Jubilant Kimberley complete double over league champions

Man-of-the-match Dominic Brown, who fired an unbeaten 101 in Kimberley's victory.
Man-of-the-match Dominic Brown, who fired an unbeaten 101 in Kimberley's victory.

Jubilant Kimberley recorded their first-ever Notts Premier League (NPL) double over reigning champions Cuckney to lay down a concrete statement of intent in the title race.

An unbeaten century by Dominic Brown steered Kimberley to a superb victory by 103 runs, which cemented second place in the table, just two points behind leaders Cavaliers and Carrington.

Cuckney remain third, but are now 18 points adrift of Alex King’s troops, with eight games remaining, starting with a home match against Caythorpe on Saturday.

King opted to bat first and saw his side march to a formidable total of 263-8 in their allotted 50 overs, with the tone being set by Tom Rowe (23) dispatching the second ball of the innings for six.

George Bacon (18) and Somair Chaudry (30) took a more sedate approach and after the introduction of Jake Tong (2-17) into the Cuckney attack, it could be arguded that the hosts were on top when Kimberley slipped to 67-3 and then 102-5.

But with the innings in danger of unravelling, Brown stepped up to the plate and a fine stand with Dominic Wheatley (35) wrestled the game back in Kimberley’s favour.

As Brown moved to his half-century in the 41st over, the pair began to raise the tempo and although Wheatley was caught at long-off, swiftly followed by Mikey Millwood for a duck, leaving the score 189-7, Brown was in no mood to surrender.

He found a willing ally in captain King (37), and the pair fired 73 in the final six overs. Brown (101no, two sixes and 11 fours) completed his third NPL century in the last over, with his second 50 coming off just 28 balls.

Cuckney’s reply began well thanks to opener James Hawley, who hit 56 and shared 79 for the second wicket with Will Butler (34), which eased their side to 97-1 in the 25th over.

It looked like game on, but Kimberley made the vital breakthrough when Zain Ramzan (3-42) captured the key wicket of Hawley, courtesy of an athletic return catch.

The dam duly opened and Cuckney proceeded to lose five wickets for just 20 runs to hand Kimberley full control of the contest.

Man-of-the-match Brown (1-39) cleaned up Butler as he swung across the line, Ramzan claimed two more scalps and then Chris Glover joined the party with fine figures of 3-22.

Dan Wood (20) and Jonathan Ball (17) halted the clutter of wickets, adding 34 largely untroubled runs for the seventh wicket, and it looked as if Cuckney might escape with a losing draw.

But a miscommunication led to Ball being run out as King whipped off the bails from a Martin Weightman throw, and come the final six overs, Kimberley had only one more wicket to get. In fact, they needed only more ball as King saw the umpire’s finger raised to dismiss the home side’s last man, Elliott Bowles.