Relegation battle goes to the wire for W&M

Najaf Shah took four wickets against Staveley Welfare on Saturday.
Najaf Shah took four wickets against Staveley Welfare on Saturday.

By Maurice Ingham.

Wirksworth & Middleton’s survival will hinge on the final two games of the season after they lost at home to Staveley by 11 runs on Saturday.

Bowling first, W & M’s Najaf Shah struck twice early on after which a stand of 65 lifted Staveley to 82. Jack Pollard and James Brierley then destroyed the middle order, including top scorer Luke Mantle for 40, as 82-2 then became 95-8. Pollard finished with 2-16 and Brierley 4-47.

Shah came back to take the last two wickets to finish with 4-29, though 40 extras did W & M no favours as Staveley made 135 all out.

After tea W&M were soon 30-3 but Pollard and Shah took the score to 64 and Jack Allen also did well in a spell during which Pollard was out for 33.

At 111-5 W &M should surely have won the game, but the tail were demolished by Nick van der Westhuizen (4-26) and Tom Bullimore (3-35) and the last five wickets fell for just 13 runs, Staveley having conceded, by contrast, just 13 extras.

The second XI also fell to Staveley, away from home, in a surprise result by nine wickets.

The only real positive for the seconds’ batting was Peter Ashurst’s 75 not out – his best score of this year – along with decent contributions from Martin Kinder, Jordan Duffy and Neil Doxey.

In reply, a surprisingly strong Staveley top order knocked off the runs with few alarms with David Grey making 49 and Chris Russell 89 not out. Lewis Heap took the one wicket to fall.

The thirds had a horrific Saturday but a much better Sunday.

They were bowled out for just 26 by leaders Swanwick Hall on Saturday, their opponents needing just under eight overs to reach the target.

On Sunday W&M drew with Belper Meadows who made 206-5, James Fowler top-scoring with 54. Toby Howard took two wickets and there wereone each for Stuart Wheeldon, Keith Williams and Jordan Duffy.

In reply W & M slumped to 35 for 4 but a father and son partnership – Liam and Jordan Duffy both making half centuries - rescued the situation as the home side closed on 193-9.

For Belper M Cooper took three wickets.