By Maurice Ingham.
Wirksworth & Middleton’s first XI took a winning draw from a thoroughly entertaining match at home to Tutbury on Saturday.
Choosing to bat first, W & M’s James Thompson, promoted from the 2nd XI, and Michael Jefferiss, promoted up the order, put on 77 for the first wicket with lively batting and excellent running.
Jefferiss went for an elegant 34 and, either side of the drinks interval, two more wickets fell.
Another substantial partnership followed – 109 for the fourth wicket – with Stuart Poplar making an assured 53 while Thompson finished with a highly impressive 92 not out.
After tea Tutbury began cautiously but lost two wickets for 27, both to Jimmy Redfern’s bowling which included a very good catch by Jack Ritchie.
This brought the visitors’ captain, Paul Edwards, to the crease and he and Kamal Manek took the score to 160.
If the early impression was that Tutbury had little relish for the chase this began to change. In a game sponsored by Walkers the butchers the two batsmen gradually displayed an increasing appetite for the challenge with a succession of delicate cuts and meaty blows.
By now the spinners, James Brierley and Ant Woolley, were bowling long spells in tandem and eventually Manek was out for 53 followed by Edwards for 70.
Another superb reflex catch by Ritchie exemplified W & M’s excellent fielding with Luke Boden, especially outstanding, while two wickets from the returning Najaf Shah raised hopes of forcing the win, but Tutbury’s Karl Chadfield remained unbeaten on 34 as the visitors secured a deserved draw.
On Sunday, W & M fell to a seven-wicket defeat to Rolleston in the Marston’s Smooth Trophy second round.
Without several key players, W & M were all out for 171, James Thompson with 44 and Jack Ritchie 55.
Rolleston eased past the target despite wickets each for James Brierley, Neil Doxey and Jack Allen, all caught by keeper Ian Peacock.
Belper Amateurs 1st XI 141-6 (22 points) beat W & M 2nd XI 140 all out (4 points) by 4 wickets
David Hopkinson lost the toss for the sixth successive game and was again obliged to bat first.
Wirksworth made 140, not a big score compared with the previous week’s run fest, but in fact represented a remarkable recovery from a desperate 25-6.
Jack Currell made 38, Ian Peacock 22 and Garry McCabe 22 not out while Hopkinson himself, having opened the batting, was out to the last ball of the 46th over for 26. For the home side, leaders of the division, C. Maleham was the outstanding bowler claiming 4-48.
After tea the hosts made cautious progress against Stephen Lowe and Neil Doxey, who each bowled their 14 overs straight through.
They limped to 21-1 after 14 overs, for example, and then to 46-2 after 23. The two bowlers took wickets each (2-33 from Lowe, 2-27 from Doxey), then new recruit Ashley Spendlove took a wicket as Belper were 70-5 and then 101-6. Steve Dymond, however, remained unbeaten with 60 and Josh Pickering 19 not out to guide the home side to victory with five overs to spare.
W & M 3rd XI 189 all out (8 points) lost to Ockbrook & Borrowash 4th XI 193-9 (22 points) by 1 wicket
This was a disappointing result for the thirds but a wonderful advert for cricket in the division, nonetheless.
It was a game of fluctuating fortunes which could have gone either way. Keith Williams made 20 and Mike Harwood, 15 in an opening stand of 31 before the 3rds slumped to an alarming 75-5.
Captain Colin Julian then made 24 with Gareth Bates in a sixth wicket partnership of 60. Oli Julian made a few and Matt Daldorph added 21 not out as Bates finished with 47.
In reply O & B found themselves in trouble at 23-3 as three of their top order batsmen were dismissed without scoring.
A fourth wicket stand of 82 repaired the damage before another four wickets fell for just 11 runs.
At 116-7 it was anyone’s game but another good partnership of 63 saw the visitors almost home.
N. Fowler made 49 and S. Thomas (three wickets already) made 32. Man of the match, though, was the visitors’ N. Holt who, as well as taking 4-30, scored 69 not out.
For W & M Lewis Heap continued his excellent form with the ball taking 3-35 while Daldorph also took three, albeit rather more expensively.