By Maurice Ingham.
Wirksworth & Middleton first XI’s battle against the drop suffered another blow as they lost by six wickets at home to Cutthorpe on Saturday.
Put in to bat, W&M made rather heavy weather of it. After losing an early wicket, Michael Jefferiss and Jack Pollard put on 55 but took 22 overs to do so.
Cutthorpe bowled tightly and fielded exceptionally. Pollard went for 24; by his standards, a somewhat laboured effort and, at 81, Jefferiss fell for 39.
The season’s new recruits, Ant Woolley and Stuart Poplar, added 56 for the next wicket but Woolley, having just completed a solid half-century, was decidedly annoyed with himself at holing out to deep mid-wicket.
So too was Poplar when, also attempting to up the rate, was out for 22. Soon W & M were 150-7 and, with overs running out, Najaf Shah hit a rapid 23 not out in what, on the face of it, looked like a below par total of 167-8.
The visitors’ batsmen displayed few inhibitions. In fact, in a game sponsored by The Royal Oak, they showed a lot of bottle scoring at four runs an over from the start.
Nigel Kingham retired hurt on 24, but W & M took their first wicket with the score on 91.
There followed a decent period for the firsts. Woolley took two wickets, as did the returning Shah, and Cutthorpe were suddenly 114-4 after 30 overs.
But Jonathan Laverick hit a vigorous, unbeaten 52, and Cutthorpe completed a fairly comfortable victory which leaves them well in contention for promotion.
The second XI produced a virtually flawless win at mid-table Nutbrook by six wickets.
Asked to field first, W&M’s Jack Currell took a very early wicket but Jonathan Taylor (49) and Alistair Hodgkinson (33) put on 83 for the second wicket.
Neil Doxey got that one and after that only Adam Brookes, with 48, offered any resistance as Nutbrook were 161 all out . Currell finished with 3-20 and Doxey 3-54.
In reply, Neil Taylor top-scored for W & M with 57 as the seconds eased home with seven overs to spare.
The third XI bowled hosts Awsworth out for 168, Stuart Wheeldon in superb form with 6-33.
The target was reached for the loss of just four wickets, Jack Canham top scorer on 35.