W&M too good for promotion favourites

SP91834 Wirksworth V Langley Mill (LM batting)
SP91834 Wirksworth V Langley Mill (LM batting)

Wirkswoth & Middleton 1st XI 153-2 (22 points) beat Langley Mill 1st XI 149 all out (3 points) by 8 wickets

This was an outstanding result and performance by the 1st XI against second in the table opponents and favourites for one of the two promotion spots in Division Three of the Derbyshire County League.

Having won the toss and batted first, Langley Mill lost a wicket in the first over, in what was a good and bad start for W & M.

Vyash Gobind cleaned bowled the opening batsmen with the fourth ball of the match but pulled up with a groin injury after the fifth.

It looked like the end of his involvement but he returned to the attack for the seventh over, bowling off just three or four paces and, in fact, completed his full 14 overs, taking 2-39 in a truly valiant effort.

Meanwhile, Stephen Lowe was successful in his third over and shortly afterwards saw the dangerous Paul Bailey dropped at backward point. The visitors reached 70-3 at the halfway point and later were 118-3 with two good batsmen looking to press on.

By now, Andy Barlow had begun an unbroken spell of left arm spin, joined for the last 14 overs of the innings by Jack Allen’s off spin. Supported by smart fielding and some very well-judged catches, the pair throttled the life out of the rest of the batting.

There was a sharp run-out while Barlow finished with 2-51, Lowe 1-31 and Allen, in his best spell of the season, took 4-11. It was a highly impressive all-round display.

After tea, W & M made sedate progress in reaching 36 before David Greatorex was bowled. There followed a stand of 102 as Barlow, content to play second fiddle, made just 12 of them. Partnering him was Aafan Janjua at his most fluent. He made 89, a glorious innings with 15 fours and two sixes – all exquisitely timed.

In a match sponsored by Ian’s Hairdressers, this was, indeed, heady stuff. Eventually, he did mistime one and was caught in the deep but, with just a dozen runs required, W & M completed the win in just 27 overs.

With three teams to be relegated from this division, there is still all to play for in the remaining games.

Holmewood 2nd XI 143 all out (4 points) lost to W & M 2nd XI 144-5 (22 points) by 5 wickets

The 2nds put their recent stutters in Division 8N firmly behind them with this competent win which, because of developments elsewhere regarding an ineligible player, has lifted them back to the top of the table, and still with a game in hand over second-placed Wingerworth.

Excellent bowling by Max Marshall (3-28), Lewis Heap (3-16) and Joe Bradbury (3-40) kept the home side to a below par total. In reply, Andrew Redfern made another 50, Neil Taylor almost did (he scored 42 as both he and Redfern have both made over 600 so far) and W & M secured their first win in four matches.

There are now three games left, the next two against the sides lying bottom and second to bottom in the division by some distance. There are also three sides in contention for the two promotion places so there will be no complacency.

W & M 3rd XI 139 all out (7 points) lost to Cromford Meadows 2nd XI 190 all out (27 points) by 51 runs

How did this happen? The 3rds, already promoted and demonstrably the best team in the division, fell to a first defeat of the season against a side who at the start of play were, statistically at least, the worst in all 18 of the league divisions.

True, W & M were without captain Colin Julian but they were in experienced hands all the same. Under league rules the 3rds could, in fact, have claimed the 27 points when, at the scheduled start time, Cromford had fewer players than the required minimum.

W & M chose not to exercise that right but they felt there wasn’t much evidence of reciprocated spirit of the game thereafter.

Perhaps the less said about that the better.

Tristan O’Boyle took 3-32, Tim Shepherd and Matthew Daldorph two wickets each while Paul Baines was the top scorer for Wirksworth with 40.

Elsewhere, second-placed Mickleover also lost, leaving the 3rds to get over this one and secure the few points needed for the title.