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Sunday, 23rd November 2014

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Crunch Clash At The Bottom

It might only be the fifth round of matches in the campaign but one fixture this weekend stands out as crucial in the battle to avoid relegation.

Three clubs are already looking to be adrift from the remainder and two of these meet in what is sure to be a hugely significant encounter.

Wollaton face Kiveton Park with both sides having lost all their four games.

They have both shown some recent batting form and home side Wollaton will be looking for more runs from the in-form James Godrich and Tim Young.

For Kiveton, Matthew Cartwright, Richard Grainger and Tim Ward have all scored significant runs but both sides will be looking to their bowling units to perform.

Belvoir, the other bottom-three club, have a tough fixture, against West Indian Cavaliers at Birchover Park.

Second-placed Cavs have won three and drawn one this term and are performing well with bat and ball, with runs from skipper Usman Afzaal (278 at an average of 78) and wickets for fellow Test stars Alex Tudor and Saqlain Mushtaq.

The former Pakistan player is leading the league stats with 17 wickets in four games.

The visitors are now back to full strength with the return of both Clayfield brothers and Darren Bicknell.

Leaders Welbeck Colliery travel to Papplewick hoping to maintain their 100% record.

So far this season they have beaten Belvoir, Cuckney, Kimberley and Wollaton and they will want to add an under-performing Papplewick to that list.

Welbeck are missing Martyn Dobson but welcome back Rolo Sharma and keeper Jamie Jevons. Youngsters Ash Willis, Richie Bentley and Lewis Cameron keep their places after solid performances in recent weeks.

Another significant game will see the third and fourth-placed clubs clash, as Clifton host Kimberley.

The home side, like leaders Welbeck, have a 100% record to defend after wins against Belvoir, Mansfield Hosiery Mills, Caythorpe and Kiveton and will see this as their biggest test of the season to date.

Kimberley, as ever, are searching for consistency and will be conscious of the battering they took at the Clifton Oval last year when they lost by 143 runs, with the champions' Martin Weightman starring with bat and ball.

After a poor start, Cuckney have recovered to win their last two against Wollaton and Kiveton and will be looking to extend that run when they welcome Caythorpe to Langwith Lane.

The visitors put in a strong performance last weekend against the Academy and have played all matches this season without any professional players though they are hoping to blood David Lucas this weekend, subject to him not being selected for Northamptonshire.

The final match of the day sees Nottinghamshire Academy host Mansfield Hosiery Mills at Lady Bay.

After a stutter from the Academy batsmen last week at Caythorpe, they will be looking for a return to form this week.

However they will be aware of the threat they face as they came second best in both games against Mansfield last season.

Both Brett Hutton and Adam Dobb are unavailable due to school fixtures and Jake Ball and Scott Elstone are provisionally named in the Notts squad to play Lancashire on Sunday.

Bobby Gamble returns and Adam Tillcock will be included in the squad for the first time this season.

Adeel Shafique returns to Unity Casuals to open the innings and Matt Cross dons the gloves.

The Mansfield side are hoping to end a two-match losing streak after defeats against Clifton and Cavaliers in the last two weeks.

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