Darley sides face nail-biting finish

Darley Dale set up a thrilling last weekend Division Four North finale after a hard-fought victory against ten-man South Wingfield.

Winning the toss, skipper Craig Elliott was looking for the full 27 points on offer and elected to bat first.

The new-look opening partnership of Jack Stone (40) and James Marsden (32) got Darley off to the best possible start with a quickfire 89 partnership before both fell in quick succession.

Stef Jackson (46) and Jamie Watts (52*) took over the run scoring before Jake Hartley’s rapid 17 not out put Darley in a position to declare on 222-3 off 36 overs, which meant Darley had 56 overs to bowl the away side out - most of which they needed.

Dougie Briggs and Paul Carson were their normal stingy selves with the ball, giving away nothing but could not get the early breakthrough.

With Darley needing a win to stay in the hunt for promotion Briggs decided to bowl round the wicket and duly notched up a magnificent match-winning seven wicket spell.

Of Briggs’ seven, remarkably six were bowled, which is a testament to the Darley vice captain’s accuracy this season.

Simon Cotterill and Carson picked up the other two wickets but it was very much the Briggs show as he wrapped up the win and a match-winning performance.

Darley sit in third, just sixpoints behind league leaders Morton.

Next week’s fixtures, including a mouth watering fixture against second-placed Clowne on Sunday at Station Road, will determine which two teams progress to Division Three, with Morton, Marehay, Darley, Clowne and Breadsall all still in the hunt.

Darley Dale 2nds achieved a hard-fought winning draw against a resolute Muggington side which saw them cement their third place in Division 7N but ultimately lose ground on their promotion rivals Morton.

Batting first, Darley started brightly with Jonny Shaw confidently striking the ball around the ground.

With support from skipper Rob Smith (10) and Charlotte Horton (24), Shaw kept the scoreboard ticking over and at the half way point Darley were 74 for 1.

From hereon in however the home side took control. Shaw (46) was caught leg before and a flurry of wickets followed. Matt Heat (13) and the returning Ben Yates (15) managed to dig deep enabling Darley to post a respectable 147 for 9.

In reply Muggington started cagily and scored at a rate of one an over due to some tight bowling by Matt Wright (0-42) and Greg Ward (1-20).

Whilst their scoring was limited, the home side had all their wickets intact until Stuart Taylor (4-33) entered the fray and removed the entire top order to leave Muggington on 83-4 with ten overs remaining.

Horace Hartley (0-32) bowled tightly in support of Taylor and despite some lusty late blows by Hayden (41*) Muggington ended on 134 for 6.

Darley find themselves 15-points short of the promotion places with 54-points up for grabs in the final weekend of the season.