Delighted captain Harry Atkinson said depleted Newark’s ninth successive win was better than it might look on paper.
R&M (88-2), missing around five first-team regulars including their two opening bowlers, completely dominated against Kirkby Portland (85).
Richard Andrew, James Evans and Steve Kennewell all took two wickets, while George Squires finished with four for 14 from five overs.
Atkinson said: “George has not had much chance to bowl this season because we have done so well, but I told him we would need him this week and he stepped up to the plate.”
Kirkby opener Steve Fleming carried his bat for 46 for the home side, but no other batsman reached double figures.
In reply, opener Matt Evans hit 33 and Bimal Parambil was unbeaten on 34 as Newark raced to their target inside 15 overs.
Third-team players Gary Andrew and Rian Simpson were drafted in to avoid weakening the second team, which is also chasing promotion.
Atkinson said: “I was worried before the match because we had players missing and Bimal and I were ill.
“The bowling and fielding performances, however, were as good as we have been this season to say we were missing three of our main bowlers.
“I couldn’t have wished for anything better than to bowl them out for 80-odd.
“They had a much stronger team than when we played them before and we had a much weaker team, but players are coming into the first team when required and doing well.
“They know how to win games because the second and third teams are winning. It is having a knock-on effect.
“There is a winning mentality passing down through the club.”
l Newark R&M 2nds are third in Division K after edging to a four-wicket home win over Poplars 1sts. Peter Lichfield continued his excellent form with a top-score of 83 in the run-chase and James McKay hit 37.
In Division N, Newark R&M 3rds defeated second-placed Ellerslie 4ths by two wickets.
Young Matthew Andrew took two for 24 from his full alloted overs and hit the winning runs for the development side.
Simon Hodgson claimed two for 17 as Ellerslie were restricted to 102 for six.
Captain Luc Chignell top-scored with 28 in the run-chase.
Balderton 1sts (136) lost by nine wickets at Belvoir (140-1)
Balderton captain Chris Dobbie said his side faced a must-win game against Division A bottom club Attenborough this weekend after defeat at Belvoir left them in trouble.
“Overall it was another disappointing performance,” he said. “But we can’t feel sorry for ourselves.
“We have to pick up and get wins from the remaining games to stay in this division.
“We play Attenborough next in a must-win game for us.”
Balderton, who are third from bottom, again lost the toss and were in trouble at 29 for three after being asked to bat.
“It proved to be an important toss as Belvoir made in-roads, said Dobbie.
“But another poor decision went against us as (opener) Saj Homyoon was frustratingly given out caught behind after clearly hitting the ground.
“We aren’t getting many decisions go our way, but that does not excuse another poor batting performance.”
Dobbie hit six fours in a top-score of 41 as he added 37 for the fifth wicket with Razullah Khan (16) before Balderton were dismissed inside 40 overs.
The two also combined to take the only wicket in the home reply.
The captain said the only real positive was a tidy spell of bowling by youngster Matthew Smart, who had figures of 0-13 from 4.1 overs when Belvoir opener Darren Bicknell was well set on his way to an unbeaten on 61.
Sam Ross struck 38 as Balderton 2nds won by 83 runs in Division G against visitors Kinoulton 1sts. Ross helped the home side to 169 for nine before Eden Tranter claimed four for 12 from ten overs to clinch the win that took second-from-bottom Balderton to within four points of safety.
Collingham 1sts (201-9) gained a winning draw at home to Kimberley Institute (144-9)
Collingham were den-ied maximum points as Kimberley’s last pair hung on in the final over.
The home side had claimed two wickets in the penultimate over to set up the exciting finish.
Club captain Harry Sheppard said he was pleased with the 18 points that kept his fourth-placed side in the Division A title race and closed the gap on the two clubs immediately above them.
Put into bat first on a difficult, green wicket, Collingham recovered from losing two early wickets with overseas player Fahad ul Haq again among the runs, scoring five fours and a six in his 54.
After a slow start to the innings, Rob Matchett struck a run-a-ball 49, including two sixes, and Josh Sugden (25 not out) and David Pipes (20) added quick fire late runs to ensure maximum batting points.
In Kimberley’s reply, just two batsmen made double figures as Pipes returned four for 27 from 15 overs.
Will Cousins and Jack Copley took two wickets apiece as Collingham used eight bowlers.
Sheppard added: “It was a good performance, particularly by the bowlers. Early wickets put them under pressure and Pipes bowled well on a perfect wicket for him.
“But we are looking strong batting too, when you consider we had Pipes coming in at number nine.”
In Division K, fourth-placed Collingham 3rds won by two wickets at Wollaton (168-8) thanks to a century stand from captain Alex Scott, who notched three sixes and eight fours in his 69, and Charlie Fisher, who made nine fours in his unbeaten 60.
Earlier Ravi Yarwood-Paintal, Charlie Fisher and Charlie Warrington took two wickets apiece.
Southwell 1sts (185) lost by seven wickets to Kirkby Portland (186-3)
Southwell went bottom of Division B after defeat to relegation rivals Kirkby.
The loss frustrated captain Joe Fryer, who said: “It is disapppointing as we are competing well in every game. Some other teams in the league have been heavily beaten, but we have not.
“We have shown we can be competitive in this division but we don’t quite have the cutting edge at the moment.
“We have batted well in the last few weeks, but couldn’t get the 20 points.”
Mohan Pharate scored his third successive half-century.
He struck 64 at number three and shared in a stand with Alex Rainbow, who batted well in the middle-order for 63 in only his third match of the season.
In reply, Kirkby had the better of the conditions and batted sensibly after losing two early wickets to Pharate.
Dropped catches, one a difficult chance to slip, did not help the home cause.
Southwell rotated their bowlers in search of a second win, but the pitch did not offer any assistance.
Second-from-bottom Southwell 2nds lost by one-wicket at Gedling And Sherwood 2nds in Division H, despite good all-round contributions by captain Stuart Grimley and Ollie Stanley.
The pair top-scored with 22 and 37, batting at number nine and ten respectively, with Stanley gathering five boundaries to lift the visitors to 155 all out.
Stanley then took three for 29 and Grimley two for 21 as Southwell looked on course for victory after just one of the first seven Gedling batsmen reached double figures.
But runs from the late-order took the home side to victory.
Farndon 1sts (208-8) gained a losing draw at Caythorpe 2nds (215-7)
Vice-captain Mark Ever-ington said Farndon’s disappointment at failing to beat second-placed Caythorpe was a measure of how far they have progressed in Division C in recent weeks.
Farndon fell just eight runs short of victory after a slow start to their run-chase.
“At the start of the season we would have been grateful for a result like that, but we were very disappointed not to win,” he said. “It shows how far we have come in a short space of time.
“We didn’t pace our reply well at the start, which meant players coming in lower down the order had to chase the game.
“We didn’t bowl as well as we had in previous weeks and probably let them get 30 or 40 too many.
“But we still got nine points against a team at the top of the division.
“We are very happy with how we have been playing in the last four or five weeks.
Farndon, who went second from bottom, have a big game this weekend against Keyworth 1sts, who are six points and one place above them.
“We are still high on confidence,” Everington said. “The last few weeks have proved to ourselves that we can do it in this league.”
Everington took two for 48 from ten overs and three other Farndon bowlers were among the wickets as Caythorpe passed 200 after recovering from 31 for three.
George Park, who hit 11 fours in his top-score of 70, shared a fourth-wicket partnership of 77 with Kurt Wilson (24).
Park put on 42 with Gary Clarke, who hit two fours and a six in his 29.
Clarke added a further 39 with Matthew Holford for the sixth wicket as Holford finished unbeaten on 30, including five boundaries.
In reply, Ashveer Gill, who hit two fours in his 41, and Martyn Hill, who struck five fours and a six in his 71, added 115 for the second wicket.
But then wickets fell regularly and, despite an unbeaten 13 from John Esamfrom John Esam, Farndon fell short.
In Division K, Farndon 2nds (104) lost by five wickets at home to Attenborough 4ths to remain in the relegation zone.
Richard Pinder struck 44 and Thomas Hill hit 22 before Richard Burroughs dismissed two batsmen without scoring.