Rain robbed frustrated Stanton Elks of a golden chance to strengthen their position at the top of Division Six North in the Derbyshire County League.
Travelling to take on relegation-threatened Darley Dale 2nd, Elks were in firm control after reducing their hosts to 132-9.
But then heavy rain began to fall, and it wasn’t long before the match had to be abandoned, leaving the Stanton outfit with just ten points. With two to play, they now head the table by 18 points from second-placed Stainsby Hall, who have a game in hand.
Darley were asked to bat first and although Scott Law bowled an economical spell, conceding only 13 runs from 11 overs, it proved to be a day for the slow bowlers as far as wickets were concerned. Matt Winfield removed both openers for fine figures of 2-27 from 14 overs, but the star turn was Tom Henshaw, who removed the next five batsmen and ended up with 5-41 from 13 overs.
Tom Lockhart also weighed in with 2-26 from six overs, and the only Darley Dale batsmen to offer much resistance were Kevin Thompson with 29 and two players who hit 25, George Riley and Matthew Heath.
This Saturday, Elks are without a fixture, but they return to action on Sunday when entertaining mid-table West Hallam White Rose at The Stute.
THE weather also brought a premature halt to Stanton Elks 2nd’s match in Division Nine North at home to Belper Amateurs.
But not before an alarming batting collapse by the hosts, which did little to quell their relegation fears.
Getting off to a fast start, openers Joe Bird (43) and skipper Mark Aldred (47) put on 72 in 14 overs for the first wicket before Bird was bowled, having hit six boundaries.
However, Belper then introduced leg-spinner Pip Nightingale and although he’d enjoyed little success previously this season, he suddenly popped up with a hat-trick with the first three balls of his fifth over.
Chris Marshall helped Aldred arrest the slide, but after the latter had been caught, the visitors’ opening bowler Mark Green returned to the fray to take the next three wickets to fall, including Marshall for 29 (one six and three fours).
As the skies darkened and the thunder started to strike, Elks lost a ninth wicket too before the rain came and time was called with the board reading 149-9 from 37.2 overs. Green’s final figures were 3-18 from six overs, while Nightingale finished with 3-35 from 12 overs.
This Saturday, Elks travel to bottom-of-the-table Calow.