Leaders West Hallam labour to Dale victory

West Hallam bowler James Lockhart bowls against Darley Dale on Saturday in a match the visitors eventually emerged from with a win.
West Hallam bowler James Lockhart bowls against Darley Dale on Saturday in a match the visitors eventually emerged from with a win.
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West Hallam maintained their position at the top of Division Four North with a win at Darley Dale on Saturday.

But it was far from convincing - the victory only secured with one wicket still standing.

White Rose had not played a league game for two weeks and were coming off the back of a cup defeat the previous weekend.

Captain Tommy Lockhart started well by winning the toss and electing to bowl on a nice green track.

Kristian Tingle partnered Carl Cruz with the new ball and the pair bowled impeccably, keeping the Darley Dale scoring rate to an absolute minimum.

Dale kept wickets in hand with the intention of cutting loose later on in the innings but the change bowlers of James and Tom Lockhart scuppered these plans by making inroads early on in their spells.

A quick blast at the end saw Dale bowled out for 135 with James Lockhart 4-45, Tom Lockhart 3-33 and Cruz yet again pick of the bowlers with 3-17.

Such a modest total should have been no problem for Hallam, especially when George Brandrick and Tim Hampton-Matehe had taken the score to 100 before Brandrick became the first wicket to fall for 65.

What followed was not dissimilar to West Hallam of the past with a dramatic collapse to lose seven wickets for just five runs.

At 105-7 James Lockhart and Ben Clarkson dug deep and patted back the straight ones as the Dale bowlers were gifting wides and no-balls.

When Clarkson fell, after putting on 24 with Lockhart, the score was 129-8.

Tingle came to the crease and left having added just two runs, and the final over began with the score 132-9 and Lockhart on strike.

In a test of nerves it was the bowler who faltered as he sent down a short and wide one allowing Lockhart and Mark Hill to scamper two before a full toss was flicked away for the other two to give Hallam the win that some would say they didn’t deserve.

Darley Dale’s top bowler was Simon Cotterill who took excellent figures of 6 for 15, with Greg Ward taking 3 for 28.

Despite the improved weather conditions, both the second and third elevens saw their matches called off due to pitches still being waterlogged following heavy rain during the week.

The second XI were due to host Clowne Town while the thirds saw their clash at Awsworth fall victim to the conditions.