Buoyant Stanton Elks are on the brink of the Division Six North title in the Derbyshire County League after a favour from the weather gods in the latest round of matches.
Because their ground at The Stute was playing host to rugby on Saturday, their fixture at home to West Hallam White Rose 2nd was switched to the Sunday -- and how they benefited!
While the scheduled programme for Saturday was washed out by rain, Stanton’s game 24 hours later went ahead, and a 28-run victory extended their lead at the top of the table to 39 points.
Second-placed Stainsby Hall still have a game in hand, but Elks know that if they beat mid-table Wirksworth and Middleton in their final fixture this weekend, they will be crowned champions.
Runs were at a premium against West Hallam and after being put into bat, the hosts struggled, despite a solid start by openers Matthew Sisson (28) and Richard Barnes (14). The bowler to inflict most damage was first-change Richard Swain, who took 5-11 from just eight overs.
Simon Walker, who has just turned 50, dug in to add an unbeaten 18, but Stanton were bowled out for just 105 from 38 overs. It gave West Hallam a golden chance, only for the home team’s bowlers to peg them back, particularly Matt Winfield, who produced a miserly 14-over spell that included 11 maidens and yielded figures of 3-6.
Tom Henshaw (2-10 in nine overs), Tom Lockhart (2-21 in nine) and Walker (2-2 in two) also did sterling jobs, with the result that only two batsmen, John Grimley (22) and Rob Lathbury (21), reached double figures as the visitors were removed for 77 in the 49th over.