South Notts League
Jack Copley (32) smashed a hook and a pull for two long sixes in a run-a-ball opening partnership of 66 to set the tone for the day.
On his departure, Olly Clayfield (103) and captain Tom Neville (68) increased the rate with some vicious hits which saw them add 74 between overs 20 and 30.
Neville’s innings was strong-arm stuff, with 10 fours and a six. Clayfield’s ton in 89 balls was a beano of cutting, driving and pulling, including the sweetest of on-drives through wide mid-wicket. Their partnership of 131 from 117 balls was a joy for the home support.
Lewis Dann (20 from nine balls) helped to add 33 off the last three overs.
The highlights for Southwell were two brilliant catches. Wayne Rawlings took a superb one-handed effort, running back at mid-off, and Tom Rawcliffe a spectacular diving one at square leg. Zac Ashworth (2-49) was the pick of the bowlers, though Grant McCarthy also worked hard for his two wickets.
Southwell’s openers were out for a combined five runs, which saw Mark Foster (47) and Dave Rimmer (69) to the crease. Rimmer’s knock was a delight with a never-say-die attitude and a laudable sense of aggression. His 10 fours and a six were earned by his grit and executed with aplomb.
After an initial flurry, Foster looked to the points for a draw and securing batting bonus points.
Belvoir’s bowlers were never on top after the 10th over but stuck manfully to their task.
In the end it was a battle for points. Greg Behl’s 32-ball nine got Southwell the fourth batting point, while the return of Fraser Fentem’s pace saw two late wickets secure a second bowling point for Belvoir.
Belvoir 151 all out
West Bridgfordians 154-0
Belvoir’s captain Tom Neville had scored a punchy 56 and was cantering along with Lewis Dann at 116-3 when West Bridgfordians captain Andrew Sharpe turned to his fifth bowler Alex Sheriston (2-22).
His fifth ball bowled Neville and signalled the start of a Belvoir collapse. Seven of Neville’s last eight scoring shots had been fours, mainly through mid-wicket and mid-on, and his second 50 could have come very quickly – Sheriston’s teasing ball saw an end to that hope.
Only the scampering Dann was able to make anything of the bowling with a febrile 37.
Sheriston may have had the crunch moment but first-change Chris Watkins (2-22) bowled well at the start and was supported by two sharp slip catches by the alert John Sheard. However, the best figures (4-45) were returned by Olly Straw in an unchanged spell of 13.4 overs. His contribution was founded on grit and persistence.
West Bridgfordians’ reply was calm and cool in the face of Belvoir’s twin tigers Fraser Fentem and Danny Gibson.
Ben Shaw (25) played some lovely shots until he returned a catch to the nagging James Fellows. At 55-1, there was just a feeling that Belvoir might get on top. But Henry Straw was not to be denied. His dominance was exemplified by one over that went for 12, including two sweetly pulled fours.
Captain Sharp was at the other end feeding the strike and looking steady. Then Belvoir re-introduced Gibson who promptly sent Sharpe back to the clubhouse.
Sheard was quickly LBW to Jack Copley and, against the run-of-play, Straw popped a ball up to mid-off where Neville took a splendid catch diving forwards. Gibson took a third wicket (3-30) and West Bridgfordians were 128 for 5.
However, a highly responsible 25no from Sheriston backed up by Darren Shaw’s very collected 9no saw them home.
Grantham & Melton Association
Grantham lost the toss and had a bowl, getting off to a great start thanks to strike men Joe Peck and Louis Greetham both getting early wickets.
After being 13-2, Emingham skipper Tom Cooper steadied the ship with an important 85.
In reply, Grantham got of to a solid start with Paul Johnson (19) and Stewart Mudie putting on 45 for the first wicket. Charles Wright (37) and Mudie (91) batted brilliantly with a 108-run partnership which put Grantham firmly in the driving seat.
Empingham took a few late wickets but Grantham won fairly comfortably in the end. losing just four wickets.
Belvoir won the toss and elected to bat first on what seemed a batsman’s paradise.
They got off to a great start through Ragless (66), despite being a little fortunate at times. When Hubbard (14) was caught out off the bowling of Culpin (1-32), it brought a determined Ryan Lewis to the crease.
Lewis found the boundaries with ease and, despite a few wickets falling at the other end, managed to hit his maiden century (124no) from only 95 balls to see Belvoir finish up on a very competitive total.
Belvoir started very well with the ball when Fraser Fentem (2-31) trapped Jim Ward LBW for only eight runs. However, this brought Steve Wilson (54) to the crease who, alongside opener Ben Ryder (75), enjoyed a partnership of 102.
The run rate steadily increased but Peter James (1-43) and Matt Harland (1-50) took important wickets to ensure that Woolsthorpe were restricted.
Thorpe Arnold 276-5
Grantham 2nd 78 all out
A young Grantham side lost the toss and were asked to bowl.
A quiet first 10 overs ended with Greg Mihill taking the first wicket, but this heralded the start of an outstanding batting performance by Thorpe Arnold captain Alex Renwick who finished on 171no.
Young bowlers did their best but were despatched to all parts of the ground. There were some great catches by Tim Mihill who supported good bowling by David Langsford and Fergus Myles, but the others gave away too many fours and sixes and containment was not possible.
The home team batsmen started solidly but wickets started to fall steadily. Ian Mihill top scored with an outstanding 31 in testing conditions, but fell to a loss of concentration as the rain started to fall, and Grantham finished second by some distance.