Success in league but defeat in the cup

Andrew Mottershead, Wirksworth and Middleton CC
Andrew Mottershead, Wirksworth and Middleton CC

Wirksworth & Middleton 2nd XI 94-1 beat Kirk Langley 1st XI 94-9 by 9 wickets

After last week’s disappointing defeat at Marehay, it was interesting to see how W&M’s 2nds would approach this game.

They were, after all, playing against the only other side to have beaten them this season, back in early May. On the other hand, the visitors had won just one more since then and began the game fourth from bottom.

In the event, it was a comfortable win for W&M, in a game sponsored by Construction Coatings.

They had won the toss and chosen to field first (as seems the norm this season) and restricted Kirk Langley to fewer than two runs an over from the outset.

Indeed, at the first drinks interval after 16 overs (there was a bit of sunshine) the score was 29-3 with Andrew Mottershead having all three wickets. A fourth wicket stand of 49 took 21 overs to compile. With captain David Hopkinson marshalling his bowling options to good effect, some of the visitors’ batting was as intriguing as watching paint dry.

When they did attempt to increase the tempo, the subtleties of Neil Doxey’s bowling were too much for them. Aided by a brilliantly sharp stumping by Michael Jefferiss and a tumbling catch from the captain, Doxey finished with 5-35 and Mottershead 4-18 from 14 overs.

In reply, Jefferiss, prepared to play a supporting role, and James Thompson put on 48 for the first wicket with few alarms. Thereafter, Jack Ritchie made a fluent 18 not out as Thompson completed a very fine unbeaten half century to seal a win inside 22 overs.

This Saturday, the 2nds travel to Darley Dale in what promises to be a sterner test of their promotion credentials.

W&M 3rd XI 80-2 beat Clowne Town 3rd XI 78 all out by 8 wickets

Another comprehensive victory for the 3rds in Division 9N, their fourth in succession, subjected the visitors to only their second defeat of the season while ensuring W&M remain top.

This match wasn’t, at first, as routine a win as it might appear. Against decent opening spells from Lewis Heap and Joe Bradbury, the opponents only lost their first wicket on 38 and their second, after 22 overs, at 59.

It was pretty good progress, in fact. The introduction of Mike Whittall changed the shape of the innings to devastating effect. In fewer than eight overs of off spin, Whittall returned career best figures of 7-9 which, as if that wasn’t sufficient, included a hat-trick (all clean bowled) to finish off the innings. His father (who incidentally is keen to get a game himself) will have been very proud.

Ian Wright top-scored for Clowne with 26 while Keith Williams, 2-17, and Matt Daldorph, 1-25, were W&M’s other successful bowlers.

In reply, Tom Boylan hit a solid 35 in an opening stand of 54. Another wicket gave the visitors a solitary point while Mike Harwood finished on 38 not out as W&M reached the target in just 16 overs.

This weekend, the 3rds play two home games: Saturday at the Middleton ground, Sunday at Wirksworth. They must surely relish these matches against Codnor and Awsworth, second and third in the table.

W&M 1st XI 89 all out lost to South Wingfield 1st XI 90-6 by four wickets.

On Sunday, the 1sts’ hopes for a league and cup double were dashed within the opening 30-40 minutes of this Bayley Cup semi-final game.

After half a dozen overs, they were 5-3 and sometime later 20-5. The top four batsmen scored just six runs between them, after which it became an attritional battle to survive the 45 overs and muster what they could.

Unluckiest, perhaps, of the top order was Andy Malia-Barlow who fell to a catch which had no business being made at this level of cricket.

The catcher was South Wingfield’s Sri Lankan overseas player, Minesh Rajaratne (his second excellent catch) who would later on feature significantly.

A couple of gritty stands, 26 for the sixth wicket, 37 for the eighth, at least saw W&M use up most of the innings. James Brierley top-scored with 19 and James Thompson made 14.

For the visitors, whose fielding, as well as their catching, was superb, Rob Borland’s bowling brought him 4-12 from his nine overs.

If they were to have any chance of winning, W&M needed early wickets. Stephen Lowe got one with the score on six and W&M felt they should have had two more, which would have reduced South Wingfield to 7-3 (including the wicket of Rajaratne). As it happened, the next wicket fell at 37 and the Sri Lankan went on make 42, easily the top score of the game. David Greatorex tried seven bowlers – six of whom took a wicket – with Lowe and de Silva outstanding in their nine overs each, taking 1-5 and 1-8 respectively.

Whether another 30 or 40 runs would have made the difference is debatable since sides batting second attempt to adapt to the total required. The fact remains that W&M only scored 89 and in almost any situation that simply cannot be defended.

This Saturday, the 1sts return to league action when they entertain Spondon, currently bottom of Division 3.

That will count for nothing, of course, as W&M look to cement their lead at the top. They will be heartened that the two sides below them both suffered abandoned matches – and six points each – as they did too.