Kimberley were left battered and bruised as they clung on for draw against Plumtree at the 2bm ground, a result which leaves them still uncertain of NPL safety.
In truth, Kimberley were perhaps a little disorientated before the start of the game with several changes taking place in the side.
Captain Sam Ogrizovic was on holiday and his replacement wicket keeper Harry Ratcliffe and bowler Atif Sheikh were injured. In came Alex Aldred, Liam Webb and the returning James Mann with Bharat Popli donning the wicket-keeper’s gloves and Chris Glover taking the reigns as captain.
His first act was to win the toss and he opted to bowl first; a decision that backfired somewhat as Plumtree racked up a mammoth 310-4 from their 50 overs.
Brothers Sam (98) and Ben (99) Storey were the architects as they added an untroubled 197 for the first wicket; a partnership that felt like the never ending Storey until Alex King (2-96) had Ben caught at cover by Aldred off a leading edge to deny him a deserved century in the 34th over.
Kimberley suddenly sprang to life as South African David Bedingham was out next ball lbw to King and with Sam Johnson (1-57) having Sam Storey caught in the gully two short of his century in the 37th over by King the score was 205-3.
With Matt Wood (15) out to Glover (1-56) – caught by the ubiquitous King at long-off – the score was 230-4 in the 42nd, but then came the assault by Plumtree skipper Ben Thompson as he smashed the bowling to all parts in and scored an unbeaten 84 off just 51 balls to see his side past 300 as they went to tea well satisfied.
Kimberley lost Paldip Sidhu (5) early on when he edged Thompson (4-41) behind to keeper Jospeh Tetley, but the ageless Jon Terry (23) and Popli (34) took the attack to Plumtree as they added 40 inside eight overs before the latter top-edged a pull-shot and was well held by Tetley to hand Thompson his second wicket with the score on 59 in the 14th over.
Terry followed two overs later and with three down and 63 on the board it was now a backs to the wall job and Johnson (58*) led the rear-guard action with a determined and very restrained innings to keep Plumtree at bay.
The visitors though kept opening up the other end though as Dominic Wheatley (12), Mann (2) and Dominic Brown (14) all fell as Kimberley stuttered to 129-6 in the 36th over with Thompson picking up his fourth victim and Moshin Qayyum (2-43) claiming the other two.
King (21) helped Johnson to see out 12 overs and add 54 runs for the seventh wicket before he played Muhammed Usman (1-13) onto his stumps with 14 balls remaining. Aldred (4*) was unflustered as he played out six balls and Johnson made sure the final over was uneventful to see Kimberley to the draw.
The seconds finally confirmed their Division B status in their final match when Sukhdeep Sidhu (2-29) took the third wicket in Attenborough’s innings to secure the point that was needed, the hosts winning by 52 runs.
After putting Attenborough in Kimberley restricted the champions to 188-7 with Ben Crouch (3-26) starring with the ball and Elliot Bowles and Steve Bennett also chipping in. Callum Taylor (63) top scored for the visitors.
Kimberley were two wickets down with just five on the board. Bowles (22) and Ben Savage (32) added 39 for the third to get Kimberley back into the game before the latter fell with the score on 43.
A further 21 runs were added before Savage and Danny Williams (8) fell within four runs of each other and from then on it was a case of whether Kimberley could hold out for the draw or not.
Mick Blatherwick (28) did his best and with Krutarth Dave (15) added 46 for the seventh wicket before they fell within a run of each other and when the final two wickets fell Attenborough had won the game in the 41st over with Peter Bateman (3-36) the pick of the bowlers.
Division H champions Kimberley third XI beat Plumtree by 61 runs.
Batting first, a 62-run Kimberley partnership ended when Ben Millington was bowled by Sumner for 18, closely followed by Captain Paul Taylor for a brisk 37. This was a good platform for the rest of the order to progress to 310 all out, Tim Wheatley hitting 57 and Joe Allport 78.
With 64 runs for their first wicket Plumtree progressed to 177-3 by the 30th over, but Ben Millington removed Paul Kelly for 109 and a flurry of late wickets saw the innings end on 249-9, Allport with two wickets and four catches.
The fourth XI signed off in style with a comfortable 93-run win over Stapleford with John Aldred making a sparkling 107 which included 17 fours.
Luke Tantum (51) finished his fabulous season with the bat with another half-century and Rich Kelley (42) and Tom Boyden (25) helped Kimberley to 253-7 from their 45 overs.
Stapleford were never really in the hunt in reply as Tom Boyden (1-33) struck without a run on the board.
Kelley (4-38) worked his way through the top order with Liam Hodgkinson (1-29) grabbing one and the captain himself claiming 2-11 as the home side finished up on 160-8.