A RATHER mixed August day saw Kimberley Institute welcome the young guns of the Notts Academy to Newdigate Street.
Despite setting a challenging 253-run target for victory, Kimberley fell to a fourth straight defeat as Academy won by seven wickets.
With the visitors winning the toss Kimberley were asked to bat first and Paldip Sidhu (99) and Jon Terry (46) looked to enjoy themselves as they added 84 for the first wicket; although they both had some good fortune as the Academy fielders shelled several regulation chances in the slips.
Not that it fazed either opener as anything loose was punished and the scoreboard kept ticking over; Sidhu playing some classy straight drives and on-side flicks and Terry pummelling the ball through the off-side on a regular basis and unleashing the pull-shot on several occasions.
The fun stopped when Academy captain Andrew Parkin-Coates (2-42) trapped Terry lbw in the 18th over and when he struck again to remove Anuj Dal in the 26th the scoreboard read 103-2 and the innings’ momentum appeared to be stalling.
Cue Akhil Patel (45) who marched out and regained the initiative with a blistering assault on the bowling as he advanced at a run-a-ball adding 72 with Sidhu inside 12 overs.
Hitting eight boundaries in no time it seemed as if Patel was inexorably moving towards a century, that was until Adam Dobb deflected a Sidhu drive onto the non-striker’s stumps and Patel was short of his ground backing-up; 175-3 in the 38th.
As Andy Platts and Carl Blake fell within two overs of each other the innings was again in danger of stalling at 202-5 but Sidhu and Dominic Wheatley (27*) hustled and bustled and got Kimberley back on course for 250.
A hefty blow for six took Sidhu into the 90s and when he was put down again on 95 it seemed as if nothing was going to deny him a maiden NPL ton; except perhaps a run-out.
As he was scampering through for his 99th run the ball went for overthrows and he charged back for the second only to see Dan Cummings fizz the ball in to keeper Shafique who removed the bails with Sidhu agonisingly short of his ground.
A productive 50th - helped by two Wheatley boundaries - got Kimberley up to 252-6 which, at tea, seemed a competitive total.
Opening bowlers Matt Wright (2-52) and Richard Adams greeted the Academy opening pair of Sam Kelsall (64) and Sam Wood (38) with a tight spell as the visitors gradually moved the score onto 41 at the end of the 13th over.
They then took the attack to the young pair of Prab Sidhu and Dal who were dispatched for 35 runs in five overs.
Captain Sam Ogrizovic brought back Wright who produced two wickets in two balls, cleaning up Wood with a jaffa and having Michael Robson caught behind as Ogrizovic pounced to hold the ball after it had deflected up in the air off Terry’s shoulder; 79-2 in the 19th and Kimberley regaining control.
Kelsall continued his innings calmly however and brought his half-century up off his 66th delivery, and with the determined Olly Swann (54*) added 58 to take Academy to 137-2 in the 30th.
When Patel (1-57) trapped him lbw though the game seemed open again, but whilst Swann continued resolutely it was the classy Tom Rowe who came in and stole the show as he took the game away from Kimberley and advanced Academy to victory with a fluent and serene run-a-ball 60 not out.
The pair compiled an unbeaten stand of 116 and brought up the winning runs in the 47th over as Swann hit a six which also brought up his half-century.
The defeat makes it four in row now for Kimberley who face a tricky trip to seventh-placed Cuckney this weekend.
The 2nd IX fared little better in the quaint surroundings of Attenborough as they ground out another losing draw.
Batting first, the hosts posted a reasonable 215-8 from their 48 overs with Mike Aplin (43), Luis Holliday (42) and Colin McConnell (32) leading the way the bat and extras also making a healthy contribution to the score with 38.
The wickets were shared amongst Ian Wright (3-45), Steve Bennett (3-72) and Charlie Walters (2-32).
Several times in reply Kimberley found themselves in decent positions but wickets kept falling at regular intervals and no batsman could get in and play the big innings, so it was left to the lower order to play out for a losing draw.
Ben Johnson (31) top scored with Tim Wheatley (27), Bennett (25) and James Griffiths (24) all contributing.
Tim Caldwell (3-47) was the pick of the bowling for Attenborough as they tried in vain to bowl Kimberley out.
In a top-of-the-table clash the third XI welcomed Thrumpton to the Basil Russell hoping to continue their winning ways, but it was the visitors who came away with the spoils in a low scoring affair.
Bowling first, Kimberley were well pleased with their efforts as the visitors were all out for 140 in the 32nd over.
When opener Joe Richardson, who top scored with 44, was bowled by Max Sugarman (2-24) Thrumpton were 91-7 but a rear-guard action added what would prove to be an important 49 runs to see them to their final total.
Connor Richardson (3-30) had the pick of the bowling figures with Becky Widdowson (2-32), Martyn Stackhouse (2-29) and Ben Millington (1-19) claiming the rest of the wickets.
Openers Brad Mozley (14) and young Jack Blatherwick (20) got the innings off to a solid start before the former was run-out with the score at 29.
When Sam Beale (19) was out with the score at 67-3 the game was still Kimberley’s but Beale’s dismissal instead heralded a batting collapse.
Kamram Rasheed took 4-31 but Adam Pick stole his thunder by taking 4-6 off just 5.1 overs to leave a shell-shocked Kimberley all out for 92.
The defeat means the thirds slip into third in Division J of the South Notts League.
An away trip to Lambley 2nds, with important promotion securing points available to both sides, was an enticing prospect for the fourth team.
Lambley chose to bat first but were pegged back well by early first change bowlers Joe Platts (5-2-10-1) and Paul Newton (9-4-16-1).
Then at 60-5 Lambley took the initiative with Cowlishaw striking a quick 30 before he was caught at the wicket off Rich Kelley.
Some late order hitting pushed the total to 150 all out in the fortieth over. Dan Huskinson came back from a rusty opening start to claim 5-25 in 8.1 overs.
The total was 50 runs below the average on the small ground and Kimberley made a good solid start against very tidy Lambley bowling.
Alex Aldred (13 years old) batted solidly for 18 and the innings moved on to 81-1 in the 25th over, when fellow opener Paul Taylor departed for 38.
But it wasn’t to be as the Kimberley batters collapsed to the spin bowling of Westbury (6-17) with only Tom Boyden (17) demonstrating good shot selection.
Nine wickets fell for 44 runs as the innings ended at 125 all out and with three games remaining Kimberley have to grind out at least two victories to secure a promotion position.