W&M tighten their grip at top of table

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Brailsford 1st XI 128 all out lost to W&M 1st XI 224-9 by 96 runs

Wirksworth and Middleton 1st XI completed the first half of the season with this maximum points win in Division Three, a seventh victory that means they are still unbeaten as they consolidated their lead at the top.

They had to overcome a horrendous middle order collapse to achieve it, however.

After losing an early wicket, a productive stand between Daryl Williams with 23 and Andy Malia-Barlow, 40, took them to a healthy 84-1. That became a decidedly unhealthy 110-8 through a combination of good bowling and over-ambitious shot selection.

Dinesh de Silva, finding his feet quickly in this most inhospitable of summers, then followed his unbeaten half-century of last week with an even better knock this time.

He found a reliable partner in Jimmy Redfern, whose invaluable 28 helped add 94 for the ninth wicket. After that, Stephen Lowe, in one of his rare visits to the crease this season, made ten not out and de Silva finished on 86 not out.

In reply, Brailsford, comfortably placed in mid-table, lost wickets at regular intervals with only Matt Dowling offering any real resistance.

He made 57 as Paul Hindmarch starred with the ball, taking a season’s best 5-32. Lowe collected yet another three-wicket haul – 3-42 – and de Silva had 2-24 as W&M won with six overs to spare.

This week, the 1sts travel to Derby Congs who, having beaten South Wingfield last week, replace them in second position. On Sunday, the 1sts host Mickleover in the third round of the Bayley Cup.

W&M 2nd XI 173 all out tied with Cutthorpe 2nd XI 173-8

This was a thoroughly enthralling game in Division 7N.

The 2nds, having just lost their eighth wicket on 130, still needed 44 with fewer than seven overs remaining. Time then to shut up shop and aim for the draw? Not a bit of it.

In fact, James Brierley and Jack Currell proceeded to level the scores in as exhilarating a display of clean hitting and intelligent running as one could hope to see – until, that is, the final over.

Currell charged and missed one, being comprehensively stumped for a magnificent 25. Then Brierley, with the wise ‘seen it all before’ Neil Doxey at the crease and four balls left, called for a single and was run out for an equally magnificent 20.

Inevitably in the circumstances, amid the ensuing mayhem, the celebrations, the joy and the utter disbelief, one could only reflect on Kipling’s two imposters – triumph and disaster – except, of course, it was neither.

In fact, on the day, in a game sponsored by Ian the Hairdresser, there was nothing parting the two sides.

It was yet again an awful day for cricket. A few sunny spells punctuated rain and incessant wind, making it awkward for both batting and bowling.

For Cutthorpe, fourth at the start (to W&M’s second place), Simon Barlow hit an assured 47 and the aggressive Peter Callaghan 38.

Andrew Mottershead took 2-41, Max Marshall and Doxey a wicket each while Brierley had a fine 4-39 from 14 overs.

Given the 2nds’ batting strength in depth, the loss of a couple of early wickets was not especially alarming. By the time it was 34-4, however, the prospects were a little more gloomy. What was apparent, as well, was the visitors were a far more energetic fielding side who also held their catches.

A period of patient rebuilding saw 58 added. Captain David Hopkinson making 17, along with Mottershead, batted superbly.

After Hopkinson played on and two further wickets fell, Mottershead, one away from a richly deserved half-century, was caught and bowled by quite possibly the best catch this season. So, 130-8 – and then that last drama-filled half hour.

Duffield 3rd XI 124 all out lost to W&M 3rd XI 125-5 by 5 wickets

The 3rds bounced back from last week’s defeat to Nutbrook to record their fifth win of the season against fifth-placed Duffield. It keeps them in third and in touch with the sides above them.

Liam Murphy was the most successful bowler with an excellent 4-25 while there were two wickets each for Matt Daldorph and Joe Bradbury along with a couple of run-outs.

Mike Harwood made 28 and Tom Boylan 14 to get the 3rds’ reply off to a solid start. Gareth Bates top-scored with 34 and Murphy made 23 not out.

Matlock 3rd XI 107 all out lost to W&M 3rd XI 116 all out by 9 runs.

On a slow, low Causeway Lane pitch on Sunday in dark, sometimes drizzly conditions, the consensus was that a score of 140 or so would be a decent total.

Colin Julian, winning the toss and choosing to bat first, might have had second thoughts about the decision when W&M were 57-6.

Of those, Liam Murphy had made 15 and Keith Williams a dogged 33. There followed a highly responsible stand between Matt Daldorph and a captain’s innings from Julian who finished with 36 not out.

He might well have had third and fourth thoughts about the toss when Matlock reached 73-1.

Some astute bowling changes, along with tighter bowling, brought regular results.

Two wickets in two balls from Murphy (plus another soon afterwards), a couple from Lewis Heap and three from Joe Bradbury’s second spell, saw the 3rds take the last six Matlock wickets for just 17 runs to clinch a maximum points win.

These 49 points from the weekend move the 3rds to lead the Division 9N by a point or two, having played a game more than Awsworth in second place and without a game this weekend.

On the other hand, they have yet to play Awsworth.