Champagne put on ice after Heanor draw

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West Hallam will have to wait a little longer to be crowned Division Four North champions after they drew with nearest rivals Heanor on Saturday.

A win would have secured the championship but Heanor stood firm and took the winning draw.

Batting first, Heanor got on top early on with Carl Cruz the only bowler to cause problems.

The experience of Brear and Hessey took Heanor to 130-2 from just 28 overs, however the Hallam bowlers hit back and the visitors were bowled out for just 156 thanks to LeeBarrow, Peter Hort and Cruz.

The reply got off to a terrible start when Tom Brandrick was out in the first over.

Tim Hampton-Matehe was caught behind early and Hallam found themselves having lost both openers inside the first few overs for the first time this year.

Steve Rayton and Matt Tatler grafted and got Hallam back into the game but when Tatler was bowled with the score on 62 the legendary Hallam collapse began.

Rayton followed quickly, as did Cruz and Jack Porter as 62-2 turned into 65-6 and James Lockhart and Barrow were at the crease.

The game plan had changed and not losing was at the forefront of the batsmen’s mind.

Lockhart was the next wicket to fall having batted for more than ten overs before getting the one that rolls.

Captain Lockhart joined Barrow and the pair continued to tick off the overs until Barrow got a good ball that just took the top of off stump.

Ben Clarkson was next in and he was out first ball LBW, the victim of a questionable umpiring decision.

Hort strolled to the crease about to face the hat-trick ball with four overs left and one wicket remaining, and he hit a thunderous cover drive for four and followed it up next ball with another boundary, this time back over the bowler’s head.

The overs were running out and when Hort chipped the ball to cover the game should have been over, but inexplicably the Heanor fielder dropped possibly one of the easiest chances you will see all season.

With all the drama unfolding at the other end captain Lockhart had grafted and he patted back the last six balls to rescue a losing draw.

This was a captain’s innings just when his team needed it - the scorebook says nought not out but this was as important as any of his other innings this year.

Hallam go into the last weekend needing 15 points to be crowned champions.