Wirksworth and Middleton looking good in club’s 170th year

Ben Perry-Taylor, who has hit a rich vein of form for Wirksworth and Middleton.
Ben Perry-Taylor, who has hit a rich vein of form for Wirksworth and Middleton.

Officials at Wirksworth and Middleton Cricket Club have delivered a pleasing verdict at the halfway stage of the 170th year since they were founded.

The club plan to mark their anniversary with a celebration match on Sunday, September 1 when an all-star president’s team will take on a side from Anthony Gell School in Wirksworth.

So they are keen to make 2019 a year to remember, and the first team are holding a steady mid-table position in Division One of the Derbyshire County League.

They haven’t scored sufficient runs, but Ben Perry-Taylor has hit a purple patch with scores of 87, 84, 79 and 67, while new recruit Sam Leon has provided a regular cutting edge to the bowling attack, taking 7-32 against Ilkeston.

The team’s big disappointment was losing in the cup to Ockbrook in a match that finished in a tie. But with ten matches still to play, Wirksworth expect to end up in the top half of the table.

Top of the class so far, at the club, however, are the fourth team who are clear leaders in Division 9C of the league.

Manager and occasional captain Andrew Redfern has gathered a core of enthusiasts of varying ages who play a cheerful game seriously and have already accumulated five victories.

Wirksworth’s second team have also tasted five wins and have surprised themselves with several good performances to set up a tilt at a top-half finish.

They haven’t been able to field a settled side, but captain Jacob Bradbury has led a solid bunch of performers, with Peter Ashurst, newly promoted to opener, the top scorer.

The bowling unit is also impressive, with young Luke Eaton and Lewis Heap providing the seam attack and left-arm spinner Josef Whitfield deservedly promoted to the first team.

The third eleven is a mix of old soldiers and young hopefuls who also sit mid-table at present.

But the future at the club looks bright because the U17s, well led by Jack Redfern, have recently produced two outstanding performances inside a week to beat Chesterfield and Alvaston.