Kimberley once again failed to chase down a small target as they had to make do with a losing draw at Cuckney on Saturday.
On a sweltering day the home side won the toss and opted, unsurprisingly, to bat first and when the first over went for 12 it seemed an ominous sign of things to come.
Kimberley got a grip on the run-rate though and in turn removed openers Luke Thomas (14) and Adam Burgess (20) as James Mann (2-30) struck in his opening overs having one caught behind and the other dismissed lbw to leave Cuckney 39-2 after 11 overs.
A stand of 35 between Daniel Wood (20) and Nick Langford (22) rebuilt the innings and took the home side into a good position at 71-2 after 23 overs, but then came the spin of Chris Glover (4-30) and Alex King (3-36) to rip through the middle order as Cuckney collapsed to 93-7 over the next 11 overs.
Just as three figures seemed far away for the league leaders, Ian Parkin (18) and Nic Geisler (17) stood firm for the eighth wicket and made the highest stand of the innings with a partnership of 38 that frustrated Kimberley; that was until Glover again made the breakthrough by having Geisler caught behind and with King bowling Parkin next over Cuckney were 131-9 with three overs remaining.
Again though Kimberley were frustrated by a 19-run last wicket stand that took the home side to exactly 150 all out from their 50 overs when the adventurous David France (14) was run out trying for a second run.
Kimberley started well in reply with Dominic Brown (14) hitting several sumptuous cover drives and Sam Ogrizovic (9) followed with one of his own before being out next ball to Lewis Bramley (4-29) who went on to take two more in his next four balls to reduce Kimberley to 30-3 after 11 overs.
A score of 30-3 became 51-6 and then 75-7 as victory slipped away from Kimberley; Bramley claiming another victim, Tom Driver (1-24) gaining one and spinners Parkin (2-38) and France (1-17) chipping in to gut the middle order.
Alongside the clatter of wickets the runs also dried up considerably and no more is this evident than the fact that the fourth boundary of the innings didn’t come until the 33rd over - some 24 overs after the last one.
The real resistance for Kimberley came from King (30*) and Mann (22) as they built a stand of 41 which had even begun to hint at an outside chance of victory, and going into the last five needing 39 it was certainly possible; that was until Mann looked to hit Parkin over the fence and he mistimed a shot to the long boundary and was caught by Driver which meant it was effectively game over and Kimberley held out for the draw and 6pts.
It was a frustrating day for the 2nd XI as they slipped to a three wicket defeat at home to league leaders Belvoir.
Opting to bat first, Vaughan Hamilton (30) and Jon Terry (44) got the innings off to a solid start with a stand of 64 for the first wicket, but when the former fell a steady fall of wickets followed as Kimberley could not capitalise on the good start and were all out in the final over for 172 with Jack Blatherwick (41) the only other player to pass 20, but he too could not kick on and make a half-century.
It was Blatherwick again who made the early breakthrough and then again to remove Neville (23) with Belvoir on 45, but the man Kimberley really wanted was James Fellows (89) who struck 11 fours and four sixes on his way to almost seeing his side home.
Captain Steve Bennett (4-24) had worked his way through the middle order to leave the game evenly poised at 137-6, but Fellows kept going and Belvoir were only three runs short of victory when Liam Webb finally removed him caught and bowled and the victory came in the 38th over.
The run chase was also helped considerably by the 35 extras conceded with 23 of those wides.
Elsewhere the 3rd XI lost their top of the table clash with Plumtree’s 3rd XI by three wickets, Danny Williams (75) and Max Sugarman (52) both scoring well, whilst the 4th XI recorded the only win of the day with a 41 run victory over Belvoir’s 3rd XI, Michael Blatherwick hitting 92.