Brailsford 1st XI 176-6 (8 points) drew with W & M 1st XI 242-5 (18 points)
Another much-improved performance by Wirksworth and Middleton 1sts in Division Three of the Derbyshire County League saw them dominate this winning draw against second placed Brailsford.
In this tightest of divisions, with just 66 points separating the top and bottom teams at the start of play, W & M have now recorded highly creditable draws against three of the top four sides since their last defeat. The 18 points lift them yet another place in the table.
Too often this season, W & M have made promising starts of 40 or 50 without managing major ones. On Saturday, they put this right in fine style as Andy Barlow (54) and Aafan Janjua (94) added 157 for the second wicket.
Further contributions from Iftikher Ahmed, Luke Boden and Vyash Gobind’s 19 not out helped towards a decent total. For Brailsford, Tom Gadsby took three wickets.
In reply, Gadsby made some runs as well, along with Stewart Edge (49) and Nick Birds (56). Stephen Lowe’s 3-48 and Gobind’s 2-44, however, ensured the home side never seriously threatened to reach the target. Jack Pollard was the other successful bowler.
Four draws and a 27-point win from their last five matches have surely instilled more confidence in the team as they look to climb up the table.
W & M 2nd XI 141 all out (3 points) lost to Wingerworth 144-3 (22 points) by 7 wickets
The visitors, second in Division 8N at the start of play and top by the end of it, inflicted W & M’s first defeat of the season. They lead the table by 11 points, although they have played two matches more.
While it was obviously a disappointing result for the 2nds, the manner of defeat was equally disappointing. In a game sponsored by Construction Coatings, there can be no glossing over the fact that this was a poor, rather lacklustre performance.
Andrew Redfern and Neil Taylor were back in the pavilion with just 24 runs on the board. Both batsmen have each scored over 400 runs already this season, both averaging over 50. So, not the start W & M hoped for.
Captain David Hopkinson and Liam Murphy embarked on a cautious partnership but, at the halfway point, the score was 62-2. By this time, the brothers Grant – John and Eddy – were bowling in tandem (and did so for the rest of the innings). From the boundary, they looked fairly innocuous but, given that they took four wickets each, they clearly weren’t.
Murphy was out for 21 shortly after drinks, attempting to inject pace into the scoring rate, and the big-hitting, middle order also, for once, failed. Hopkinson was eventually out for 55 and, at the end, Matthew Daldorph made 14.
After tea, Gary McCabe took two wickets to have the visitors 29-2 but when he suffered a back injury and had to leave the field, Richard Oades and Eddy Grant, took the score to 94. Redfern claimed the third wicket but by then, W & M looked a beaten side.
With the unbeaten run gone, they can now concentrate on enjoying their cricket and performing as well as they have been.
Ashover 3rd XI 158 all out (4 points) lost to W & M 3rd XI 159-2 (22 points)
The 3rds’ inexorable progress continued with another Division 10N win, their tenth of the season, against Ashover. For the home side only N. Saxton, carrying his bat for 89 not out, offered any real resistance as Joe Bradbury 4-44 and Martin Dance 2-26, destroyed the top order.
In reply, two excellent innings from Peter Ashurst with 77 and captain Colin Julian’s 64, put on 148 for the first wicket as W & M reached the target in just 31 overs.
Another win for the Sunday side, their ninth from 11 games, sees W & M remain well on top of the table.
Lewis Heap, Jimmy Redfern and Jack Currell took wickets as Chesterfield Barbarians were dismissed for 140. James Thompson then scored 40 and Jack Currell 34 not out as W & M won by five wickets.
This week, they entertain Papplewick (2pm).