W&M firsts begin season with a narrow victory

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Wirksworth & Middleton began the new campaign with a narrow two-wicket win at home to Ockbrook & Borrowash on Saturday.

The first quarter of the game was evenly contested which set the pattern for much of the rest of it.

Having won the toss W & M’s captain Ant Woolley chose to bowl first with Harry Wanford and Max Marshall sharing the new ball against two very competent batsmen.

Without the ever-reliable Stephen Lowe they did well enough to restrict the run rate, aided by some keen fielding.

Woolley used six bowlers with Jack Ritchie making the breakthrough with the score on 62. That was the only wicket in the first 23 overs when the total was 80-1.

They had to wait until the 39th over for a second wicket, a sharp, direct hit run-out by Rahim Ali to dismiss Will Kent-Smith for 43 and make it 136-2.

By now Ben Perry-Taylor, a new signing from Marehay, was spinning from one end (2-46 from 14 overs) with Jack Allen at the other. The last few overs saw the visitors lose six more wickets with Allen claiming 4-44, good fielding and a stumping from Michael Jefferiss helping the hosts.

For O & B Paul Burrow top-scored with 55 as they made 165-8.

In reply, W & M’s progress was more erratic and with five of the first six batsmen falling for single figure scores there was real alarm.

It needed a captain’s innings from Woolley along with Ali to recover the situation. They added 94 before Ali was run-out for 33 and when Woolley was eventually bowled for a fine 54 there were still 30 needed.

Jefferiss then calmly steered W & M home with an unbeaten 21 and plenty of overs, if not wickets, to spare.

The second XI were winners by four wickets at Pilsley.

W&M bowled Pilsley out for 129 in fewer than 33 overs with Josef Whitfield taking 5-25.

In reply there were solid contributions from David Greatorex, Tom Boylan and Liam Duffy – all passing 20 – while new captain, Dayle White, top-scored with 32 not out as W&M eased to victory.