For a brief period, a very brief period, it looked like the title chase in the NCB Premier League might take a whole new turn on Saturday afternoon.
However, it didn’t last long and Kimberley Institute find themselves in the position of needing just three points from their final two games to seal what would be their second title triumph, and first since 2000.
Playing host to Farnsfield, the Institute invited their guests to bat, and despite a fine 115 from opener James Smith, kept their opponent to a total of 201-6 with the wickets shared amongst five of the six bowlers.
They fell to 63-2 in reply, but Sam Johnson joined Shaun Levy and the pair were untroubled, Levy making an unbeaten 71 and Johnson 90 not out from 82 balls as they added 144 to seal the win with more than nine overs to spare.
Plumtree are now the only side that can prevent Kimberley from taking the league title, but to do so would require a minor miracle, thanks to their defeat at home to the West Indian Cavaliers.
After a rare toss win, Plumtree opted to bowl first and after dismissing the Cavs for 168 would have been happy at tea.
Led by Matt Milnes’ 4-47 the bowlers kept a tight rein on the Cavs, only 42 from Bilal Shafayat threatening to up the target.
Corey Collymore took the wind from Plumtree’s sails with a devastating spell of bowling that saw him grab 5-39 from his 15 overs that included a hat-trick. A pair of run outs followed to reduce Plumtree to 72-7.
Bobby Gamble and Paul White put up some resistance adding 63 for the eighth wicket, but to no avail, Plumtree bowled out 17 short with five overs left.
In the battle for the podium places, Cuckney moved into third spot, three points off Plumtree, after a tight five-run win over Caythorpe.
Cuckney elected to bat first, reaching 156-3 as Luke Thomas featured in a pair of half-century stands, 67 with Adam Burgess (41) for the first wicket and 50 with James Hawley for the third, before he fell for 62.
This precipitated a mini collapse before 39 from Nick Langford steered the Bears to 229-8 from their 50, Martyn Dobson taking 3- 37 and Jim Hindson 3-41.
In reply, Caythorpe started well, as Dobson (41) and Josh Mierkakns (56) added 90 for the second wicket to take the score to 124-1.
However, Ian Parkin (4-66) and former Caythorpe skipper, James Hawley (4-27) kept picking off batsmen, leaving Caythorpe agonisingly short.
Notts Academy have quietly lifted themselves into fourth after a convincing eight-wicket win at home to Clifton Village.
After winning the toss, Ben Kitt reduced the visitors to 21-3. Martin Weightman (52) added 56 with Adam Shepherd and then 55 with Peter Vladev (49) but with them the resistance ended, Kitt’s 4-33 leading the way as Clifton were dismissed for 203.
After his 130 not out last week, Jake Libby was once again the in-form bat. In tandem with Tom Moores (38), he put on 120 for the first wicket and 74 for the second with Anuj Dal to all but win the game. Libby fell two short of back-to-back hundreds, for 98 while Dal finished 41 not out as the win was attained with nine overs in hand.
Radcliffe-on-Trent made sure of their NPL status for next season with a 73-run win at Attenborough.
After being asked to bat first, and despite a rare appearance from Steven Mullaney, they were in trouble at 45-3.
Rob Sutton (73) and Ross Carnelley (41) turned the innings with a partnership of 105 to lead the way to the final total of 235-9, Simon Stanny’s 3-60 leading the bowling attack.
It would be the Mullaney and Muzaffar show in the Attenborough reply, Muzzafar claiming 3-42 and Mullaney 7-40 to dismiss the hosts for 162 with nine overs unused, only a guest appearance from Gurpej Landa with 54 saving the blushes.
The result all but dooms Attenborough to the bottom two.
Ordsall Bridon require just one point from the two remaining matches to be uncatchable from Attenborough’s point of view.
That situation is a result of Ordsall’s six-wicket win at home to Welbeck.
On inviting their guests to bat, Ordsall’s bowlers kept ‘Beck on a tight leash, restricting them to 200-7. Richard Stroh top-scored with 59, backed by 42 from Andrew Parkin-Coates and 36 from Lewis Cameron.
Aqab Ahmed was expensive, his 13 overs going for 80, but he also took three wickets.
At 39-4, Bridon looked in disarray, Richard Stroh and Tom Lungley both grabbing a pair of victims. Liam Andrews and Henry Appleyard took over from there, adding an unbroken 164-run stand, Andrews not out on 91 and Appleyard 82 as the win came in the 45th over.
At The Strand: RADCLIFFE-ON-TRENT (20) 235-9 (R. Sutton 73, R. Carnelley 41; S. Simon 3-60) beat ATTENBOROUGH (5) 162 (G. Landa 54; S. Mullaney 7-40, U. Muzaffar 3-42) by 73 runs.
At Lady Bay: CLIFTON VILLAGE (3) 203 (M. Weightman 52, P. Vladev 49; B. Kitt 4-33) lost to NOTTS ACADEMY (20) 207-2 (J. Libby 98, A. Dal 41*) by eight wickets.
At Langwith Road: CUCKNEY (20) 229-8 (L. Thomas 62, A. Burgess 41; M. Dobson 3-37, J. Hindson 3-41) beat CAYTHORPE (6) 224 (J. Mierkalns 56, M. Dobson 41; J. Hawley 4-27, I. Parkin 4-66) by five runs.
At Kimberley: Farnsfield (3) 201-6 (J. Smith 115) lost to KIMBERLEY INSTITUTE (20) 207-2 (S. Johnson 90*, S. Levy 71*) by eight wickets.
At Plumtree: WEST INDIAN CAVALIERS (20) 168 (B. Shafayat 42; M. Milnes 4-47) beat PLUMTREE (5) 151 (C. Collymore 5-39 inc hat-trick) by 17 runs.
At Ordsall: WELBECK (4) 200-7 (R. Stroh 59, A. Parkin-Coates 42; A. Ahmed 3-80) lost to ORDSALL BRIDON (20) 203-4 (L. Andrews 91, H. Appleyard 82) by six wickets.
Radcliffe-on-Trent v Welbeck, Farnsfield v Plumtree, Clifton Village v Kimberley Institute, Caythorpe v Nottinghamshire Cricket Board Academy, Cuckney v Ordsall Bridon, West Indian Cavaliers v Attenborough.