs, although Stroh did well with the new ball, taking 2-23 from eight overs, and Richie Bentley (1-35 in 12 overs) also bowled a tidy spell.