Wirksworth and Middleton extend unbeaten run after Sawley draw

Jamie Rowland who took four wickets.
Jamie Rowland who took four wickets.

Wirksworth and Middleton drew a tight match against relegation-threatened Sawley.

Their relegation highlights the close nature of this season with Sawley just 33 points behind fourth-placed Wirksworth.

With ten overs remaining either side could have won it and, while W&M will have been disappointed not to have done so, the draw was probably a fair result. Batting first W&M opened with 44 in good time before a second wicket fell at 66.

Ben Perry-Taylor then joined Jamie Rowland to take the score to 96-2 at drinks.

Both of them batted supremely well before Rowland was caught behind for 62.

That was 161-3 which then became 172-5, with Perry-Taylor out for 75.

An important partnership followed as Rahim Ali, with 20, and Max Marshall, with 22 added 37 in rapid time.

For the visitors the persistent Adam Swain took 4-81 and Robin Owen had 3-35.

After tea, Harry Wanford and Max Marshall bowled good tight spells with the latter making an early breakthrough.

That though was the only success before drinks as Richard Lawton and David Eckersley, batting with increasing authority, took the score to 89-1.

That became 101-1 in the 24th over and, at this point a Sawley victory was a distinct possibility.

In the absence of Ant Woolley, captain Jack Allen juggled the bowlers, but it was a superb bit of fielding that did the trick.

Looking for a second run, Eckersley was run out by a brilliant pick up and direct hit by Marshall at mid-off.

The visitors then slumped from 102-2 to 104-4 when Rowland, displaying his all-round value, took two wickets in an over, including Lawton for 48.

He took a third at 127 courtesy of a stupendous square leg boundary catch by Wanford, before another wicket made it 134/6.

Muhammed Atis took up the challenge and made a very good 45, before three further wickets fell in three overs to leave Sawleyu at 188-9 with four overs remaining.

Then, and only then, did Sawley play for the draw as Rowland finished with 4-54 and Perry-Taylor, also demonstrating his all-round credentials, 3-51.

The Staveley Welfare factor means that only one team will be relegated from Division Two this season and, on this evidence, it certainly won’t be Sawley.