Darley Dale’s first 11 travelled to table-topping Breadsall on Saturday in search of back-to-back Division 4N victories.
The home side won the toss and elected to bat and although the express-like Adrian Kershaw gleaned an early wicket for Darley, Breadsall soon chalked up 65 off ten overs.
Darley’s expensive start saw the introduction of the experienced Paul Carson and Simon Cotterill, who began to harness free scoring Breadsall and reduce the run rate massively, Breadsall reaching the halfway point at 111-4.
Darley’s tight control of the run rate continued and the wickets followed. Carson, Kershaw and Simon Cotterill all netted three wickets, Jack Stone wrapping the innings up with a breathaking run out, leaving Breadsall on 171.
In reply, skipper Craig Elliott and Stone looked in freescoring mood, racing to another 50 opening stand. Stone had really begun to accelerate when Elliott was lbw.
Jamie Watts and Jacob Hartley then both tumbled in the space of four balls.
Stone was joined by Kershaw and brought up his 50 in style with a well-timed cover drive, and as the Stone/Kershaw combination reached another 50 partnership, Darley looked to be cruising.
When Stone (68) fell, Darley still felt assured thanks to the venomous batting of Kershaw. However there was an intermittent tumble of wickets and by the 46th over it was left to Richard Askew and Cotterill to try and salvage a draw. Askew’s first run of the season brought wily old Cotterill on strike to see out the match. Darley finished four short.
A draw away to the leaders is not to be sniffed at but Darley will feel aggrieved to have missed out on a crucial win.