Division Four leaders Darley Dale entertained Swanwick on Saturday in what proved to be a thrilling game which would go right down to the wire.
Swanwick won the toss and asked Darley to make first use of an solid looking pitch. Craig Elliott and Jack Stone took the attack to Swanwick and make short work of the opening attack.
The Elliott/Stone combo saw Darley reach the 150 mark before Elliott was caught behind for 46.
Stone, meanwhile, completed his 50 by smashing Tom Coxhead for four fours in one over and looked to have picked up where he left off against Ilkeston. James Marsden (18) once again provided good support.
Stone looked to be racing towards three figures for the second time in a fortnight and thundered into the 90s. The home support were aghast however when Marsden smashed a straight drive back at the bowler who got a finger tip onto the wickets to see Stone fall an agonising nine short of the ton he deserved.
Jake Hartley (14*) and Andy Paulett (18*) took Darley to 223-3 before skipper Elliott declared to give the home side 49 overs to bowl Swanwick out.
Jamie Watts got Darley off to the best possible start with a mercurial run out and Dougie Briggs then snared James Green leg before wicket.
Darley found the third wicket partnership hard to break, but Sam Lightfoot’s throw from the boundary did enough to run out Oliver Green for 17.
Lightfoot (2-46) was soon on hand to bowl James Woodthorpe and convince Jake Hill to miscue to Elliott.
Simon Cotterill’s seven overs went for just six runs and he was rewarded with Coxhead’s scalp, but Darley were denied by Swanwick skipper Adam Fisher and Ryan Parsons leaving Darley with 19 points.
Darley now sit 12 points clear at the summit of Division Four North, with next week’s game against Morton being billed of the fixture of the century thus far.
Darley’s second XI eased past Butterley by eight wickets.
Batting first, Butterley’s Nathan Parkin (27) started agressively before getting out when the impressive Jonny Heath (3 for 34) ripped out his off stump, and the evergreen Neil Fennah (1 for 28) removed fellow opener Fox,
Some tight bowling by Matt Allsop (1 for 14) kept the pressure whilst skipper Stuart Taylor (3 for 64) took some punishment but also claimed some crucial wickets, Butterley finishing on 211-9.
In reply, Darley opener Richard Taylor (7) was soon back in the hutch but this brought Charlotte Horton to the crease to partner Chris Sellors.
What followed was a batting masterclass. Sellors (62) batted with authority whilst Horton played with aplomb and ripped the heart and soul out of the Butterley attack with some calculated and aggressive play.
When Sellors was eventually caught behind the pair had enjoyed a stand of 124 and Darley were well placed needing 64 off the remaining 14 overs.
Horton sent three straight sixes flying back over bowler Brassington’s head whilst Horace Hartley (24 not out) provided her with ample support.
Horton (82 not out) eased Darley past their target with three overs to spare and received a standing ovation from all those in the ground for her eye-catching display that gave Darley a glimmer of hope in their push for promotion.