Kimberley’s first XI finally recorded their first win of the season on Saturday - and followed it up with a winning draw on Monday.
On Saturday’s trip to Wollaton they had Akhil Patel to thank, as his outstanding innings of 128 was the catalyst to a seven-wicket victory.
Kimberley would no doubt have been disappointed at having to chase 225 to win though after having reduced the home team to 31-5 after ten overs.
Matt Wright (4-43) and Richard Adams (3-63) were the architects of Wollaton’s top order downfall as they got the ball to talk and the batsmen to walk – slowly back to the pavilion.
Captain Sam Ogrizovic was in business behind the stumps as he snaffled three catches and was watching on as both bowlers also broke the wickets as some poor shot selection created the prospect of a very early finish.
Wollaton fought back though as Alex King (40) and wicket-keeper James Godrich (47) hauled them back into the game with a spirited sixth-wicket stand of 97 which was not without its fair share of luck and a helping hand from extras (41).
Kimberley brought things back under control with Wright breaking the partnership by bowling Godrich and with Jimmy Adams eventually trapping King lbw the home team were back under the cosh with the scoreboard reading 139-7 in the 34th over.
The tail wagged though as Josh Bembridge (47) and Ben Savage (25) showed the top order how to play with a frustratingly dogged stand of 61 leaving the final score at 224-9.
Kimberley needed a solid start and they got one as Dan Birch (20) and Patel added 51 for the first wicket before Birch was brilliantly caught by the diving cover fielder who clung on to a ball that was travelling at some speed.
It was nearly two down as Patel, on 24, edged behind, but the diving keeper spilled it to hand him a life and was left to wonder how much the drop would cost.
It was 104 to be exact as Patel took the lead in a match-winning stand of 159 with Ogrizovic (41) showcasing shots all-round the wicket including a fearsome sweep which brought up his half-century off his 58th delivery and, with a scampered two, his century off his 110th.
The captain played his part too as he took on the role of the rock, the oak not to be wind-shaken with a gritty innings that was the perfect foil to Patel’s aggression.
With his century reached and Patel loosened his shoulders with some more delightful shots and took the total to 210 before Ben Savage (2-63) spoiled Kimberley’s jubilation by bowling him and then having Ogrizovic caught at slip with nine still needed.
There were no further hiccups though as victory came in the 44th over with a boundary and Kimberley claiming all 20pts..
l Bank Holiday Monday saw a cracking game of cricket at Newdigate Street with Kimberley Institute edging a winning draw in a tight and well-fought contest against visiting Mansfield Hosiery Mills.
After a top order collapse they were indebted to an unbeaten maiden NPL century (100, 104 balls 10x4, 4x6) from Paul Riley to set a defendable target and thanks to a sterling effort in the field where bodies were put on the line they held their nerve in the final overs to claim the bigger share of the honours.
Opting to bat first, Kimberley were in reasonable shape at 42-1 in the tenth over before the captain ran himself out and a tumble of wickets ensued over the next seven overs with Matt New (2-55), Keshara Jayasinghe (2-69) and Kyle Garside (1-62) doing the damage with Akhil Patel (32) the only man to make it into double figures.
The Millers were certainly cock-a-hoop when Jon Terry misjudged a straight to ball and left it to clatter into his off-stump and the scoreboard read 62-5 in the 17t,h and the game of cricket must have felt like living the life of Riley for the visitors; that is until they encountered the man himself.
Riley was watchful at first as he added 45 with the determined Paldip Sidhu (20) before the latter edged Sudesh Fernando (1-40) behind leaving the score at 107-6 in the 30th over.
The lower-order continued to show some mettle though as Dominic Brown (16) contributed to a 48-run stand and seemed to be finding his feet with a lusty blow for six until he was adjudged lbw with the score at 155-7 in the 41st over.
Just before this Riley had reached his half-century off his 75th delivery to warm applause, but it was his second fifty that really rescued the innings, coming as it did in just 29 balls.
The Millers’ bowling seemed to have no answer to him as he dabbed singles and smashed boundaries with the spokes on his wagon-wheel ever-increasing and with the industrious Dominic Wheatley (23*) 75 valuable runs came in the final overs.
With the 50th over arriving Riley was on 84 and a century seemed improbable, but not impossible. Wheatley nudged a single and then Riley let fly, as a six and a four left him needing six off the last ball and he duly obliged with a tremendous pull to deep-square leg that brought rapturous applause and with the scoreboard reading 230-7 Kimberley had a total to defend.
Defence was the mentality of the Millers’ openers Gareth Curtis (70) and Rob Townsend as, in the face of some tight lines from Matt Wright and Wheatley (1-45), they crept to just 15 in the tenth over before Wheatley trapped Townsend lbw. The in-form Tom New (65), averaging just over a hundred going into the game, joined Curtis and they built a stand of 136 which probably should have taken the game away from Kimberley, but it hadn’t.
With the scoreboard reading 150-1 in the 39th the game turned with Curtis being run-out by superb piece of fielding by Dom Brown and with Tom New hitting Patel (2-64) straight down the throat of the irrepressible Riley the very next over it was now 157-3 and the run-rate began ticking upwards.
Fernando (42) and Matt New (12) added 35 before Patel had the latter dismissed lbw off the last ball of his spell; 192-4 in the 46th.
But with Wright and Patel bowled out it was left to Richard ‘Jimmy’ Adams (2-35) and Dom Wheatley to see Kimberley home and they did, just. A total of 22 runs came off overs 48 and 49, but perhaps more importantly two wickets fell with Terry and Wheatley combining to run Jayasinghe out and with James Fraser finding Riley again on the boundary off Adams it left eight runs needed for victory off the last over to be bowled by Adams.
A single first ball was followed by the priceless wicket of Fernando who had his stumps splayed trying to smash the ball out of the ground and with a dot and two more singles coming only a six could win it and Adams wasn’t going to oblige.
The batsman could only muster a single and Kimberley could breathe a sigh of relief as they gained a winning draw and 17pts from a great game.
With a quarter of the season gone the 37pts from the weekend’s matches means that Kimberley find themselves in mid-table, but with all still to play for.