Darley Dale kept up the pressure on the top two with a comfortable five wicket win over Swanwick Hall at Station Road.
Having won the toss, the hosts were made to work hard for initial inroads as openers Steven Wilson and David Kershaw repelled Darley’s opening bowlers Dougie Briggs and Paul Carson; both of whom will count themselves unlucky not to have picked up a wicket.
At 28-0 the visitors will have been pleased with their start but nobody was quite expecting the incredible impact that experienced Simon Cotterill would make.
The off-spinner produced a remarkable and inspired spell of bowling, completely decimating Swanwick’s upper and middle order; Swanwick as a result slumping to 50-7 with Cotterill taking all seven.
It was Cotterill’s spin partner Nathan Fearn who took the eighth but Cotterill took the catch to plunge Swanwick further in the mire whilst selflessly denying himself the potential of all ten wickets in the process.
Fearn (2-16) then took his second wicket but it was Cotterill who fittingly took the final scalp of the innings to record career-best figures of 11.1-5-13-8.
For the visitors, only Kershaw (28) and Ryan Parsons (23) offered any resistance after the promising start; Swanwick dismissed for 76 from 34.1 overs.
The hosts were then made to play out a tricky ten overs before tea and despite losing their opener Jimmy Marsden early will have been happy to go in at 30-1 with Jake Hartley and Jack Stone going well with just 47 required for victory.
However as the grey clouds gathered, Darley lost their way a little; stuttering to 49-4 before an interruption for rain.
However any fears of a collapse and tense finish were allayed by Andy Paulett (18*) and Briggs (11*); the pair seeing Darley home with an assured partnership to ensure the 22 points.
Tom Coxhead was the pick of the Swanwick bowlers with 4-33 but the day will certainly be remembered for Cotterill’s fine spell of bowling.