By Maurice Ingham.
Wirksworth & Middleton’s first XI took part in an entertaining draw on Saturday, with visitors Aston claiming the larger share of the points.
Drawn cricket matches can sometimes be rather flat, even boring affairs, but this one (sponsored by Ian Faulkner) was never shorn of interest, even in its quieter passages.
Fielding first, W & M bowled with good pace and accuracy but no luck at all as Paul Hindmarch, in particular, beat the outside edge repeatedly.
It was Najaf Shah, however, who made the breakthrough with first change, Jack Pollard, picking up a second wicket.
At drinks, the visitors had reached 78-2. By now Andy Malia-Barlow, left arm spin, and James Brierley, off-spin, were into long spells. They bowled well enough, although both of them leaked too many loose deliveries.
For Aston, Vipul Jeurkar enjoyed a fair amount of luck, but completed a very good hundred from the last ball of the innings.
Malia-Barlow took 3-55 off 11 overs, which included an outstanding catch by Shah, while Brierley had 1-56 from 10 overs. It is worth recording that W & M conceded 24 extras – including 17 wides – against just seven extras by the opposition.
After tea W & M’s innings followed a similar pattern to the first. They also lost two wickets relatively cheaply after which David Greatorex, at his most watchful, and Ant Woolley built a substantial stand.
It was not easy against a varied bowling attack who, in their previous league match, had bowled out O & B 2nd XI for just 38.
The early part of this might well have been somewhat dull, but for the visitors’ entertaining LBW appeals.
It is no exaggeration to say they made 60 such appeals and an understatement to observe most of them were a little optimistic.
Greatorex, lookin g to accelerate, chipped to mid-wicket for 26. Woolley, after his hundred in the previous game, looked increasingly set for another before he edged to the keeper for a chanceless 96.
Shah, given license to swing the bat, hit two towering sixes before being caught a foot inside the boundary.
After that, Jacks Ritchie and Pollard batted out the final two or three overs for the draw.