Poor weather came to the rescue of Stanton-by-Dale as they looked to be heading for certain defeat at home to promotion-pushing Trentside in Division Six South of the Derbyshire County League.
Stanton were on the receiving end of a remarkable century by Trentside batsman Adnan Hamid, who cracked 108 from only 80 balls in a total of 214-9. And they were in big trouble on 112-7 with almost 12 overs still to go when the heavens opened and forced their sixth rain-hit abandonment or cancellation of the season.
The outcome left Stanton next to bottom in the table, with a daunting trip to play tabletopping Burton up next on Saturday, while frustrated Trentside sit third, 11 points behind the Staffordshire leaders.
Beginning the game with a wet outfield and with heavy rain forecast, both sides set about securing as many bonus points as possible. As such, Stanton were happy to see captain Chris Guest win the toss and elect to field first, and even happier when the ever-reliable Jim Keys (3-55 in 14 overs) picked up the first wicket when Liam Stone nicked the ball to wicketkeeper Jed Smith.
A committed bowling display ensured the hosts did enough to restrain Trentside’s progress in the first 20 overs, with Nigel Colley (2-81 from 14 overs) taking the wickets of Richard Seaborn (ten) and skipper Ross Hayward to leave the visitors 77-3.
However, Hamid, the remaining opening batsman, was set by this stage and he duly began to accelerate the scoring, delivering an exquisite display of
technically-sound, clean hitting. By the time he was eventually dismissed, mis-timing a shot that Dave Grummitt caught impressively while sliding in from long-off from the bowling of Ben Turner (2-32 in eight overs), he had provided Trentside with most of their 145 runs.
Disciplined bowling from Stanton spinners Turner and Sandeep Verma (0-34 from ten overs) brought about more wickets, with only number five, Ryan Brown (30), making any real contribution with the bat in the middle overs. And at 179-8, Stanton felt confident of restricting the opposition to a chaseable target, provided the rain continued to stay away. However, an exciting cameo from Trentside number ten, Daniel Shreeve (22), changed the dynamic of the innings.
With the weather beginning to deterioratey, the visitors’ batting heroes Hamid (1-31) and Shreeve (2-15 from nine overs) ensured Stanton’s replay lacked any real momentum, with openers Ian Grummitt and Phil Gregory removed for seven and 13 respectively.
Showers caused a 30-minute delay and also prompted the home side to shift attention to protecting their wickets on the noticeably less predictable surface. Unfortunately, the stoppage had little impact on the rhythm of Shreeve, who accounted for Sandeep Verma (18) just as the diminutive all-rounder was beginning to look assured at the crease.
Guest and Rob Ellen set about steadying the Stanton ship, but once the latter had been bowled by Sam Shelton, the pressure began to build, especially when young Trentside bowler Harry Triptree (2-32) removed the home captain for 22 and Keys for ten. At 86-6, Stanton found themselves in a fight for survival before that rain eased the tension.