Eastwood Town’s nightmare start to the 2011 season continued as a fantastic 169-run opening partnership between James Taylor and Richard Harrison helped Clifton seal an emphatic seven-wicket victory.
Earlier in the day Eastwood had set Clifton a below par 198 in a match reduced slightly to 45 overs due to a downpour shortly before the start of play.
Eastwood had to open up their innings in overcast conditions and this may have contributed to their shaky start, losing Adam Leigh for a duck and Jason Wooliscroft nicking a ball for six to wicketkeeper Richard Harrison, who would go on to claim four victims behind the stumps.
Eastwood managed to rebuild their innings due to a pair of 40s from Adam Smith and captain Neil Gregory.
The pair managed to share a useful 63-run partnership for the third wicket which took Eastwood to the halfway point of their innings, before Smith departed, bowled by Craig Fairhall for 46.
Gregory managed to bat much deeper into the overs for his 43, but the fact he didn’t go on to post a big score when he was in good nick led to Eastwood’s middle order stuttering through the final ten overs, as they were all forced to bat aggressively with no chance for them to get set at the crease.
In the end Eastwood were thankful for Mark Smith who added an unbeaten 35 from 32 balls to help them to their final total of 198.
Clifton started off their reply at a blistering pace, adding an incredible 58 from their first six overs as Taylor and Harrison took apart Eastwood’s opening bowlers.
This completely demoralised Eastwood and the rest of the innings was almost a complete procession as Clifton cruised along at six an over towards their target.
The only thing Eastwood could try and do was change their bowlers around, and the re-introduction of Hitesh Godhaniya into the attack led to Eastwood finally claiming their first wicket with the score on 169, Taylor departing for a magnificent 83.
Godhaniya took two more wickets in quick succession, but Harrison saw Clifton home with an unbeaten 78.
The loss sees Eastwood remain rock bottom and they host Long Eaton next weekend.
Eastwood’s second team, by contrast, are having a fantastic season and continued their winning start with a six wicket victory over Beeston & Toton Sycamore.
Stand-in skipper Dave Summers won the toss for Eastwood and asked Beeston to bat first.
Beeston lost wickets steadily throughout their innings, with Dwayne Buckley taking three wickets at the top of the order and Shaun Stocks prizing out three middle order scalps, but a few ‘bits and pieces’ partnerships and 20s for Glen Morley, Tom Fullwood, Dennis Burrell and veteran Dave Fawcett helped Beeston post a creditable 165 from their 45 overs.
In the end Eastwood were disappointed to allow Burrell and Fawcett to contribute an unbeaten 40-run stand for the ninth wicket otherwise their day could have been a lot easier.
Keeping batsmen in the pavilion was always going to be the key to a successful chase for Eastwood, and despite a shaky start during which a number of catching chances were put down by Beeston fielders, Eastwood’s openers soon started to flourish against the Beeston bowling attack.
Stuart Hill managed 22 runs before being dismissed and Stocks 32 as Eastwood passed the halfway stage 80 for 2.
A patient 39 by Tony Coupe helped to ensure Eastwood got close to their target, and some quick runs from Mick Cook (26) and Buckley (25) ensured that Eastwood knocked off their total with four overs to spare and a 19-point victory in the process.
The win sees Eastwood remain just behind Kinoulton in the Division F table.