Ockbrook & Borrowash 2nd XI 249-9 (18pts), drew with Wirksworth & Middleton 1st XI 206-8 (12pts)
While some of the incidental details are uncertain, this would appear to be a much-improved performance by the firsts in this Derbyshire County League Division Three encounter.
Certainly the result and point tally is encouraging. Matches against premiership clubs’ second 11s are often tricky encounters and this one, against second placed O&B, was no exception.
Matthew Wood, a player with premiership experience, top scored with 72 and, at one point, a larger total looked likely.
W&M’s bowlers stuck to the job valiantly, although they just failed to get maximum bonus points. Vyash Gobind finished with 3-53 and Stephen Lowe 4-48. New signing Iftikher Ahmad, in his second game, took a wicket and there was a run-out as well.
W&M’s top order certainly gave it a go. Reports reaching the seconds’ match had the firsts needing under 100 to win with 17 overs and seven wickets in hand: a distinctly winnable position. Of those, Ahmad, completing an impressive performance, had made 70. Alas, a middle order collapse, during which Luke Boden was out for 36, saw W&M playing out for a creditable draw.
Wirksworth & Middleton 2nd XI 265-6 declared (27 pts) beat Clay Cross 3rd XI 118 all out (4pts) by 147 runs
A highly efficient batting display by the seconds in Division 8N was followed, eventually, by a sufficient bowling performance.
All the batsmen made runs: Andrew Redfern top scored with 58, while Liam Murphy and captain David Hopkinson reached the 40s. Neil Taylor made 23, Peter Ashurst 24 and, towards the end, Jack Currell a dashing 38 not out. So, in a game sponsored by Ian’s Hairdressers, there were a crop of good contributions.
An especially encouraging aspect of the performance was that everyone had an influence on the match. Lewis Heap, up from the thirds (who didn’t have a game), bowled a tight opening spell.
Although wicketless, he made sure the Clay Cross opening batsmen didn’t get off to a flier. At the other end, Gary McCabe broke the opening partnership of 31 with a superb yorker. Martin Dance got another but the visitors, while playing some nice shots, were content to use up the overs in pursuit of the draw.
For variety, Redfern came into the attack, bowling an engaging assortment of deliveries which frequently had the batsmen caught in two minds. He took a wicket; so too did Neil Doxey – an excellent catch off his own bowling – but at 104-4 after 37 overs, Clay Cross looked like achieving their limited aim.
The introduction of Currell and the return of Redfern, however, changed things dramatically. Removing the last senior players, they ran through the visitors’ young tail enders without much trouble. Currell took 4-10, Redfern 3-10 with all the bowlers aided by wicketkeeper Ian Peacock with three smart stumpings and a catch. This was the seconds’ sixth win in succession after opening with four draws.
Finally, the previous week’s comfortable win against Waleswood in the Sunday League meant W&M replaced them at the top of the division, and an equally sweet victory at the weekend saw them defeat Ashover and avenge the earlier defeat. The win keeps W&M firmly ahead in the table.