Darley Dale seconds bounced back from back to back losses to collect a much-needed 15 points in a thrilling encounter against Heanor Town seconds at Station Road.
The match ebbed and flowed and there were twists and turns galore as each side battled to take the win.
Darley batted first and started slowly but solidly with Topley (11) and Watson (17) taking the shine off the new ball. Wickets then tumbled however and with Darley left on 33-3, an innings building partnership was needed. This came in the form of the enigmatic Horace Hartley (26) and the returning prodigal son Rob Smith (40).
The two built a firm foundation and with stand-in skipper Stuart Taylor adding a quickfire 28 not out Darley reached a respectable 153-7 off their 46 overs.
In response, the Heanor top order kept up with the required run rate despite some tight bowling from the Darley openers Bittles (2-48) and Taylor (1-23). It looked as though Heanor would cruise to victory but with the introduction of the experienced Neil Fennah (4-41) the game was turned on its head.
Fennah, battling through the pain barrier due to a painful knee, took the key wickets of Barlow (27) and Fletcher (46) and this sparked a collapse. Heanor required only 13 from the last two overs of the game but with wickets tumbling decided to bat out for the losing draw, eventually finishing on 145-8.
Darley will be delighted with their performance, especially given the loss of skipper Johnny Shaw, who is on the sidelines indefinitely with a serious shoulder injury he picked up in a previous week’s fixture. The loss of Shaw has left an irreplaceable void in the side but the squad is determined to make their captain proud over the forthcoming fixtures and wish him all the best with his recovery.