Preview of Matches in Round 10 of Matches – Saturday 16th May 2012With the halfway point in the season rapidly approaching, many sides in the Nottinghamshire Premier League are looking to build a realistic attempt on the championship title or ensure that they retain their elite level status in the coming years.
The top two sides meet looking to build on impressive starts to the season but both having had recent blips in form; the Nottinghamshire Academy also travel to Cuckney looking to avenge their somewhat one-sided defeat in Twenty20 Cup last Sunday. The County side also suffered a losing draw the previous day at home to Caythorpe so will look to in-form Hassan Azad (294 runs) and Scott Elstone (273) to build a big innings against the best-performing bowling attack in the league. Cuckney won their first four straight games and have since won only one in the last four but have three bowlers in the top five in the league in Luke Wood, Richard Stroh and Will Butler.
Third placed West Indian Cavaliers welcome Welbeck to Birchover Park looking to maintain their form which has seen them secure four wins and a winning draw so far; Ricaldo Anderson has leapt into the top ten league bowlers after his figures of 7 wickets for 9 runs in the recent five wicket win over Clifton and Rawait Khan has scored 187 runs at an average of nearly 47 per innings. Welbeck are out of the relegation zone after a poor start to the season but have won their last two matches; a 159 run victory over bottom club Worksop and a more surprising 6 wicket win over Clifton last weekend. There’s little doubt who their star performer is thus far – Aussie paceman Kyle Francis is the league’s outstanding bowler this year with 24 wickets at an average of 12.71. Martyn Dobson is coming into some fine form with the bat after 96 against Worksop and 89 not out in the Clifton game.
Caythorpe are climbing the table after an inconsistent start and will be keen to add another win when they host a Wollaton side who have slipped into the bottom two replacing Welbeck. The home side have recorded wins against Kimberley and Cuckney and nearly recorded a third last weekend against the Academy who hung on for a draw when eight wickets down. Usman Muzaffar was the star of that show scoring a valuable 22* to help register a competitive target which he followed up with figures of 4-38 as he ripped out the County side’s middle order. Visitors Wollaton have lost more games (5) than any side in the League and in their last three games have recorded two losses and a losing draw. Skipper Tim Young has 273 runs including 3 fifties and Dominic Reed and Alex King are both in wicket-taking form but they have yet to string together sufficient individual performances to find a consistent winning habit.
Mansfield Hosiery Mills are having a good season and currently sit in fourth and this weekend they travel to Papplewick who are in ninth. The home side have a single win to their name and since that win away at Plumtree they have lost three and drawn two. They will have been heartened though by their most recent outing when they got within a wicket of a win against Wollaton and Mark Nelson found a rich batting seam in that game with 119 at the top of the order. But their bowling must be a concern with Dane Straw standing out with 16 wickets and only Bradley Matthews (10) also in double figures for the season to date. The Millers need to kick on if they are to remain in the top half of the table but they seem to have become the draw specialists with only one win in their last four games. The New brothers are dominating the stats with Tom leading the league with 468 runs and Matt’s 12 wickets coming at exactly 18 runs each.
Kimberley welcome Clifton to the Private Ground hoping to continue the upward trend of their recent form; since losing to Cuckney in mid-May, they have drawn with the Academy and Mansfield and beaten Wollaton. Paul Riley is leading their batsmen with 256 runs including an unbeaten 100 in the drawn match with Mansfield; Dan Birch is having a relatively quiet first season for Kimberley, averaging only 27 but he will need little motivation to score heavily against his former side. Clifton are having an unfamiliar stop-start season with three wins and three losses and they will be keen to avoid suffering three losses in a row after recent reverses against the Cavaliers and Welbeck. They will also remember their 7-wicket win in the corresponding fixture last year, which included an unbeaten stand of 124 between Liam Andrews and Martin Weightman that won the game.
The final game of the day sees a clash between the two sides promoted last season when Plumtree welcome Worksop; the home side have had much the better season so far with wins against Caythorpe, Cuckney and Wollaton and they sit sixth in the table. Their bowling has been their strength this season with good performances from Wasim Rana and Mohsin Qayyum but their batting has been brittle at times; this match should see the debut for Plumtree of Nottinghamshire’s Neil Edwards who they will hope will bring more stability to the upper order. Worksop are the only side in the league awaiting their first win and skipper Luke Ambrose will need an all-round performance from the batting and bowling units if they are to break their duck at Plumtree this week.