BASSETLAW LEAGUE ROUND-UP: fantastic Farnsfield win title-race showdown with Clipstone

WHO NEEDS TWO HANDS? -- Clipstone's Craig Brittlebank executing a perfect cover drive, despite losing grip of his bat. (PHOTO BY: Andy Sumner)
WHO NEEDS TWO HANDS? -- Clipstone's Craig Brittlebank executing a perfect cover drive, despite losing grip of his bat. (PHOTO BY: Andy Sumner)

Fantastic Farnsfield took control of the The Championship title race in the Bassetlaw League after victory in the top-of-the-table showdown against Clipstone Welfare.

At the start of play, only 15 points separated the two teams, with hosts Clipstone knowing that victory could overhaul the visiting leaders.

But by close, Farnsfield had cemented first place with a cosy six-wicket triumph that left them 31 points in front of their rivals, with just five matches to play. Clipstone even lost second spot in the table to Papplewick and Linby, who are 25 points behind Farnsfield ahead of a crunch crunch match against them on Saturday, August 27.

Curtis Mitchell’s team, who were relegated from the Notts Premier League only last season, are clearly determined to return and bossed Clipstone despite losing the toss. They bowled out the Seventh Avenue outfit for 188 before easing to their target for the loss of only four wickets and with more than five overs to spare.

Meanwhile Papplewick, such unlucky runners-up last term, proved that they are still major contenders for promotion by amassing a huge total of 316-4 declared at fifth-placed Thoresby Colliery and charging to victory by 170 runs. South African Leon Botha was again the star turn, hammering a magnificent 130 off 104 balls, firing seven sixes and 13 fours. He was well supported by James Taylor with 73 (one six and ten fours) and Tom Bowers with 44no.

Thoresby’s reply was so tame that they slid to 98-9 and the only question was whether they could survive long enough to hold on for a losing draw. Their best contributions came from the extras column (31) and number 11 Jack Willis (27, six fours), who helped put on 48 for the last wicket before Papplewick sealed their maximum haul of 20 points by removing him in the final over. The wickets were shared by Jim Rhodes (4-43 in 15 overs), Charlie Blatherwick (3-14 in ten) and Gareth Blinkhorn (3-42 in 9.4).

The outcome killed any lingering hopes that Thoresby might have had of getting involved in the title race -- and it was a similar story for fourth-placed Retford, who slipped to a two-wicket defeat at home to Edwinstowe. Good bowling by Tom Ward (4-51 in 15 overs) helped to restrict Retford to a total of 185-8 in their allotted 50 overs, with Pascal Broadley top scoring on 40. And then steady contributions all the way down the order enabled Edwinstowe to reach their target with more than six overs to spare, despite a five-wicket haul for former Notts CCC all-rounder Usman Afzaal (5-53 in 13 overs).

The day’s remaining matches resulted in defeats for the bottom three in the table, Worksop, Whitwell (Derbyshire) and North Wheatley with Leverton.

Doomed Worksop’s poor run of form continued against Glapwell Colliery, for whom Rasika Wijesinghe took 5-23 to roll over the hosts for just 117. Ian Tingle tried hard to salvage some pride for his side with bowling figures of 4-19, but Glapwell got home by four wickets thanks largely to an unbeaten 52 from Lee Topham.

Whitwell’s hopes of building on their first win of the season the previous week were dashed by Notts and Arnold Amateurs, whose score of 207 was enough for a 24-run success, despite three wickets and a knock of 31 for all-rounder Brandon Pritchard. Batsman Sam Ecob (40) and bowler Jordan Finney (4-50) starred for Amateurs.

Wheatley’s total of 143 was nowhere near enough at Anston, who strode home by seven wickets in the hands of Andrew Pickering (63) and Sri Lankan star Amila Perera, who again advertised his all-round talent by taking 4-36 with the ball before hitting 55no with the bat.