Title hopes fade further for Kimberley after draw

Kimberley batsman George Bacon
Kimberley batsman George Bacon

A draw at Attenborough saw Kimberley Institute’s title hopes further falter with only one game to go now in this summer’s Nottinghamshire Premier League.

With Kimberley only picking up 16 points, they fell a further four points behind leaders Cuckney and the gap going into Saturday’s final game at home to fifth placed Wollaton now stands at 10 points.

Table-topping Cuckney are away to bottom place and relegated Mansfield Hosiery Mills while second-placed Cavaliers & Carrington are at home to Attenborough.

In Kimberley’s final away day of the season, George Bacon’s fine 104 (126 balls, 9x4 3x6) helped to set a target which proved to be beyond the home side’s reach.

With the toss falling for Attenborough they asked Kimberley to bat and Ben Bhabra (2-74) struck twice early doors to remove Mark Footitt and Tom Rowe and leave Kimberley at 34-2 in the seventh over.

Bacon and Sam Johnson (37) countered with a good stand of 66 for the third wicket and had taken Kimberley to exactly 100 in the 25th over when Johnson was trapped lbw by Louis Kimber (1-45).

Bacon reached his half-century off his 74th ball three overs later when the 113 run partnership between him and Dominic Brown (59 not out) was still nascent, but it grew into a match defining stand and would be the highest of the day.

Having moved to 90 with a single Bacon decided to avoid the ‘nervous 90s’ with two deft flicks for six over fine-leg as his deserved century arrived in the 45th over, although sadly he was out in the next trying to do the same to Suhail Ahmed (2-35) only for the ball to thud into his pads.

Brown went to his half-century off his 65th ball in the next over with a boundary, but lost his new partner Martin Weightman in the 48th over as Ahmed struck again.

Alex King (10 not out) helped him add 21 in the final two overs as Kimberley closed on a healthy 246-5.

Attenborough’s reply had started well with Kimber (19) and ex-Kimberley batsman Paldip Sidhu (25) adding 37 for the opening wicket before Weightman (3-47) found the edge of the latter’s bat and Tim Wheatley took a good catch diving away low to his right in the ninth over.

Kimber followed three overs later when King (2-35) struck with his second ball with Wheatley again taking the catch behind the stumps.

At 47-2 the home side decided to shut up shop as Craig Heiden (51) and Louis Bhabra (34) ground out 80 runs over 25 overs as Kimberley toiled in vain for a much needed breakthrough.

Whilst the partnership did enough to deny Kimberley the win, it also left the home side too much to do late on as the pair began to try and up the tempo only for Weightman to bowl Bhabra with the score at 127 in the 37th over.

Heiden fell four overs later after a gritty half-century with Jon Terry taking a fine low catch in the covers to give Brown (1-20) a wicket, and with skipper Steve Allcoat (21) hitting King straight to Weightman at long-off the home side were 162-5 in the 42nd and their very faint chance of victory had gone.

Ben Bhabra (22 not out) and brother Pete (15) looked to push on to full batting points, but a fratricidal run-out hampered their progress with Terry providing the bullseye throw to remove Pete with the score at 188 in the 46th over.

With Burham Alam giving Rowe catching practice at mid-off to hand Weightman his third wicket, Kimberley had 20 balls to try to claim the last three wickets, but Bhabra and Martin Shoemaker (10 not out) held out as Attenborough closed on 212-7.

A fourth straight win for Kimberley II ensured they will finish in fifth place in Division A as they thrashed Notts Unity Casuals at home by a massive 264 runs.

Batting first, Kimberley posted a mammoth 373-9 with Bobby Chaudry (101, 81 balls 7x4 3x6) starring with his second ton of the season - although there were plenty of supporting roles to aid him.

Bahadur Singh Digwa (44) cracked his runs off just 25 balls and Danny Williams (45) and Adeel Arshad (33) kept up the rapid scoring.

Alex Aldred (75 off just 38 balls) joined Chaudry with the score at 185-4 and they added 127 runs together for the fifth wicket before Chaudry fell with the score on 312.

Adam Majid (23) saw Kimberley past the 350 mark as the Unity Casuals bowler’s continued to take a pounding; Wasim Kareem (3-52) having the most respectable figures.

The away side’s day got even worse after tea as they were skittled for just 109 in the 29th over to round off a dismal display.

Zain Ramzan (3-33) led the wicket-taking with Somair Chaudry (2-6) and Joe Boocker (2-32) each claiming a brace.

Joe Allport (1-11) took the wicket of top scorer Tariq Mahmood (30) and Majid (1-27) finished the innings off.

Kimberley seconds finish their season away at Ellerslie this weekend.