Belvoir CC keep pace with South Notts League title rivals

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Belvoir CC stayed within touching distance of the South Notts League leaders with a six-wicket win over Notts Unity Casuals on Saturday.

The win left Belvoir third in Division A, 16 points adrift of pacesetters Clifton.

Joe Bottomley (3 for 21) struck like a spitting cobra with the second ball of the day, while fellow paceman Phil Irvine winkled another one out with his second ball thanks to fine slip catch by Tom Neville.

Bottomley repeated the dose in his second and third overs, and Notts Unity were 7-4.

Ravi Gouni (20) and Ajay Revu (21) mounted a gutsy rearguard action with a stand of 45 until both fell to the pace of a fired-up Ben Robinson (3 for 31).

Sam Nightingale (3 for 22) took the first of his wickets to reduce Notts Unity to 57-7 before Abneer Irfan (15 not out) dug in, trying to eke out a respectable total.

Zareen Rehman (17) launched a couple of maximums in an energetic flurry only to be well caught in the deep by Irvine, and Tariq Mahmoud (25) also had a dash until Nightingale took a stunning return catch, low to his left.

Belvoir had been set 120 to win from 34 overs, and having lost a couple of quick wickets, Olly Clayfield (27) and Tom Neville (38) set about the task in earnest.

The former contributed two glorious cover drives and an effortless square cut, while Neville batted with blasts of aggression, mixed with circumspection as a brace of wickets fell to Rehman (3 for 27) in the 70s.

For a couple of overs, there seemed to be a shadow of hope for Notts, but Shay Brady, having struggled to get off the mark, proceeded to thump the ball with abandon through the covers to take Belvoir to victory.