Skipper is in prime form

Darley Dales 2nds 215-7 drew with Allestree 2nds 169-9.

Darley Dale 2nds produced a wonderful team performance and almost secured maximum points on their travels to overcome a strong Allestree side in what proved a truly inspiring game of cricket.

Asked to bat first, Darley Dale posted an impressive 215-7.

The talismanic Johnny Shaw, in the form of his life, top scored with a dogged 64 that included two of his now trademark huge sixes straight down the ground.

The skipper was ably supported by the ever determined Charlotte Horton who elegantly stroked her maiden half century with a delightful knock of 54.

The duo shared a second wicket partnership of 120 to set Darley a firm foundation for an intimidating total.

A cameo from vice-captain Stuart Taylor shooting a quick fire 29 not out off 14 balls ensured that Darley’s total exceeded the two hundred mark.

After tea, Darley Dale, inspired by Shaw’s rousing ‘put your body on the line’ team talk, produced an awesome fielding display.

The team spirit shone through as every member of the side strove to push for the win and apply pressure to the batsman on the rough and ready pitch.

Horton (3 for 46) bowled with superb accuracy while Taylor (3 for 68) chipped in with his military medium to curtail the home side’s top order.

At 104 for 6 after 28 overs, Allestree looked in trouble but then an explosive partnership between Akhtar and Safi seemed to have taken the game away from Darley with the opposition needing 55 off the last 10 overs. Horton, however, had other ideas and with her candid and resolute deliveries removed the stumps of both batsmen to give Darley the upper hand.

Greg Ward (2 for 18) also contributed a fine spell of pace bowling showing he is more man than boy this season. Phil Chapman (1 for 2), returning to the fold after a long hiatus ,attempted to remove the tail. He nearly succeeded when he took the ninth wicket of the innings but with only four balls remaining in the match Allestree held out for a draw.

Darley Dale will be over the moon at their performance. True it was a case of ‘close but no cigar’ but the team showed a togetherness, determination and cohesion that bodes well for the rest of the season.

On this evidence, promotion is still a distinct possibility.