Wirksworth & Middleton CC
by Maurice Ingham
W & M 1st XI took part in an entertaining draw with Nutbrook on Saturday.
This highly competitive game, generously sponsored by Callow Hall Restaurant, was tilted in Nutbrook’s favour by a blistering unbeaten 90 from Richard Henshaw.
Put into bat, the visitors were in real trouble at 136-8 after 36 overs.
By then Henshaw had settled in and, with numbers ten and 11 for company, 93 runs were plundered from the final ten overs.
It was not always pretty but highly effective and any luck they enjoyed was probably deserved.
Earlier in the innings Nutbrook’s opening batsman, Ben Eaton, made a well-crafted 36, the only other score of note.
All W & M’s bowlers suffered from the final assault, apart from Ant Woolley whose 3-15 from eight overs had helped wreck the visitors’ middle order.
Najaf Shah, still not fully fit, took 1-56 from his 14 overs; Jack Pollard had 1-41 and there were two wickets each for Jimmy Redfern and Jack Allen.
Michael Jefferis kept wicket immaculately conceding just a single bye in a total of 29 extras.
In reply W & M reached 97-3 at the 23 overs, half-way point – 14 runs and a wicket better off than the visitors at the same stage.
But was there a Henshaw-type innings to come? Andy Malia-Barlow fell to a tumbling catch at square leg, one run short of what would have been another deserved half century.
Stuart Poplar, by now well-established at the crease, was beginning to look ominous when, on 37, he was given out lbw, one of the three W & M batsmen to be lbw, none of whom seemed to be in total agreement with the umpires.
Soon the asking rate was nudging ten an over; Luke Boden, returning from cricket exile, made useful runs before being run out and, with a draw the only option, Shah and Pollard secured the fifth batting point and an extra draw point without alarm.