Runs were hard to come by -- but that didn’t bother Ashford in the Water as they marched into the semi-finals of the Yorkshire and Derbyshire League’s Percy Crookes Senior Cup.
Even though all 20 wickets tumbled for just 148 runs, Second Division Ashford beat visitors Grindleford, who play in the division below, by 54, despite making just 101. And it was the perfect tonic ahead of this Saturday’s local derby at Calver.
The tie had to be switched from Grindleford after heavy overnight rain into Saturday morning made their ground unplayable. On winning the toss, they elected to field and soon had Ashford in trouble as skipper Peter Marsden was bowled by Sam Willis (2-18) for a duck and fellow opener Simon Davies was caught off Dave Stewart (2-22) for four.
A moderate recovery followed, helped by Sam Ellis, who top scored with 24 (three fours), but as the bowlers continued to make it tough, only two other players reached double figures -- Zac Dann with 13 and tailender Ben Drury with 12.
Two-wicket hauls were also claimed by Manas Khatre (2-7), Josh Russell (2-9) and Peter Hill (2-24), while the heavy outfield significantly reduced Ashford’s boundary count.
As the hosts perished with six overs still remaining, their total looked well below par. So they deserved plenty of credit for the way they fought back after tea.
The bowlers kept it tight, and run-scoring proved even more difficult for Grindleford than it had for their opponents. Indeed not one batsman mustered double figures as they capitulated to 47 all out in only 20.1 overs.
After the openers had fallen to Joe Muir (3-12 in eight overs) and Marsden (1-11), a flurry of wickets followed the introduction of veteran Kev Rowney, who finished with impressive figures of 4-11 from six overs. No fewer than three players departed with the total stuck on 29, and 34-5 quickly became 42-8.
David Raw (1-9 in 2.1 overs) also chipped in with a wicket and, for good measure, he ran out Grindleford skipper Dave Stewart to help complete the victory.
A good cup run should build confidence in the Ashford camp and help take their minds off their toils against the threat of relegation near the bottom of the division. They will learn at a later date who their opponents will be in the last four.