Kimberley Institute extended their unbeaten run to six league games as they climbed into second place in the NPL after getting the better of leaders Plumtree on their home patch.
The 17 points gained narrows the gap at the top to just four points as the home straight comes into view.
Alex King called correctly at the toss and opted to bat on what looked a slow wicket and openers Shaun Levy (44) and the returning Alex Aldred (13) had to be very patient against the probing Nathan Rimmington (2-57) and the miserly Glen Read (1-12) in the early part of the innings.
This was demonstrated by the 36 runs they added for the first wicket, taking nearly 17 overs before Aldred’s mistimed drive found Matt Wood at mid-on and Read had his 34th wicket of the season.
Despite having seven overs left, Read was never to return to the attack and with the arrival of Tom Rowe (49) the runs began to come a little quicker as he scored at nearly a run-a-ball and had the lion’s share of the 69 runs added for the second wicket.
With Levy starting to up his tempo slightly Kimberley were well placed at 105-1 in the 29th over, before Rimmington’s return to the attack saw the end of Levy as he mistimed a leg-side drive and it fell kindly to Wood again.
Rowe maintained the momentum though and it seemed that his six
th half-century of the season would be a formality, that was until he fell one short after being bowled by Rimmington with the score on 136 in the 35th over. With Sam Johnson and Dominic Wheatley falling quickly after – both caught behind via Matt Milnes (3-74) Kimberley were in danger of undoing there good work as they slipped to 150-5 in the 38th over.
Dominic Brown came to the fore though with an attacking, unbeaten 55 off just 44 balls, as he struck five fours and two big sixes that went over the hedge which pushed Kimberley up to a healthy 242-6 at the close.
George Bacon (14) helped him to add 30 for the fifth wicket and skipper King weighed in with a useful 24 not out as they added 62 runs together in the final six overs to give Kimberley momentum going into Plumtree’s reply.
Like Kimberley, Plumtree’s openers Azad (34) and Sam Storey (14) were watchful against the probing spells of Ben Savage and Brown with the new ball, although Kimberley had to wait for Bacon’s first over before they got a welcome breakthrough as Storey was bowled with the score on 40 in the 14th over.
With Bacon bowling tidily (15-1-51-2) Plumtree looked to try and boost the run-rate, but when Azad attempted a risky second in Chris Glover’s (4-62) first over he was run-out via a bullet through from Johnson and Jon Terry’s quick work in removing the bails; 65-2 after 20.
The resumption of play after drinks brought the third wicket as keeper Joe Tetley (12) was clean bowled again by Bacon to make it 90-3 and the game seemed to be shifting in Kimberley’s favour.
One factor that helped was that they kept breaking promising partnerships and much of this was thanks to Glover who, whilst not having his most economical game, kept picking up important wickets.
Wood (23) perished as the went after the slow-left armer only to find Rowe at Long-on, Rimmington was beaten by turn and trapped lbw and with Milnes, caught by Brown, being quickly followed by Ben Storey (49), caught by Terry behind the stumps, the game was up for Plumtree as they found themselves at 171-7 in the 43rd over.
Unfortunately Kimberley couldn’t make another breakthrough and Plumtree held out for the draw in the closing overs, Bobby Gamble (33*) helping to push them to another batting point as they closed on 212-7.
Kimberley host struggling Attenborough next Saturday.
The first XI claimed their first silverware in 15 years as they clinched the NPL T20 trophy on Sunday in a dramatic bowl out against the West Indian Cavaliers.
The Cavs had moved into the final after beating Farnsfield in shortened game, but Kimberley’s game with Wollaton never got close to starting as the rain moved in.
Thus it went to a bowl out which Kimberley won 3-2 thanks to Dom Wheatley and Chris Glover (twice).
The final took place shortly after with Kimberley this time winning 4-1.
After Corey Collymore had made it 1-0 with his first ball, George Bacon produced two hits and Dom Brown one to make it 3-1.
With the Cavs bowlers failing to find the target after that Glover just needed to hit once to seal the trophy and he did at the second attempt.
The 2nd XI lost by ten wickets at Hoveringham despite posting a decent 260-6 with Danny Williams (71) top scoring.
But former Kimberley skipper Sam Ogrizovic (140*) and fellow opener Ben Lee (87*) proved unbeateable as Hoveringham reached their target in the 36th over.
The 3rd XI notched up a third straight win as they beat Bingham by seven wickets.
The home side were bowled out 150 Zain Ramzan with 3-53 and James Griffiths 4-20.
Tim Wheatley cracked 47 in reply and Matt Ross made 32 before Griffiths (18*) and Tom Entwisle (14*) saw Kimberley to victory.
The 4th XI lost narrowly in their home match with Underwood having bowled them out for 197, James Foster taking 3-32.
Kimberley were bowled out five runs short of victory, Connor Richardson hitting 64.