By Maurice Ingham.
Wirksworth & Middleton’s first XI secured their first win of the season at South Wingfield but were made to work hard for it.
With 17 overs still to go the hosts were a healthy 180-3, but the return of Najaf Shah to the attack changed the shape of the innings dramatically as he finished with 5-47.
There were wickets as well for Jimmy Redfern, James Brierley and Andy Malia-Barlow, while a superb run-out effected by Stuart Poplar and wicket keeper Michael Jefferies ended the innings.
In reply, Ant Woolley starred with the bat making 104 and shared a good stand with Poplar.
After they were out, Paul Hindmarch, 38 not out, and Najaf, 20 not out, scored an excellent sixth wicket partnership to win the match by five wickets with three overs to spare.
The seconds’ first defeat of the season, to West Hallam White Rose, followed a disappointing performance on a miserable day.
Batting first, W & M’s openers reached 19 against accurate, pacy bowling, and then 42 before two more wickets fell.
Then followed the one substantial stand of the innings – 43 for the fourth wicket with Tom Boylan making 27 and Luke Boden going on to a very good 56.
Jacob Bradbury and Jack Currell both hit hasty runs and it was left to the mature presence of Neil Doxey to guide the tail to a third batting point. Mark Hill, Anthony Henshaw and Rob Lathbury took three wickets each.
West Hallam won with ten overs to spare as Steve Rayton and Tom Fletcher both hit unbeaten half centuries while Louis Heap took the one wicket to fall.
The game was generously sponsored by the Wanford family in memory of Brian and Gerald – two former stalwarts of the club who sadly died last year.
The third XI won by eight wickets at Calow.
Two remarkable opening partnerships of over 180 featured in this game, Calow’s Thomas Mainprize and Mark Devine both scoring 90s in their innings which also saw Craig Shore take two wickets.
In reply, Mike Harwood made 56, with Mike Whittall going on to make a magnificent 131 not out, before a final cameo saw Stephen Lowe make 23 as the thirds won with nine overs to spare.