WIRKSWORTH and Middleton’s unbeaten season continued as they overcame SouthWingfield by six wickets on Saturday.
This excellent victory, their sixth so far this campaign, saw the firssts not only inflict a first defeat for the visitors but also leapfrog them to lead the division.
It required some resolute, determined cricket to achieve it against competitive opponents.
In difficult conditions, both innings needed a substantial, skilful partnership after the bowlers had dominated the early exchanges.
In South Wingfield’s case, having been put into bat, it was a sixth wicket stand of 86, compiled after the drinks break, which tripled the score from a perilous 40-5.
Opening batsman Rob Smith made a very fine 80 and Rob Borland 28.
Apart from 22 extras the visitors’ next highest scorer made just seven.
For W&M Stephen Lowe was yet again heroic; bowling his 14 overs straight through he finished with 3-25 as Wingfield scored 156-4.
Paul Hindmarch took two wickets, Dinesh de Silva one and, in a generally sharp fielding display, there were two very good run outs.
After tea W&M were soon in deep trouble themselves as with just four overs bowled they were 12-3.
Jack Pollard batted responsibly for a while before edging to the keeper to leave them 35-4.
Then came W&M’s own high-quality partnership.
Hindmarch, curbing his naturally aggressive approach, made a brilliant 68 with de Silva hitting an equally classy 57 not out.
It was top order batting showing the virtue of application and patience when constructing an innings.
One measure of the competitiveness of cricket at this level (or possibly only in this game) was the refusal of the South Wingfield captain to allow a runner for the clearly incapacitated de Silva.
In a game sponsored by Community Fayre, one might hesitate to describe this refusal as unfair; it was somewhat disappointing though.
The seconds drew at Belper Amateurs.
Conditions were not really suitable for cricket and it was a credit to the home team, who are bottom of the table, that they were willing to play the match.
W&M captain David Hopkinson declared himself delighted with the 13 points rather than six for an abandoned game.
Peter Ashurst top-scored for W&M with a gritty 36, while the captain with 27 and Max Marshall 19 were the other main contributors in Wirksworth’s 138-8.
In Belper’s reply, Marshall, still struggling with a recurring shoulder injury, took two wickets while Jack Currell, Joe Bradbury, Lewis Heap and Neil Doxey all took one as Belper ended on 114-6.
This result means W&M are now unbeaten in seven games since their one defeat in early May, remain in second place.
The thirds suffered only their second defeat of the season in disappointing fashion against Nutbrook.
Jack Griffiths, continuing his excellent form, made a fine 55 as W&M reached 130-4 with some 15 overs left.
A horrendous collapse, however, saw them fall well short of the 180 or so captain Colin Julian hoped for.
Mike Harwood and Keith Williams, two of the few senior players in the side, both made double figures but only Tim Shepherd with 21 not out contributed further.
In reply, Matt Daldorph took three more wickets in a long spell while Ali Beardmore, making his debut in senior cricket, took one.
With mid-table Duffield this Saturday followed by bottom of the table Matlock on Sunday, the thirds, as always sponsored by Aalco (stainless steel distributors), will want to show their mettle.