By Maurice Ingham.
Wirksworth & Middleton’s produced a fine fightback as they claimed victory at Staveley Welfare on Saturday.
Some way into the second innings of this game, W & M, second to bottom against their second-placed hosts, were a worrying 48-3 chasing 165 to win, but then it all got much better and they were able to charge over the line for a five-wicket win.
Before all that the return of Stephen Lowe was a big plus factor. On a greenish, tricky pitch he picked up two wickets in a typically tight spell.
Najaf Shah was effective as well – also claiming two wickets – while James Brierley’s off-spin collected 3-33. For the home side, Joe Bullimore top-scored with 40.
After tea – and after the awkward 48-3 – Jack Pollard made his best, and most valuable, score of the season so far.
There were decent contributions from Michael Jefferiss, Ant Woolley and Stuart Poplar, but Pollard’s 76 not out, along with Najaf’s 20 not out, led W & M to a thoroughly deserved but hard-won victory.
W & M’s second XI also played Staveley Welfare but were unable to replicate the first XI’s achievements on their own patch.
Captain David Hopkinson lost the toss for the seventh successive game, and his bad luck didn’t end there, as opening the innings he was run out to end a promising stand of 28.
Three further wickets fell to reduce W & M to 55-4 before a very good partnership of 83 saw Tom Boylan make 52 and Peter Ashurst (also run out) 58.
After that Jack Currell made 18 to help the total to a competitive 169.
For the visitors Craig Lynham took 2-27 and Paul May 3-38.
After tea May, who is clearly a talented cricketer, top-scored for Staveley with 55 as Neil Doxey and Jimmy Redfern took two wickets each.
At 103-4 W & M still had hopes of a win but a mature 35 not out from 15-year-old Josh Pickering helped steer the visitors to only their second win of the season.
The match was generously sponsored by John Thompson.
The third XI fell by eight wickets at Swanwick Hall, being bowled out for 87 and then only managing two wickets as the home side eased to victory.