CHAMPIONS Clifton proved too strong at home to Kimberley Institute despite the visitors at one point having their opponents in deep trouble.
Despite reducing Clifton to 88-6, it was not to be as the home side ran out 95-run winners.
Winning the toss, captain Sam Ogrizovic asked the home team to bat first and his decision was soon vindicated as Richard Adams (1 for 27) found the edge of opener Dan Birch’s bat to leave Clifton at 17-1.
A partnership of 40 then followed between Kristian Murden (36) and Richard Harris (18) before the latter was comprehensively bowled, during an excellent spell, by Matt Wright (2-28) with the score at 57-2 in the 13th over.
The score moved to 86 at the end of the 19th over before Dominic Wheatley (3-34), like a raptor, sprang into action and with the help of another scalp from Wright reduced Clifton to 88-6 at the end of the 22nd.
First to fall to Wheatley was opener Murden who was well held by Chris Glover on the third-man boundary.
Wright then trapped Scott McNeill lbw for a duck, but Wheatley was not to be outshone as he accounted for Liam Andrews, superbly caught by Nick Langford, and Tom Lungley who was caught behind in the same over leaving the home side in disarray.
Clifton rallied, however, with an excellent seventh wicket partnership of 74 between Martin Weightman (49) and wicket-keeper Alistair Walters (34) which was only broken when Glover (1-34) lured Walters out of his ground to be stumped by Ogrizovic, the score at 162-7 in the 39th and Kimberley rejuvenated by the wicket.
When Paul McMillan fell next over to Paul Riley (2-66) the innings appeared to be faltering to its conclusion, but the last two wickets added an important 60 runs with Dominic Harvey (30*) leading the way.
Whilst Kimberley might have felt they should have been chasing less 227 seemed a more than gettable target.
Glorious sunshine greeted Alex Robinson (44) and James Mann (9) as they navigated the opening overs and all seemed to be going well before Mann was adjudged caught behind to a sharp leg-side catch by Walters off the bowling of Weightman (1-15), Kimberley 20-1 in the 10th over.
Ogrizovic (12) joined Robinson and they nudged and nurdled 42 runs before Ogrizovic was well caught down the leg-side chasing a Daniel Footitt (1-21) delivery leaving the score at 62-2 in the 20th.
The game was still Kimberley’s for taking however and another stand of 42 between the patient Robinson and stylish Langford (24) had moved the score onto 104-2 in the 29th before disaster struck.
After launching Harvey (1-29) for six Langford snicked behind and his dismissal heralded a clatter of wickets which never stopped as Kimberley’s lower-order was decimated for just 27 runs.
Robinson’s vigil was ended the very next over by spinner Liam Andrews (1-21) and Wheatley followed in the next, 105-5.
Hopes of victory now rested with Riley and Carl Blake but they were ended very quickly by Tom Lungley (3-39) as he, after accounting for Wheatley, dismissed both very cheaply to leave the visitors on 128-7 in the 37th.
Four overs later it looked likely that Kimberley would be able to hold out for a losing draw but the introduction of McMillan (3-2) put paid to that as he took three wickets in four balls and secured all 20pts for Clifton - a dejected Kimberley all out for just 131.
The 2nd XI continued their fine start to the season at home to Newstead Abbey, winning by 33 runs and making it four victories s from four.
Batting first, things did not start so well as Craig Pitts and Andy Layton fell early to Dan Greenhalgh (3-47) leaving the score at 22-2.
The innings was rescued though by a century partnership between senior players Mick Blatherwick (64) and James Griffiths (48).
From 130-2 Kimberley slipped to 154-6 as Nick Hand (3-42) punched a hole in the middle-order.
Wrights Ian (42) and Pete (18) filled the gap as they added 58 for the seventh wicket.
Both fell with the score on 212 and then, a short time later, the innings was ended in the 45th over with Kimberley all out for 223.
Newstead then gained themselves three extra overs to chase down the runs, but they were to fall short in their reply.
They were 48 for no loss before Steve Bennett (3-43) and Ian Wright (2-34) combined to reduce them to 58-3.
A stand of 44 between wicket-keeper Adam Kalka (60) and James Radford (22) followed until it was ended by Craig Pitts (2-34) with the score at 102-4.
Kalka then added a further 51 with Steven Daykin (36) and the game seemed to be slipping away from Kimberley.
However, from 153-4 Newstead fell apart with three run-outs and a wicket apiece from Bennett, Wright and Pitts doing the damage and handing Kimberley the victory.
The thirds overcame visiting Attenborough by 50 runs.
After being asked to bat skipper Paul Richardson (18) and Paul Rockley (40) put on 55 for the first wicket, but it was all somewhat downhill thereafter.
The bowling of Colin McConnell (6-24) destroyed the middle-order as wickets fell at regular intervals, only a spirited 20 from Luke Tantum offering any real resistance as the innings closed in the 44th over with Kimberley all out for 135.
Batting certainly didn’t get any easier in the second innings as Martyn Stackhouse terrorised the Attenborough batsmen producing an outstanding return of 6 for 13, which included the top four batsmen.
Matt Ross (2-36) and a run-out chipped before Max Sugarman removed the last man in his only over leaving Sam Henson stranded on 32 and the stunned visitors all out for 85 in just the 23rd over.
The fourths’ game at Attenborough fourths was cancelled as the hosts could not raise a team.