Darley Dale had a weekend of mixed fortunes as victory over Alfreton on Saturday was followed by defeat to Codnor on Sunday.
Having lost the toss against Alfreton, Darley were asked to bat first and were indebted to a tremendous knock from opener Craig Elliott who amassed a flawless 98 in the hosts’ competitive total of 216-6. Paul Chadbourne was the other main protagonist for Darley, hitting an enterprising and stylish 48.
Alfreton made a positive start in response, reaching 60 without loss before off-spinner Simon Cotterill accounted for Tom Pawelski, LBW for 32.
The visitors continued to battle with useful contributions from Noonan (32), Holland (33) and Clarke (16) but with Darley’s potent attack sharing wickets at regular intervals, Alfreton’s taste for victory diminished.
In the end it was left to the seamers to see the side home with Dougie Briggs (3-52), Jack Stephenson (2-34) to rip through the middle and lower order before Sam Lightfoot emphatically secured the win, removing Garry Coe’s middle stump for one.
There were also wickets for Cotterill (1-3) and Nathan Fearn (2-34) as Darley secured a 66-run win.
Darley were unable to capitalise on Saturday’s win over Alfreton against Codnor the following day.
Having lost a crucial toss, Darley were unsurprisingly asked to bat first on what was an extremely difficult wicket to bat on.
The visitors slumped to 48-8 with Jamie Watts (26) hitting some trademark lusty blows as Darley attempted to put enough runs on the board to bowl at.
Captain Briggs then stepped up to the plate, hitting an impressive and faultless 33* to take Darley to 104 all out.
Darley needed early wickets, however the experienced Darren Colson (20) and Lee Colledge (23) put the game out of reach, despite the inspired Briggs dismissing both in the same over.
The hosts then got through to the target without major alarm in the 22nd over; although first XI debutant Matt Wright was unlucky not to have taken a wicket.
Darley Dale second XI travelled to West Hallam’s Cock Orchard ground for a Division 6N match on a overcast and blustery day.
Darley lost the toss and were invited to bat first on a good pitch. In-form Shaw (66) started off positively with several straight sixes and one to bring up his 50 which was despatched into the neighbouring forest.
Smith and Shaw put on 48 for the first wicket until Smith was dismissed by Hill (4-62) who bowled with good pace.
Darley’s high tempo innings continued with the introduction of Taylor and Horton. Horton drove and pulled the ball well, scoring a confident 33 and giving Darley’s middle order the impact they have missed in previous matches.
Lee Marsden was Darley’s catalyst in the later overs. A solid 40 from Marsden with some booming boundaries allowed Darley to finish on 236-9.
In reply, Darley’s opening bowlers Wright and Lane put West Hallam’s openers under pressure and were awarded with two early wickets. However this brought the big hitting Bostock (53) to the crease. An excellent timer of the ball who hit the ball hard and long had Darley worried until he misjudged a shot and skied it to deep long on. This was very well caught by Alex Lawton of the bowling of Shaw.
Darley’s star bowler was Dave Lane (5-23), who bowled with good pace and excellent accuracy swinging the ball both ways and was too good for West Hallam’s batsmen.
On Sunday Darley Dale third XI welcomed Calver to the Station Road Ground.
Darley’s captain Andy Topley won the toss and asked the visitors to bat first.
Calow topped the table and Darley were expecting the game to be a hard-fought affair. However, 14-year-old Harry Rudkin had different ideas.
In his very first over he took two wickets in two balls to leave Calow reeling at 7-2.
Alex Lawton, Rudkin’s opening partner, chipped in with a wicket of his own, but Calow then rallied with a stand of 42 between opener Mainsprize and number five Gaunt.
Some tight bowling by Masum and Thomas (2-23) restricted the visitors and with the return of Rudkin (3-29) who had Saddington stumped for a duck, Calow finished with a low total of 102-8.
Darley’s response was very patient and despite the loss of Coates in the fifth over the ever reliable Topley and Lawton, playing with increased self-confidence, began to improve the tempo of the home side’s reply.
With almost chanceless knocks the visitors’ total was passed with no further loss and 13 overs remaining.
Topley carried his bat for 42 and Lawton was undefeated on 55 as Darley achieved a much-needed maximum 22 points.