Kimberley Institute finally recorded their first league win of the season on Saturday after chasing down Plumtree’s 270 with six wickets in hand.
Dominic Brown led the chase with a superb maiden NPL century, hitting 121 including 15 fours and six sixes.
Plumtree were without several members of their bowling attack, but had a strong batting unit on show and, after Alex King asked them to bat first, they were 67-1 after ten overs with only Sam Storey back in the hutch after he mistimed Jack Blatherwick to Alex Aldred at square leg after a stand of exactly 50 with Hassan Azad (108*).
Azad held together the Plumtree innings with his 141-ball century and shared in another good stand, this time with Ben Milnes (43) for the second wicket.
The introduction of the luckless Ben Savage and King himself (3-53) managed to stop the run-rate climbing ever higher and it was King who broke through in the 29th over when Milnes offered a leading edge to Aldred at mid-on. With the score now at 142-2 it still seemed Plumtree were on course for 300 plus.
The arrival of Joe Tetley (56) kept the momentum going for the Plumdogs as he led the way in a stand of 87 for the third wicket before the return of George Bacon (2-70) saw him holing out to Dom Wheatley on the long-off boundary in the 44th over.
The fall of three more batsmen (via a catch from Shaun Levy and two stumpings by Harry Ratcliffe) in the following overs meant the scoring rate was checked and the risk aversion of Azad didn’t help either.
The fact he only scored two boundaries in the final 20 overs could go some way to explaining why Plumtree finished on 270 rather than closer to the 300 mark.
Even if Plumtree were light on the bowling front, Kimberley still had to navigate the new ball and Levy (16) and Sam Johnson (13) had made it into the ninth over unscathed before a mid-pitch mix up saw Levy run out with the score on 27.
Tom Rowe (70) strode out and elegantly stroked his first two balls for four to pick up where he left off last week, but with Johnson falling in the 12th over – caught & bowled by Glen Read (1-39) – 271 seemed a long way off still at 43-2.
Enter Brown and with a tremendous six off Matt Milnes (1-118), it was a sign of the onslaught to come.
Both he and Rowe tucked into the hapless debutant Craig Miles and took the attack to the previously miserly Read as 70 runs came inside the next ten overs and when drinks came at 25 overs Kimberley were almost halfway to their target at 134-2.
With both reaching deserved half-centuries (Brown 46 balls, Rowe 52) it was now a case of who would reach three figures first; with Rowe intelligently giving Brown the strike it was clear it would be the latter as he kept finding the boundary and, on six occasions dispatched the ball over it as Azad was brutally swept in the direction of Noel Street.
After amassing a fine stand of 163 together Rowe holed out to Ben Milnes at deep mid-wicket off youngster Albert Carter (1-42) to leave the score at 207-3. His innings had been classy, if understated and his runs came off just 72 balls.
Aldred (3) came and went as he gave Milnes his only wicket on a toilsome afternoon, but Kimberley’s attention quickly shifted to Brown’s century as a single off his 81st ball took him to three figures; it was an innings that combined stylish drives with brutal pulls and sweeps, but most of all it showed a maturing batsman.
With 60 runs still needed however Kimberley still had work to do, and Bacon (38*) was determined to do it quickly as he made Milnes’ day even worse and gave the onside boundary a peppering.
It was Brown though who hit the winning runs as he smacked Sam Storey’s only delivery for four and secured a welcome 20 points.
Elsewhere the 2nd XI recorded their first win of the season away at Eastwood.
Batting first, half-centuries from Chris Glover (53) and Danny Williams (52) and a late blast from Connor Richardson (38*) helped them post 243-8.
Ben Crouch’s (3-16) opening spell then helped to reduce Eastwood to 48-4 and the steady clatter of wickets thereafter meant Eastwood were all out in the 40th over for 125. Glover and Joe Allport claimed two wickets each.
The 3rd and 4th XIs both suffered reverses; the thirds narrowly by one wicket and the fourths by four wickets.