Clifton Look To Bounce Back
This time last year, a match between Clifton and Welbeck would have been for the bragging rights at the top of the Notts Premier League table but the match this weekend at the Clifton Oval finds the hosts in seventh and Welbeck in 11th spot.
The visitors will be keen to build on their first win of the season last Monday against fellow-strugglers Welbeck which saw Martyn Dobson return to form with an innings of 96 and Aussie Kyle Francis grab his third five-wicket haul of the campaign.
Clifton will want to bounce back after their low-scoring five-wicket loss against big rivals West Indian Cavaliers; Tom Lungley is in good all-round form with 160 league runs and nine wickets so far.
The Notts Academy are top of the pile after their comprehensive win over Papplewick and they welcome Caythorpe to Lady Bay looking to consolidate their lead.
Other than a seven-wicket loss to Clifton two weeks ago, they have progressed well this year but their coaching team will know that they will have to continue to improve to end up at the top of the league at the end of the season.
Hassan Azad (275 runs at an average of 55) and Scott Elstone (253 at 84) are the side's leading batters and Sam Wood and Adam Tillcock are in the groove with the ball.
Caythorpe are having a real up-and-downer of a season so far and will be hoping to find some consistency.
Solid wins against Kimberley and Cuckney have been balanced by losses against Plumtree and the Cavaliers; Darren Bicknell and Steve Allcoat are both finding some form with the bat and Tim Haines has snared 13 victims at an average of less than 13 each.
Perhaps the match of the day takes place at Langwith Lane where Cuckney welcome West Indian Cavaliers in what should be an intriguing match between the sides in second and third place.
The Cavaliers lost their first four games to the weather but since then have hit the ground running with four wins from four including the demolition of Clifton last weekend.
Rawait Khan and Bilal Shafayat are in fine form and Aaron Thomas starred with 102 not out in the Worksop game.
Cuckney had a strong start to the season but two losses in the last three matches leaves them looking to rebuild their winning habit.
In the corresponding fixture last year, the Cavs handed down a seven-wicket defeat at a canter, despite Richard Stroh's innings of 76.
Mansfield Hosiery Mills sit in fourth and take on the side one place behind them in fifth, Plumtree. With only one defeat thus far, the Millers are building a solid season.
Tom New is having an outstanding season with 468 runs at an average of 93, having failed to pass 50 only once in his six innings to date.
The family connection is obviously working in Mansfield as brother Matt New is heading up the club's bowling figures with 12 wickets at exactly 18 including 6-43 in the Wollaton victory.
Plumtree remain in good form with three wins in their last four outings, notching up wins against Caythorpe, Cuckney and Wollaton.
Wasim Rana is the man in form as he grabbed 7-33 in the draw last weekend at the Academy and followed that up with a match-winning 60 last Monday at home to Wollaton.
Wollaton host Papplewick, another match-up that is difficult to call as both sides seek for some winning form as they sit in ninth and tenth spots.
Papplewick have only one win to their name so far when they secured a nine-wicket win away at Plumtree when Mark Nelson was in fine form.
But three losses since to the Cavaliers, Cuckney and the Academy have left them struggling.
Wollaton too have recorded just a single win, a four-wicket success away at Welbeck, but have lost all their other games despite getting into some good positions.
Skipper Tim Young is leading the batting unit with 217 runs, with fifties against the Academy and Plumtree.
The final match sees Worksop host a Kimberley side whose form is on the up. After a mixed bag of results in the early games, they have drawn two and won one since losing to Cuckney.
Akhil Patel and Paul Riley are both in the runs with hundreds for Patel in the win against Wollaton and Riley in the draw with Hosiery Mills.
Worksop's start to the season could not have been much worse and they are currently bottom of the table with four losses and only 32 points.
Their batting has struggled to come to terms with the higher standards in the Premier League with only two fifties; their bowling looks to be more competitive with Wayne Spooner and Kelbert Walters both taking wickets.
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