Darley Dale’s first XI could only muster a losing draw as they rounded off the first half of the season at Clowne Town on Saturday.
Two seasons ago when the teams last met, Clowne elected to bat first only to be rolled over by some devastating bowling.
Darley looked set for a repeat of this feat, reducing the home side to 43-4, Dougie Briggs, Paul Carson and Sam Lightfoot providing the early wickets.
Jack Stone was on hand to take a magnificent catch off the bowling of Briggs before taking a remarkable leg side effort off Lightfoot’s bowling.
From thereon in it was Clowne’s day - Ed Kinsey (53) held the early part of the innings together before finally being bowled by Cotterill, and Glyn Long eventually falling for 53 in search of quick runs, smartly stumped by Stone taking his tally to 12 for the summer - the most in the County League.
The performance of the day was, however, Chris Hendley whose quick fire 54 put the game all but out of Darley’s reach - Clowne reaching 236-9.
In reply, Darley were dogged by the loss of early wickets.
James Marsden (28) and Jake Hartley (30) looked solid at the crease and gave Darley some hope but then they fell in quick succession leaving Darley on 96-5.
Jonny Shaw and Briggs’ 50-run partnership seemed to have killed the game with both sides resigned to a draw.
But three massive sixes from Shaw reignited Darley’s hopes and a flurry of wickets swung the game back in the home side’s favour.
It was Elton duo Lightfoot (21*) and Carson (10) who saw out the final few overs for Darley whose efforts only conjured a measly nine points.
Darley second XI cemented their fourth place league position with a draw against relegation-threatened Alfreton.
Prior to the game Darley fancied their chances of a comprehensive win but when it emerged that Alfreton had bolstered their team with a number of second team players due to them having no game, Darley would ultimately take great satisfaction from their performance.
Alfreton batted first on what looked a good batting wicket.
After Dan Marsden (1 for 12) removed opener Aspinal (6) early on, Alfreton regrouped with Pawelski (70 not out) anchoring the away side’s innings.
Alfreton were scoring freely with the big hitting Swallow (35) causing the home side real concern.
Enter Stuart Taylor (3 for 31). Aided by some superhuman fielding Taylor took the Alfreton middle order apart, aided by skipper Rob Smith and Ben Walton both taking superb catches.
The introduction of the wiley Tony Sadler (3 for 52) brought further wickets yet Alfreton continued to pile on the runs with Spencer (31) plundering boundaries. The away side ended on 169 for 8 off their allotted 46 overs.
In reply, Darley started brightly with Walton (14) and Lee Marsden (23) taking the score to 32 without loss off eight overs.
Then, however, wickets began to fall with the impressive Swallow (2 for 17) and Spencer (3 for 55) claiming key scalps.
As a result Darley never quite kept up with the required run rate. An exquisite knock by Smith (35 not out) offered the home side some hope but with only Matt Wright (10 not out) providing him with support Darley ultimately fell 33 runs short of the target.