NOTTS PREMIER LEAGUE ROUND-UP: crazy collapse gifts Cuckney a crucial leg-up in title race

FAMILY PRIDE -- Josh Downie, who hit a century for Hucknall on the eve of an appearance at the Olympic Games by his gymnastics sisters, Becky and Ellie.

FAMILY PRIDE -- Josh Downie, who hit a century for Hucknall on the eve of an appearance at the Olympic Games by his gymnastics sisters, Becky and Ellie.

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Confident Cuckney took a giant step towards regaining their Notts Premier League title after an extraordinary collapse by their fellow high-riding opponents in the latest round of action.

Chasing Cuckney’s total of 228-6, third-placed former champions West Indian Cavaliers looked poised to pull off a key victory when easing to 201-4 after a fifth-wicket stand of 99 between Aitizaz Khan (77) and ex-Notts CCC man Bilal Shafayat (53).

But they proceeded to lose five wickets for just 12 runs, including three run-outs, to leave them clinging on for a losing draw at 213-9, handing the hosts 18 crucial points.

Cuckney, whose chief run-getter was James Hawley with 65, now head the table by 17 points from Plumtree, with Cavaliers a further three points back. There are five games to play, including a crunch clash between the top two on Saturday, September 3.

Plumtree maintained their challenge with a winning draw of their own away to last season’s title-winners, Kimberley. An imposing total of 280-7, which featured a fourth-wicket stand of 110 between Dominic Brown (86) and James Fenwick (63), proved just too hefty for the home teamn, although they gave the run-chase a good go, finishing on 257-7 after knocks of 69 from Sam Wood and 59 from Oliver Soames.

At the foot of the table, the scrap to avoid relegation is really hotting up with only 16 points separating the bottom six teams. The sextet are still anchored by Hucknall, but they produced an impressive performance in a winning draw at home to Welbeck, posting 314-1 after centuries for Jake Libby (123no) and Josh Downie (101), who is the brother of Becky and Ellie Downie, stars of Team GB’s gymnastics squad at the Olympic Games in Rio. Dale Campbell also hit 50no before Welbeck held on at 230-8 in reply.

Clifton Village also boosted their survival chances by hammering Radcliffe-on-Trent by 85 runs after totalling 257-8 thanks to 111 off 133 balls from Gregor Croudis and 55 from Richard Harris. And that result dragged Ordsall Bridon into the bottom two after a crushing 144-run reverse at Caythorpe, despite 59 from Paul Van Den Heuvel. The hosts amassed 323-3 in the hands of Matt Dowman (145no) and James Oldham (69), who put on 229 for the third wicket.

The week’s remaining match resulted in a 131-run defeat for mid-table Mansfield Hosiery Mills, who crumbled to 91 all out at home to Notts CCC Academy, whose score of 222 featured 66 from Lyndon James.