Kimberley hold out for a draw at Academy

Kimberley travelled to face the young guns of the Notts Academy at Lady Bay and, thanks to an unbeaten 76 from Sam Johnson, they comfortably held on for a losing draw.

The home side won the toss and opted to bat first on a pitch that looked a batsman’s dream; although it was something of a nightmare for Matt Cross as he edged Atif Shiekh (3-77) behind to Sam Ogrizovic in the first over.

Sam Wood (77) then added 82 for the 2nd wicket with Sam Kelsall (24) inside 13 overs as the batsmen really began to pile on the runs, before Kelsall mistimed a drive off Dominic Wheatley (2-64) and was well caught by Sheikh at mid-off with the score on 84.

Wood brought up his half-century shortly off his 51st delivery and two balls later Alex King thought he’d got the better of new batsman Adam Tillcock (98) as drove in the air to mid-on, only for the fielder to not pick it up as the ball came at him like a tracer bullet and the chance went begging.

Sheikh made the break-through in the 30th over when he had Wood well caught by Wheatley at mid-wicket and trapped Tom Rowe lbw next ball; his hat-trick eluded him but he’d brought Kimberley back into the game with the score at 158-4.

The luckless King, without his soon-to-be-betrothed spin-twin Chris Glover to help tie the batsmen down, was denied Tillcock’s wicket again when an edge off a full-blooded cut went down behind the stumps.

Kimberley did pick up another wicket as Hassan Azad was run-out by a lithe piece of fielding from Jon Terry who hit the stumps with direct hit when on his knees to make it 167-5.

But Tillcock passed 50 and never looked back as together with Brett Hutton (44*) he added 81 runs in just eight overs to take the Academy to 248-5 before he holed out to King on the long-off boundary - two short of a century - to hand Elliot Bowles (2-57) his first NPL wicket.

He had his second two balls later as George Bacon played all around a straight ball to leave the Academy seven down.

Luke Wood was run-out after Bowles had deflected a Hutton drive onto the non-striker’s stumps and left the score at 256-7 in the 44th, but any hopes Kimberley had of keeping the total within reach were dashed when Sheikh was smashed for three sixes and a four in one over by skipper Andrew Parkin-Coates (26) to move the total up to 295, before Wheatley cleaned him up next over and the Academy declared.

Set a daunting, but not impossible, 298 runs for victory and with 53 overs to get them Kimberley started reasonably well as they found themselves 60-1 in the 16th over with Paldip Sidhu (29) and Bharat Popli (32) having added 54 for the 2nd wicket after the mercurial Terry (4) had fallen early on to Luke Wood (1-27).

But they both fell with two overs of each other to take all the impetus out the run chase.

Ogrizovic (24) and Johnson added a relatively untroubled 76 for the fourth wicket as they game drifted towards a draw and the Academy’s bowling attack was nullified.

With the score at 144-3 after 39 overs Azad (1-48) was introduced into the attack and he succeeded in ending Ogrizovic’s gritty innings via a strangled leg-side catch. The captain’s fall brought Wheatley (31*) to the crease and he helped the set Johnson to add another 83 runs to take Kimberley away from any danger and up to full batting points.

Both played some nice, and some destructive, shots towards the end as Azad took a pounding and they guided Kimberley to the close in the fast-fading light to seal the draw.

The second XI lost by eight wickets at Gotham as Kimberley collapsed to 114 all out and the visitors knocked the runs off for the loss of just two wickets.

Kimberley were in a good position at 62-1 with Alex Aldred (28) and Jack Blatherwick (54) having added 47 for the second wicket before Aldred fell and then the rest of the order went down like dominoes as eight wickets were lost for just 52 runs.

Openers Paul Blatherwick (8) and Hogg (65) added 56 for the first wicket before Steve Bennett held onto a catch of his own bowling to remove the former and with Hogg himself falling to Matt Ross with score on 86 it seemed as if Kimberley might just be able to prize out that all important third wicket; they couldn’t though as Steve Howath (33*) saw Gotham to victory in the 23rd over.

The thirds comfortably beat Hyson Green by 70 runs and in doing so secured promotion to Division H as champions.

Kimberley chose to bat first on a worn pitch and made 176-7 despite a slow start.

Ben Millington (40) and Danny Williams’ (51) partnership was key, as was that of Alex Beale and Paul Taylor as Kimberley secured all four available batting points.

The opening attack of Beale and Williams tore into the top order of Hyson Green.

Beale grabbed an early breakthrough and Williams claimed 2-15 in seven overs, before Hodgkinson followed suit with 1-16.

Sunny Sood (51) was batting defiantly but Beale’s 4-13 proved key as Hyson Green were all out for 106.

The fourth XI lost at home by nine wickets to Madni, after being all out for 108, 72 of those scored by Luke Tantum before a dramatic collapse from 71-2.

Madni then proceeded to knock the target off inside 16 overs to complete a convincing victory.