Sandiacre Town were unable to fully capitalise on title rivals Ockbrook & Borrowash only managing to draw as Town themselves had to share the spoils with Alfreton.
The winning draw moved Sandiacre just a point closer to the leaders, with the two sides meeting in a crucial title battle in Ockbrook this weekend.
Saturday’s clash with relegation-threatened Alfreton saw the visitors win the toss and put Sandiacre into bat, which was music to the ears of opener James Chapman who proceeded to hit 18 fours and a six on the way to a sparkling century, eventually being the final Town wicket to fall for 116 not long before captain Dan Wheeldon declared on 243-7.
Following Mitch McCann’s departure for just five LBW, Chapman and Rob Cook put on a partnership of 83 for the second wicket, Cook eventually out for 63.
Only Ryan McFadyean (28) further down the order would provide much more quality for Sandiacre - he hit three sixes in his brief appearance - but the total achieved looked more than enough for victory.
That, however, would require Alfreton to be bowled out first, something that ultimately proved too tough to achieve.
Opener Anthony Mosca proved a stubborn opponent with 38, as was Ryan Bramwell with 33, although at one point Alfreton lost three wickets without scoring a run to go from 76-1 to 76-4.
But John Aspinall, who had taken four wickets to frustrate Sandiacre’s batsmen, then did similar with the bat as his 55 helped keep Alfreton in touch and although he eventually became eighth wicket to fall, Alfreton hung on to secure a losing draw.
John Jordison with 4-44 was the pick of the bowlers.
Saturday’s crucial game at Ockbrook & Borrowash will then be followed by the semi-finals of the National Club Championship on Sunday when Sandiacre will head to Lancashire to face Chorley, the winners earning a place in the final at Lord’s.