The final weekend of July found Kimberley welcoming Premier League leaders Clifton Village to Newdigate Street and, true to form, Clifton showed why they are topping the table as they completed a crushing seven wicket victory.
The visitors won the toss and inserted Kimberley and never looked back as they reduced the home team to 50-6 in the 15th over; although that was effectively 50-7 with opener Alex Robinson having to visit the QMC after being felled by an Adam Shepherd delivery.
It was the pacey Shepherd (4-57) combined with Tom Lungley (3-47) who did all the damage to the top-order and it seemed that Kimberley would be completely blown away.
The tail wagged though and in total added 126 runs to gain two batting points and give the bowlers something to work with.
James Mann (39) led the resistance with punchy knock that contained four fours and two big sixes and together with Dominic Brown (27) compiled an impressive 63-run stand.
Mann’s inning was ended when he played Daniel Footitt (1-26) onto his stumps and had to depart.
Matt Wright (23) joined Brown and they added 26 more before Brown became Shepherd’s fourth victim with the score at 139-8 in the 34th.
Kimberley were not finished though as Richard Adams (16*), continuing his hot-streak with the bat, added a further 37 with Wright.
It was the spin of Liam Andrews (1-14) that did the trick in the end as Wright fell to him looking for another boundary.
Kimberley’s innings closing on 176 in the 43rd over which was considerably more than had seemed likely at one stage.
When Dan Birch (23) and James Taylor (18) came out attacking the target seemed paltry as they raced to 34 inside the first four overs, but Kimberley hauled themselves back into the game with three quick wickets.
Birch was first to go as Wright (2-34) had him caught behind and three overs later Adams (1-24) clean bowled Taylor.
Nick Langford then pulled off an outstanding catch in the gully to remove captain Richard Harris which handed Wright his second victim and left the score at 55-3 in the 11th.
Kimberley found they had a foot in the door, but they could not exploit the opening as Liam Andrews (69*) and Martin Weightman (55*) soaked up the pressure and gradually inched Clifton towards victory and at the end of the 29th over the scoreboard showed 134-3.
They then exploded in the next four overs as the ball disappeared to all parts in a flurry of boundaries and the remaining runs came quickly with Andrews driving another boundary to seal the victory in the 33rd over and hand Clifton all 20pts.
Mirroring the 1st XI, the 2nd XI also fell to a seven wicket defeat away at Thurgaton.
Asked to bat first Kimberley could only manage to post 141 as they were bowled out in the 47th over.
Ben Johnson (33) and James Griffiths (25) made the only real scores of note and the wickets were shared around the Thurgaton bowlers with Tim Kirkham the pick taking 3-13.
In reply, Thurgaton cantered to victory bringing up the winning runs in the 31st over with Colin Cliff leading the way with 59 not out and James Mitchell (21) offering useful support.
The only victory of the day came at the Basil Russell where the 3rd XI secured a 70-run victory over lowly Basford Hall.
Batting first Kimberley posted an imposing 252-4 off their 45 overs which owed much to a fine 105 by opener Paul Rockley.
Ashley Britten (57) also batted well and Sanat Kulkarni (23*) and Connor Richardson (27*) helped to boost the total in the closing overs.
That Basford got to 182 in reply was largely thanks to 73 from Saunderson and a hefty 38 from extras as their top order consisted of three ducks and only two scores in double figures.
Connor (2-39) and Paul Richardson (1-8) struck first but it was Martyn Stackhouse, continuing his fine form with the ball, and Matt Ross who accounted for the rest of the wickets taking 4-17 and 3-53 respectively.
Away at Flintham the 4th XI also suffered defeat, but by the tightest of margins as they lost by just one run.
Batting first Flintham managed 175-8 from their 45 overs largely thanks to 65 from Neil Howe with the wickets shared around the bowlers.
Kimberley’s reply was dominated by an excellent 43 from 13-year-old Jack Blatherwick but even with his runs they fell just short at the last when needing two off the last ball for victory.