Double title joy ends fine season

sp92093 Wirksworth v Ockbrook. Wirksworth bowlers on top as they dismiss Ockbrook for 43.
sp92093 Wirksworth v Ockbrook. Wirksworth bowlers on top as they dismiss Ockbrook for 43.

WIRKSWORTH and Middleton 1sts finished their Division 3N season in fine form with a crushing win over Ockbrook and Borrowash on Saturday and a draw with Walton on Trent on Sunday.

Leaders Ockbrook and Borrowash certainly wanted to win Saturday’s match to ensure they finished top of the division. Instead they were blown away by a devastating bowling performance.

There were three interruptions for rain during their innings, which is never easy for batsmen, although the first of these occurred when they were a sorry 17-5. Only the highly experienced Dave Wood provided any resistance with 23.

Stephen Lowe bowled another exemplary spell of 14 overs, taking 2-13. At the end, Iftikher Ahmed’s occasional spin gave him 2-0 in a couple of overs but, once again, Vyash Gobind was in irresistible form to finish with 6-16.

In reply, Ahmed and Aafan Janjua, with one eye on more black cloud, wasted no time in knocking off the runs. They had made 33 in five overs before Janjua was caught at point. Two more wickets fell on the same score before Ahmed 28 not out, sealed the win in eight overs and three balls. Grateful thanks to the Black’s Head for sponsoring this one.

Onto Sunday’s game and it’s worth pointing out that, at the end of June, the 1sts were bottom of the table. Saturday’s win and Sunday’s points mean they have finished in third, a quite remarkable turnaround.

Seven batsmen made decent contributions to the total of 225-8 with Jack Allen, 45, and Vyash Gobind, 47, top scoring. In Walton’s reply, Andy Lathbury made 53 as Gobind took four more wickets (67 for the season), Iftiker Ahmed had 2-14 and there was a wicket each for Stephen Lowe and Tom Allen. It was not quite enough to secure another win as Walton held on at 159-9, but just one defeat in the last 14 matches was a magnificent effort.

On Saturday, the seconds turned in another assured performance to clinch promotion for a second successive season, beating Clay Cross by seven wickets in Division 8N.

Clay Cross, already relegated, were playing only for pride and dug in stubbornly. Max Marshall, joint leading wicket taker in the division before this game, took three more and there were two run outs in a sharp fielding performance.

A steady opening partnership set the 2nds well on the way before Andrew Redfern, in his last innings in an excellent season, was out for 17. Peter Ashurst made a rapid 21 and Neil Taylor 31. Mike Whittall top scored with 48 not out as the 2nds recorded their 13th win in another successful campaign.

On Sunday, Neil Doxey took a career best 7-62 to help bowl Riddings out in just 37 overs for 185. The other wicket takers were Max Marshall, Lewis Heap and Paul Baines. Andy Gillott top scored for the visitors with 72 not out.

In reply, an opening partnership of 55 saw W & M well on the way and, although the pitch was doing a bit, they really have should won the game. Several rash shots, however, saw batsmen getting out. Neil Taylor made 34, Peter Ashurst 29 and in the end W & M were hanging on in bad light and drizzle at 158-8. Dale White finished on 31 not out.

Many thanks to Baileycroft Spar for sponsoring the game.

Finally, the thirds duly secured the Division 10N league title in a game against Mickleover that was ruined by the weather – as was the first one between the sides.

A shame that the top two teams in the division didn’t have the opportunity to play each other properly. With just one defeat all season and 13 wins in total, this has been a fine season for the team and captain, Colin Julian.