Alrewas 1st XI 111-8 lost to W&M 1st XI 112-5 by 5 wickets
Congratulations are due to David Greatorex and Wirksworth and Middleton 1sts for securing promotion with this latest win in Division Three of the Derbyshire County League.
They now need just one more point from their last three games to win the division.
Within the club, there has been a growing optimism that all three league sides might gain promotion this season. For the 2nd and 3rd XIs, also with three matches to play, the situation is very much in their own hands. On top of this, the Sunday League team (whose game last Sunday was abandoned) have also won promotion again.
As for this match, W&M had to be a little wary. Apart from abandoned games – which count as draws – Alrewas are the only side this season to have prevented the 1sts from winning by gaining a genuine draw (and a winning one at that).
Two or three stoppages in their innings, the first a lengthy one, turned the game into a timed match. Alrewas, as the rules allow, batted their full 46 overs, reaching a somewhat laboured 111-8.
Stephen Lowe once again at his parsimonious best also got the wickets he deserved. He took the first six to fall, finishing his 14-over spell with 6-20 while Dinesh de Silva had 2-16. The only criticism might be the profligacy of the bowlers conceding 20 wides – the effects of a wet ball perhaps?
Tea had been taken during the Alrewas innings and one of the rain stoppages: it was after 6.30pm when W&M batted, with just 24 overs to get the runs. Alex Park and Andy Malia-Barlow provided the perfect start, hitting 40 for the first wicket from just over four overs before the latter was out for 29.
There followed a bit of a wobble when two further wickets fell but de Silva with 16 and Aafan Janjua, especially, with 30 very nearly completed the job. That was done by Jack Allen and Jack Pollard with nearly four overs to spare to guide the 1sts to their 12th win of the season – and promotion.
W&M 2nd XI 217-9 v Heanor Town 2nd XI 71-9. No result
In earlier times, the village cricket team was invariably captained by the middle-aged local squire. He would usually open the batting on a pitch cut and laid on his estate with, between innings, a lavish tea provided at his expense.
He was, in effect, the match sponsor and in return for his largesse would traditionally receive from a reluctant snarling opening bowler (always a blacksmith) a gentle first ball lobdolly to get him off the mark.
The sponsor of this present game was W&M’s David Hopkinson – who shares at least two characteristics with our earlier squire. Unfortunately, no reciprocal consideration was forthcoming from the opposition bowler and a golden duck followed. Mind you, that was in the final over of the innings with the captain batting down at number ten.
The 2nds, put in to bat, made an excellent start. Neil Taylor scored 35 from 61 for the first wicket with Andrew Redfern 29, as W&M reached 72-1 at drinks (23 overs). Thereafter, James Thompson and James Brierley, both in fine form, hit 30s as the run rate accelerated. Max Marshall was run out for 27, Jack Currell hit 20 and 79 were added in the last ten overs. The end of the innings was somewhat farcical, however, as four wickets fell in the final over, bowled by Adrian Mann (one of them another run-out) to give Heanor two further bowling points.
W&M have certainly had their share of drama this season and there was plenty more in the second half of this game. After tea (a lavish affair provided as usual by the much-valued Rex Preston) three stoppages for rain saw the game become a timed match. When play resumed at 7.29pm, after the last of the interruptions, W&M had to bowl a minimum of nine overs before 8pm. By then, Heanor were 54-7 with survival the only option.
In the event the bowlers managed 11 overs but could only snaffle two more wickets, one of them a wonderfully athletic catch by the effervescent Joe Bradbury. Between occasional gaps in the cloud, the moon shone on ten fielders forming a circle round the batsmen and, in fairness, it would have been harsh on Heanor if they had lost the game. They certainly had by far the worst of the batting conditions.
As for the bowlers, Marshall took 1-3 from 7 overs, Bradbury and Neil Doxey also had one wicket each while Currell, Brierley and Jack Ritchie all took two. It was an exciting, tense finale but not quite enough to enable W&M to replace Heanor on top of the division. The 2nds, 12 points behind, do however have two games in hand.
For the second week running, W&M 3rd’s opponents forfeited the match. This time it was Mickleover 3rd XI and, while 54 points without bowling a ball cements W&M’s lead in the division, it is a highly frustrating situation. This week the 3rds have games on both Saturday and Sunday when they will hope to get some decent cricket and look to clinch promotion.