W & M 1st XI 256-3 (20 points) drew with Mickleover 1st XI 145-9 (4 points)
wirksworth and Middleton 1sts produced arguably their most convincing batting performance of the season, based on three good partnerships.
Iftiker Ahmed, who looks to dominate the opposing bowlers from the outset – not always successfully – scored 38 in an opening stand of 65 with Aafan Janjua in just eight overs.
After he miscued and was caught, the pace slowed a little, along with the loss of a second wicket, but at drinks (23 overs) W & M were well placed on 116-2.
By now Luke Boden, with time to build his innings, had joined Janjua and the pair added 80 for the third wicket before Janjua fell just short of a deserved century.
Boden, in prime form, followed last week’s 67 with an undefeated 70 this time, full of crisp, exquisitely timed boundaries. He and the lively Jack Allen (19 not out) added 69 in blistering fashion.
In reply, the visitors, a personable, enthusiastic side, set about chasing the target with gusto – for about three overs. Oliver Dimmick, who scored a fine century in the earlier game between the sides, then edged Vyash Gobind for David Greatorex to pouch a good catch in the slips.
Gobind took a wicket in each of his next two overs to leave the visitors 22-3, at which point they decided they were not going to win the match.
At drinks, they were 61-3 and W & M had to wait until nearly the 30th over for their next wickets.
The bowler was Andy Barlow during his best spell of the season. He bowled his 14 overs right through and finished with an excellent 3-28.
Three other bowlers had brief spells but the Mickleover resistance was dogged. Stephen Lowe, whose nagging accuracy is a fine foil to the lively pace of Gobind, returned to pick up a well-deserved wicket and Gobind himself took two wickets with the last two balls of the match to claim another five-for.
The points tally (the maximum available for a draw) sees W & M move back above Mickleover in the table while also having played two games fewer.
While nothing can be taken for granted in this tightest of all divisions, if the 1sts continue playing like this (and they are undefeated in eight now) they will finish in the top half of the table and, who knows, maybe more.
The game was generously sponsored by Tapton Estates.
Swanwick Hall 2nd XI 200-5 (17 points) drew with W & M 2nd XI 161-7 (8 points)
R. Sharp, with 70, and A. Hunt, 104, scored the bulk of the home side’s runs in this Divison 8N match as only Max Marshall (his figures improving as the season progresses) with 4-45 and Joe Bradbury, 1-37, were successful.
In reply, W & M found no-one to play the major innings to threaten the total. Peter Ashurst top scored with 43 and there were useful contributions from Jack Currell, David Hopkinson and Ian Peacock.
For Swanwick Hall, Duncan Green, a wily old fox, bowled well for 3-24. Elsewhere, Wingerworth won with 22 points, giving them a six-point lead over W & M in second place – but they have played two games more.
Alfreton 4th XI 159-9 (10 points) drew with W & M 3rd XI 197 all out (18 points)
After the loss of an early wicket the prolific Dale White made 45 and with Tom Boylan, also in great form, took the score past the 100 in this Division 10N game.
With eight overs remaining, the 3rds were 187-4 with Boylan on 81 and Joe Bradbury 25.
A score of 230 looked likely but a collapse of epic proportions saw W & M lose their last six wickets for just ten runs.
Destroyer-in-chief for Alfreton was the lively, young pace bowler Tom Bexton who took 5-23.
Considering they began the game 170 points behind W & M, Alfreton made a decent fist of it when they batted. Mind you, they had won five g
ames, the equal of teams far higher in the table. P. Walters made 33 while, for the 3rds, Matthew Daldorph and Lewis Heap took three wickets each. Joe Bradbury and Jack Griffiths took one apiece with a run-out as well.
18 points is a decent enough return and keeps the 3rds well ahead of the rest.