by Jim Sumner
Shipley Hall remain near the top of Derbyshire League Division Three after just beating the clock to earn a winning draw at Hilton on Saturday.
The match was delayed by an hour due to rain, and when the action did get underway on a sodden pitch, Shipley batted first.
The first three batsmen, Mark Starr (51), Neil Parkin (48) and Martinus Gouws (48) all played well to give Shipley an excellent foundation, with Gouws hitting seven fours and a six in his sparkling innings and Starr continuing his feast of runs.
Parkin was close to his half-century when he had to retire hurt on 48, but the job was done.
With 19 extras and a few more runs from the later batsmen, Shipley reached 196-7 from their re-adjusted 30 over allocation.
For Hilton, Joe Webb took 3 for 65.
The weather was still the main problem on a cold, showery afternoon, but players on both teams put aside their discomfort and carried on.
The Shipley bowlers turned the screw and in a superb spell of bowling, Ryan North (3 for 32) and Gouws (3 for 29) had Hilton in real trouble.
They were well supported by Matt Murfin (1 for 10) but the big danger for Shipley was whether they could complete their 30 overs in the time allowed.
They just about did it, starting their final over with just one minute to go.
This meant Shipley gained a winning draw, earning 18 points to Hilton’s four on a day when many teams were unable to claim many points due to the weather.
Shipley now look forward to entertaining West Hallam, the league leaders, at home this Saturday.
Shipley’s second XI, meanwhile, saw their match with Alfreton abandoned in Division Seven North.
But that wasn’t before Dale O’Keefe had hit an unbeaten century as his side recorded 200-7.
Alfreton then reached 62-1 before the rain came along and brought the game to a premature halt.