Kimberley Institute clung on to claim a draw at home to Ordsall Bridon on Saturday in a game where they were made to rue several dropped catches.
A wet week and some pre-match showers reduced the game to 46 overs apiece, but despite being in a strong position chasing Bridon’s 204, Kimberley ended up with just one wicket standing and a draw confirmed.
Alex King won the toss and on a greenish pitch had no hesitation in putting the visitors in, but he didn’t get any early rewards as openers Van Den Heuvel (75) and Long (37) ground out a stand of 85 for the first wicket.
Long was dropped off a skier when on 17 and it was only when Dominic Wheatley (2-60) had Long caught by Alex Aldred in the gully in the 23rd over that Kimberley had a wicket.
Kimberley gradually worked through the middle-order after this as Wheatley picked up another in an impressive spell and King (5-60) was a welcome wicket-taker as Bridon were 125-3 in the 34th over.
Three overs later King thought he had Van Den Heuvel when on 53, but a rare drop from George Bacon, as he charged in from the boundary, gave the opposition skipper a life and the chance to add 22 more runs.
King did strike again as Munir (17) picked out Wheatley and Bacon’s (1-21) return spelled the end for Appleyard as he was caught and bowled.
A blast from Amir Ahmed (25) pushed Bridon towards 200 in the final overs, but with he, Van Den Heuvel and Brice all falling to King the skipper had a deserved 5-for and Bridon finished on 204-8.
Kimberley’s reply had a bad start as Sam Johnson edged behind in the first over and and a boisterous field greeted Tom Rowe (65) as he strode out to bat.
It was a tight first six overs, but suddenly Rowe hit the accelerator as he drove his way to a 36 ball half-century and 77 runs came inside eight overs.
Shaun Levy (23) proved a useful foil as Rowe marched on and smashed Ahmed (4-56) in the direction of Kimberley High Street.
Bridon’s balloon seemed punctured as Rowe was unstoppable; that was until a run-out scuppered his progress. Driving into the gap there was a clear single but Levy didn’t budge and Rowe’s scintillating innings was brought to an unfortunate close.
At 90-2 Kimberley were still in the driver’s seat and way ahead of the run-rate, but an excellent spell of bowling from Long (10-5-15-1) helped to dry up the runs and with that came collapse as Kimberley fell to 120-5.
Levy played Long onto his stumps, Dominic Brown (14) needlessly ran himself out and when Aldred was cleaned up by Ahmed Bridon were right back in the game.
Bacon (29) and King (13) stopped the rot with a stand of 24, but King then skied Liam Andrews (1-58) and was easily caught by Munir.
Another stand of 40 between Bacon and Wheatley (25) seemed to be taking Kimberley home as 23 were needed off the last three, but Wheatley picked out Munir again and Gary Andrews (1-25) had brought the game back into Bridon’s favour.
Still 20 off two were required and Bacon on strike gave Kimberley a fighting chance, but that was snuffed out when he hit a full toss to Long on the mid-wicket boundary and the game went for Kimberley.
They were left with a nervy last over when Harry Ratcliffe fell to Ahmed, but Chris Glover’s defences proved sturdy and Kimberley picked up eight points from the game.
With both the 2nd XI and 3rd XI’s fixtures falling victims to the rain, the only other game of the day was the 4th XI’s trip to play Lenton & Willoughby 2nd XI where they came away with a five wicket win.
The hosts made 114-8, Rich Kelley with three wickets and Andy Crouch and Adam Majid two apiece. Kimberley earned victory in the 32nd over despite being 45-4 at one point, Charlie Walters top scorer on 32 not out.
Sunday saw the 1st XI advance into the next round of the National Cup as the comfortably beat Plumtree by 115 runs.
Batting first Kimberley posted 232-7 from their 45 overs with Tom Rowe (90) in scintillating form once more.
He added 159 for the second wicket alongside Shaun Levy (74) as they tore into an inexperienced Plumtree attack.
It was also an inexperienced batting unit and once the top three had gone with the score at 44-3 the visitors crumbled to 117 all out.
Rowe turned in a fine all-round performance with three wickets and the Dominics, Wheatley and Brown, picked up a brace each.
Kimberley play West Indian Cavaliers in the next round.