CRICKET: Game played at its best despite defeat for Belvoir
South Notts League
A total of 589 runs! They should have charged admission – not just runs but excitement, elegance and brutality in equal measure.
A sublime off-drive to the boundary characterised a class-ridden innings from Belvoir’s Olly Clayfield, cruelly run out four shy of his century.
He and Captain Lewis Dann (120) added 165 for the fourth wicket in 30 overs, with the latter knocking off a century that had everything from a cautious start, through a busy accumulation of quick singles, to outright attack that saw three big sixes in a flurry of boundaries – his last 70 runs coming from 49 balls. In the latter part of the innings, he was ably supported by a pugnacious Sam Penford (28 at a run-a-ball).
In reply, Ben Buckley rushed to 32 before his opening partner had got off the mark. This included a sequence of four, five and six off successive balls.
Both were reined in somewhat by a fired-up Joe Bottomley and the nagging Andy Dann. But it was Jamie Gilbertson who took the first wicket, bowling Buckley behind his legs for 80.
Matt Dean (49) was snaffled by Danny Wilson off the persistent Bottomley who added a second in his next over when he castled Josh Bembridge. By now, Kimberley needed 141 at more than eight per over.
John Terry (73no) and Danny Williams (34), in a flurry of improvisation, pillaged 52 from 38 balls, reducing the requirement to just under eight per over when Williams was brilliantly caught running up the slope at deep mid-off by Fraser Fentem.
Archie Moore (18) added to the entertainment as two four-run overs were balanced by one at 10 and another at 12. He was bowled by Fentem and there was a crazy run out that brought captain Carl Blake to the wicket.
The required rate is now nine. Blake and Terry plundered 21 from the next two overs before being stifled for by an inexhaustible Bottomley (16-0-79-3). But Terry launched a brace of mighty sixes and Blake thumped a four in the next over.
Fittingly, it was a rampant Terry who clinched the win in the 49th over with three more powerful boundaries.
Bitter disappointment for Belvoir – but not a single one should hang their head; this had been cricket at its best.