THERE are five rounds of matches left in this season’s roster and time is therefore running out for late moves up the table to challenge for the title or to avoid relegation; one match this weekend epitomises both these elements when bottom club Worksop travel to the Clifton Oval to take on the reigning league champions. Worksop are 45 points from safety and must realistically win four of their remaining five if they are to survive but their single victory so far this term has come against fellow strugglers Wollaton. Clifton are fighting to finish in the top half of the table and have not won since the victory over Papplewick at the end of June. The previous match between these two in early June ended in an 83 run victory for Clifton with Martin Weightman scoring 81 and Tom Lungley taking four wickets; Worksop ‘keeper Gareth Pursehouse top scored in the reply with 60.
Leaders Cuckney travel to Papplewick looking to build on their 18 point lead over the Academy; they slipped up badly last weekend when gathering only 8 points in a losing draw at home to Plumtree and will want to get back to winning ways.
Nick Langford was the leading batter in that game and has now scored four fifties in his 383 runs this term. But is the bowling unit that has performed best with Richard Stroh (29 wickets at 13.8) and Luke Wood (28 at 12.7) in the top two spots in the league bowling statistics.
Papplewick are another side fighting hard to avoid relegation and have skipper Matt Dowman in fine form after his fist ton of the season in last weekend’s 7 wicket defeat against Caythorpe.
Plumtree will have played the top three teams in three weeks with the third in that trilogy being a home game this weekend against the Nottinghamshire Academy.
The home side suffered a nine wicket loss at home to Caythorpe two weeks ago but bounced back to have the better of a draw against Cuckney last week; that game saw more runs for Sam Storey who hit his third half century of the campaign and saw off-spinner Muhammad Usman increase his season-tally of wickets to 16. The Academy missed out on a solid win against Kimberley last week when rain called a halt to their game; they have only lost once this season, to Clifton in May and have Scott Elstone in good form with the bat; Adam Tillcock is leading their batting unit with 22 wickets at exactly 18 runs each, including an influential 5-63 in the winning draw against Clifton.
Caythorpe will be hoping to keep up their current outstanding run of form in what promises to be an excellent test away at West Indian Cavaliers. Since defeated by the Cavs in June, the visitors have won five and drawn one of their completed matches and now sit in third with an outside chance of the title if Cuckney and the Academy falter. James Hawley is in blazing form with unbeaten centuries in each of his last two innings and Tim Haines remains the master of tight spells; in the win last weekend against Papplewick he went for just 13 runs in his 15 over spell and his economy rate for the season is a remarkable 2.07 runs per over, the best amongst bowlers who have taken 10 wickets or more. But the Cavaliers remain a stern challenge to any side and like the Academy have only lost once this term. They will be trying to gain a third successive win and have Rawait Khan in good nick after his unbeaten 68 in the win against Worksop last weekend.
Kimberley are in fourth spot in the league after stumbling in their last couple of games and they will want to get back to winning ways when they welcome eleventh club Wollaton to the Private Ground this weekend. The visitors are desperately fighting to remain in the league as the last surviving founder member but relegation is definitely on the cards unless their young and inexperienced side can string a few wins together. They have lost ten league matches this term, two more than any other side and will look to avenge the 7 wicket loss to Kimberley earlier in the season; that match saw both Josh Bembridge and James Godrich score 47 but their bowling attack failed to take sufficient wickets. Kimberley have one of the league’s most in-form players in their ranks with Akhil Patel having scored 563 runs and taken 19 wickets.
The final match this weekend sees a local derby between Welbeck and Mansfield Hosiery Mills at Sookholme. The home side are slowly easing away from the relegation zone and are now 27 points ahead of Wollaton who they defeated last week by 5 wickets.
Martyn Dobson remains a key player for the Colliers, underlined by his unbeaten 68 in that game. The Mansfield side sit in fifth with four wins; this is the same number as their opponents but they have lost three fewer games. The previous encounter between these two ended in a 68 run win for the Millers built on the back of 114 from Tom New a five wicket haul from Kyle Garside.