by Jim Sumner
SHIPLEY Hall survived relegation to Division Three by the skin of their teeth after an enthralling final weekend of the season.
Their match at Sandiacre Town on Saturday was abandoned during Shipley’s pursuit of the hosts’ 182 all out, Danny Haddon having taken 4 for 40.
The game was halted with Shipley on 121-6, and with 12 points awarded it meant Shipley were in a relegation spot and 21 points from safety going into the final day clash at home to bottom side Derby Congs.
To stand any chance of survival, Shipley had to win the toss, accumulate as many runs as possible in the shortest possible time, and make an early declaration in order to bowl out the opposition - all of which while hoping South Wingfield, the side above Shipley in the league, were not faring well against Cutthorpe.
Shipley won the toss and went for runs immediately but with the score on 71 there were four wickets down.
But Shipley stuck to their guns and James Cokayne smashed a brilliant 139 not out and Danny Hanson a superb 75 to allow Shipley to declare at 294-5 off just 37 overs - the first part of their mission accomplished.
Now, Shipley had to bowl out the opposition to claim the full 27 points and then see what was happening with South Wingfield.
The Shipley bowlers and fielders gave their best as they went for victory but there were only three wickets down for 105 with 25 overs gone out of the renewed total of 55.
But, then Cokayne and Hanson started to get among the wickets.
In one brilliant over, Hanson took three wickets, two of them caught by wicket-keeper Martin Starr, and Cokayne gave him great support as did Graham Farnsworth.
Opening batsman Ben Davos played a brilliant innings of 84 to thwart Shipley but he too succumbed LBW to Danny Haddon.
It wasn’t until the 50th over that the South Wingfield batsmen were all back in the pavilion.
Hanson had a fine spell of 5 for 42, Cokayne 3 for 35, Farnsworth 1 for 22 and Haddon 1 for 43, as Shipley obtained their objective of 27 points.
What followed was fairytale stuff. News filtered through that South Wingfield had only earned one point against Cutthorpe in a nine-wicket defeat, and Shipley were home and dry to continue their cricket in Division Two next season following a topsy-turvy and unpredictable campaign.