Kimberley Institute are the champions of the Notts Premier League.
Whilst the result - a defeat away at Clifton Village - was not in the script, they gained the required points on the day to make their lead unassailable going into the final game of the season against Caythorpe on Saturday at Newdigate Street.
George Bacon’s second five-wicket haul of the season went a long way towards securing the bowling bonus points that took Kimberley to their second NPL title, before their batting failed them for once in pursuit of Clifton’s 177.
Alex King asked Clifton to bat first upon winning the toss and thus the equation was a simple one; five wickets to gain the two points that would make it impossible for second placed Plumtree to overtake them and seven wickets to make sure of an outright victory, rather than on games won.
They had the perfect start as Jack Blatherwick (1-22) had Scott McNeill caught behind by Harry Ratcliffe in the first over to make it 2-1, but the wait for the next wicket would take another 20 overs as Aitizaz Khan (70) stroked his way to a half-century and added 109 for the second wicket with Richie Harrison (32) before Nelson proved unlucky for the pair in Bacon’s fifth over.
Khan fell first as his adventure finally got the better of him and King took the catch in the covers and then three balls later Harrison’s leg-stump was knocked back to make it 111-3 and Kimberley had their first point chalked off.
The fourth wicket came six overs later as Bacon got the better of Martin Weightman (14) who edged behind to Ratcliffe once more to make it 133-4.
The magic fifth came in the 31st over when Peter Vladev drove the ball straight back to Bacon who took the return catch and then set off on a victory lap before being mobbed by his team-mates in celebration.
Bacon was on hand to claim the sixth and seventh as he trapped Hollingsworth lbw and then beat Walters all ends up to bowl him with the scoreboard now reading 160-7 after 35 overs. That was George’s last act on the wicket-taking front, but his full figures were 15-1-49-6.
Whilst Adam Shepherd (39) had offered some resistance Clifton went into defensive mode when Chris Glover (3-32) had Killingworth caught by Dominic Wheatley in the next over to make it 163-8.
Just 14 more runs came from the next eight overs as the home side looked to bat out the innings, only for Glover to strike twice in the 44th with Ratcliffe in the thick of it again, pulling off two stumpings to leave Clifton all out for 177 and handing Kimberley six extra overs.
Kimberley’s reply was a very much a case of after the Lord Mayor’s show as their usually reliable batting unit - shorn of Tom Rowe this week - failed to fire with Shaun Levy’s 28 being the only double figure score from the top seven as they collapsed from 42-1 to 65-7 over the course of nine overs with Weightman (4-29) and Khan (3-33) doing the damage.
Blatherwick (19) sparkled briefly with Ratcliffe (9), only to hit a full toss from Alamgir Khan (2-7) to the sole fielder behind square.
Enter Ben Savage to entertain with an unbeaten 11 that delighted his team mates only for the fun to stop when Ratcliffe and Glover were out to Khan and Shepherd respectively leaving Kimberley all out for 113, but they were champions nonetheless.
The second XI pulled off a great escape as they won away at Division B winners Hoveringham to beat the drop.
Skipper Luke Tantum asked the home side to bat first and was rewarded with a steady clatter of wickets as Hoveringham were bundled out for 129.
A Sukhdeep Sidhu run-out started the ball rolling and he then took 3-22 with Danny Williams also claiming 3-32, Daniel Blatherwick (2-13) and Blayne Riley (1-27) picking up the other wickets as only Stuart Walton (56) could stick around long enough to make a score.
Kimberley fell to 31-3 in reply and when Williams fell after making 21 and the skipper shortly after Kimberley were staring down the barrel at 58-5.
They were rescued by a 64-run stand between Faraz Khan (36*) and Blatherwick (25) as they gradually chalked off the runs to take Kimberley to within eight runs of victory before the latter fell.
Khan stayed the course though and steered his side home for a vital 20 points.
The win means the seconds finish in sixth place in Division B with just 12 points, and two teams, between themselves and relegated Wollaton.