Ward guides Darley to a home victory

Darley Dale opener Andrew Paulett batting against Clowne
Darley Dale opener Andrew Paulett batting against Clowne

Darley Dale 1st XI attempted to reignite their stuttering 2012 season by entertaining midtable Clowne Town on Saturday in Division 4N.

Craig Elliott won his ninth toss of the season and duly elected to bowl at the visitors in difficult conditions.

Paul Carson and Sam Lightfoot set about the Clowne top order, Lightfoot taking two in quick succession thanks to sound catching from Jonny Shaw and Matt Heath.

Carson repeated the feat minutes later, this time the catches being taken by wicketkeeper Jack Stone and Andy Paulett in the slips.

Darley were very much in the driver’s seat, having reduced Clowne to 31-4.

The introduction of birthday boy Dougie Briggs and the wily Simon Cotterill saw further misery for the visitors, Briggs taking a wicket in each of his first two overs, Paulett and Shaw obliging again in the field.

Cotterill at the other end followed suit and chalked up three quick victims thanks to a catch by keeper Stone, before a brace of catches from Lightfoot.

Briggs wrapped up the innings for just 81 with Darley taking a staggering nine catches.

In reply, Darley made a wobbly start, Paulett (9) and Stone (7) going cheaply. In fact, Darley showed little resistance until Elliott (10) was joined by Greg Ward.

The 17-year-old has recently overcome glandular fever and showed maturity beyond his years to guide Darley, along with Lightfoot (19), to victory, the youngster’s 19 not out proving the difference between the two sides.