Darley Dale recorded their third win on the bounce with a spirited victory over table-toppers Chesterfield at Station Road on Saturday.
Having won the toss, Darley captain Dougie Briggs elected to bowl first and was soon vindicated in his decision as Paul Carson and Sam Lightfoot both struck early to put the hosts in the ascendency.
Aided by some spectacular catching, the introduction of spin failed to offer a respite for the visitors, as Simon Cotterill set about dismantling the visitors’ middle order; Chesterfield struggling to 75-5 at the halfway point.
However with the league’s top run scorer, James Colton, at the crease, Chesterfield retained hope of a competitive total; the prolific batsman reaching an impressive if not chanceless half century.
However, those around him continued to fall with the trio of Carson, Cotterill and the returning Lightfoot doing the damage.
In fact Colton was the only batsman to get into double figures and it was he who was last to go, looking to hit out in the final over, for 78, providing Jacob Hartley with his third impressive catch in the outfield.
The league leaders had been dismissed with four balls to spare for 128 with Cotterill (4-38), Lightfoot (3-30) and Carson (2-34) the main protagonists’ Briggs picking up the remaining wicket.
Despite being an under par total, Darley knew chasing 128 would be far from a formality.
Despite the early loss of Andrew Paulett for five, James Marsden (24) and Jack Stone (38) calmed any nerves, taking the hosts past 50 with some assured batting. However, when both departed in quick succession, Darley had two new batsmen at the crease with the visitors’ sensing all was not lost.
Craig Elliott (1) then fell to Paul Goodwin with Hartley falling to the same bowler shortly after for ten and all of a sudden the game was in the balance at 80-5.
Some much-needed impetus was then provided by Jamie Watts who hit some lusty blows in a quick-fire 22, re-established the home side’s grip on the game and when he departed Darley had the total in sight.
It was then left to Briggs (6*) and Cotterill (4*) to see the game out, Darley reaching their total in the 40th over to record an impressive win.