NOTTS PREMIER LEAGUE ROUND-UP: Plumtree edge closer as Cuckney’s title bid is hit by rain

SCOURGE OF CUCKNEY -- Kimberley batsmen James Fenwick and Sam Johnson, who hit 87, pile on the runs to frustrate the title challenge of tabletopping Cuckney.
SCOURGE OF CUCKNEY -- Kimberley batsmen James Fenwick and Sam Johnson, who hit 87, pile on the runs to frustrate the title challenge of tabletopping Cuckney.
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Happy Plumtree were the only winners as the dreaded rain returned to wreak havoc with the race for the Notts Premier League title.

Leaders Cuckney were frustrated by last season’s champions, Kimberley, before the weather brought their game to a halt. And third-placed West Indian Cavaliers had their contest at Mansfield Hosiery Mills cancelled without a ball bowled.

But Plumtree dodged the rain clouds to move within 11 points of the top after winning by seven wickets at Radcliffe-on-Trent, who were rolled out for just 148, despite an opening stand of 77 between Michael Bratt and Dan Mason.

Outstanding bowling by Bobby Gamble (5-22 in 13 overs) and Sam Wood (4-49 in 15 overs) saw ten wickets fall for just 71 runs, leaving Plumtree with the relatively straiughtforward task of knocking off the runs. Openers Saad Ashraf (67, nine fours) and Hassan Azad (36) ensured there were no alarms, sharing a stand of 98.

Cuckney’s match at home to Kimberley was robbed of 40 overs by the rain. But their bowlers were also left exasperated by a visiting side at last rediscovering some of last season’s form as they posted a fine total of 251-5 in the hands of Sam Johnson (87), who crashed six sixes, and Tom Rowe (73, nine fours), who put on 107 for the third wicket. The tabletoppers’ reply was going well on 43-1 from 9.2 overs when the weather played its last, and most decisive, card.

There are now just three matches to play in the pursuit of the champions’ crown. Cuckney travel to Radcliffe this Saturday before the crunch clash at home to Plumtree the following week. Cavaliers, who trail second spot by 17 points, face Caythorpe, Ordsall Bridon and Notts CCC Academy.

Two more games last Saturday had to be abandoned, including the key battle between relegation-threatened duo Hucknall and Clifton Village. The visitors totalled 274-7 thanks to fine knocks by Adam Clarke (64no, David Farnsworth (57) and Richard Harris (47), and Hucknall had replied with 229-5 with five overs left when the heavens opened. Dale Campbell struck 60 and Josh Downie 57.

The outcome means only eight points separate the two teams, with Ordsall Bridon and Welbeck squeezed between them. Ordsall were also blighted by the rain after making 217 at home to Notts CCC Academy, with Paul Van Den Heuvel hitting 72. The visitors were 78-1 when stumps were drawn.

Welbeck did complete their match, but probably wished they hadn’t after sliding to a nine-wicket loss at Caythorpe, who restricted them to 155-9 before sailing home in 20 overs thanks to an undefeated 101 in just 66 balls from Steve Allcoat.

As at the top, there are three matches remaining in the relegation scrap, but two of Hucknall’s are against Kimberley and Cuckney.