IN-FORM Darley Dale CC 1sts played host to lowly Swanwick Hall at Station Road.
Splendid work by the Darley groundsman allowed play to go ahead. However, on a damp looking pitch, the toss was crucially won by Craig Elliott, who asked Swanwick to bat.
Paul Carson and Sam Lightfoot’s ferocious start saw Swanwick reduced to 34-5.
At five wickets down, Darley allowed Swanwick back into the game through Luke Pressland, who put away the bad ball magnificently.
Simon Cotterill did manage to take a wicket, but until Carson’s reintroduction, where he wrapped up an impressive five-for (5-18) Darley looked off the money. When Elliott finally dismissed Swanwick, Pressland had inspired the visitors to 139 all out.
In reply, Darley were similarly slow and had amassed just 29 by the halfway point. Fearing they had left themselves too much to do, Andy Paulett (27), Hartley (21) and Jamie Watts (30) batted aggressively but sensibly to bring Darley within a whisker.
Having scored at more than ten an over for the previous six overs, it was left to Douglas Briggs and Carson to try to scrape Darley home. Excellent bowling accounted for Briggs and Darley were left needing 11 to win off two balls.
The normally defensive Matt Heath walked out to bat. The victory however looked on as he struck a towering six off his first ball leaving Darley needing four to win off the last ball.
Heath’s last ball effort went right to the boundary but just fell short as the batsmen scampered for two.
Darley will rue the result as it was a game that should have been put to bed earlier.
Elliott’s men will draw comfort from a few bonus points with brings them 11 points closer to second placed Chesterfield.