A shock defeat against bottom-of-the-table Clifton Village all but killed off Kimberley’s chances of retaining their Notts Premier League title.
The six-wicket reverse was their fourth loss on the bounce and stretched their winless run to a troubling seven games, leaving them fifth in the table and 59 points behind leaders Cuckney with six to play. In fact, for all but a brief period, it was Kimberley, rather than their hosts, who looked the relegation-threatened side as they collapsed alarmingly after a fine start.
At 124-1 from only 22 overs, it looked as though the batters had rediscovered their mojo as Neil Edwards (73, one six and 11 fours) and Sam Johnson (38, one six and five fours) laid a terrific platform with a stand of 107 for the second wicket. But somehow, from such a position of strength, Kimberley proceeded to lose their remaining nine wickets for just 51 runs and crashed to 175 all out by the 40th over.
Clifton’s skipper Martin Weightman was in inspired form with the ball, taking 6-45 in 13 overs, as the hosts withered and failed to bat out their full allotment of overs for the fourth consecutive time. Among Weightman’s victims were both Edwards and Johnson before Muhammad Usman also got in on the act, snapping up 3-37 from 8.5 overs. The third highest contribution for Kimberley came from the extras column (27).
Clifton’s batting had struggled all season, so the hosts still retained hope. However, their openers, Greg Coudis and Scott McNeill, were given an easy ride in a powerful partnership worth 99 in just 16 overs. Coudis cracked nine boundaries in his run-a-ball 52, while McNeill fired two sixes and three fours in an equally entertaining knock of 46.
Both were dislodged by Alex King (3-60 in 13 overs), who also had Peter Vladev caught. But any fears of jitters in the home dressing-room were soon quelled by man-of-the-match Weightman, who proved he is as handy with the bat as he is with the ball, guiding his team to their target by the 33rd over with an unbeaten 36 (five fours) in an unbroken fifth-wicket stand of 40 with Richard Harris (23no, three fours).
PROMOTION-chasing Kimberley 2nd also fell to Clifton Village opposition in Division B of the Gunn And Moore South Notts League. A second-wicket stand of 105 between Bobby Chaudry (61) and Andy Layton (46) helped them post 197-8. But from 133-7, Clifton 2nd recovered to edge home by two wickets.
BEN Crouch’s maiden century, a mammoth 181 (ten sixes and 16 fours), powered Kimberley 3rd to a huge total of 319-4, and an 88-run win, against leaders Burton Joyce in Division F of the Gunn And Moore South Notts League.