By Maurice Ingham.
Wirksworth & Middleton’s battle against relegation remains in their own hands but wasn’t helped by defeat at Aston on Saturday.
This game was agonisingly close; a much improved performance by the firsts saw the home side eventually win with just one ball remaining – having needed 22 off the last two overs.
After being put in to bat W & M’s Andy Malia-Barlow made 23 but at 39-3 the situation wasn’t promising. Najaf Shah scored 37 as the fourth wicket added 58 and then Stuart Poplar made 70 in a classy stand of 114 with Ant Woolley who made an excellent 95, W&M ending on 259-6.
In their reply Aston were mainly indebted to S.Shabbir with 71 and A.Sohail’s 41 as Stephen Lowe took 4-79. There were wickets each for James Brierley, Shah and Woolley and two high quality catches by Poplar.
The nine points keeps W&M third from bottom, three points above Denby and a few more above Tutbury – who just happen to be the firsts’ next two opponents.
The second XI’s slim chance of a fourth successive promotion suffered a severe setback with defeat at home to Marehay.
Put in to bat, Liam Murphy and Dayle White made 18 and 16 at the top and, after a third wicket fell, there followed an entertaining stand of 60 or so between Tom Boylan (32) and Peter Ashurst with 40.
After they had gone Liam Duffy made a well-crafted 26 and Jacob Bradbury a good, well-disciplined 31 as W&M closed on 189-9.
Missing two or three key bowlers, W&M had the visitors 29-2 but then a vstand of 107 steered the game Marehay’s way. Former Wirksworth favourite Gareth Harry was the dominant partner with an excellent 55 along with Andy Bromley, Marehay going on to claim the win with an over or two to spare.
The game was sponsored by Joyce Hopkinson in memory of her late husband Alan, who was father of the seconds’ captain, David and for whom there was a commemorative match played last Sunday – a wonderfully celebratory as well as poignant occasion.
The third XI fell to defeat at Denby who made 138-8, Stuart Wheeldon and Jordan Duffy with three wickets each before W&M were bowled out for just 97 in reply.