Sandiacre Town’s lead at the top of the Derbyshire Premier League has been cut to 33 points after second-placed Spondon edged a narrow but crucial victory at Locko Road on Saturday.
The three-run win keeps the title race wide open with seven games still to play and with third-placed Ticknall having a game in hand and being set to face Spondon this weekend.
In truth, Sandiacre threw away the chance to take the crucial win. They required just seven runs to win with three wickets standing going into the final two overs, but a late collapse coupled with a timely maiden 50th over from Spondon bowler Tom Williams meant the points went the hosts’ way.
Spondon skipper Joe Ashdown had won the toss and opted to bat first, a decision which proved fruitful as openers Ben Ashdown and Josh Brear progressed to 95 before Ashdown was caught behind by Bill Anderson off the bowling of John Trueman for 42.
Brear continued to make 55 before Rob Cook sent his bails flying to leave Spondon 151-2, Graeme Tyron(37) falling soon afterwards to become first of John Jordison’s four victims.
Joe Ashdown’s 26 and Oliver Baum’s 44 then pushed Spondon along further and they closed their innings on 232-8 with Jordison taking 4-58.
Sandiacre openers Gareth Curtis and James Chapman made 20 and 38 respectively before their departures left Town 72-2 and when Ollie Swann was next to go they were 84-3 and in something of a struggle.
Marius Conway-Jones’ arrival steadied the ship and his 55 would be key to them keeping the game alive as others fell around him relatively cheaply, Cook’s 22 and Jordison’s unbeaten 24 all helping their cause.
But it would end up being a frustrating afternoon for the leaders as they saw Ally Leek (9), Dan Wheeldon (2) fall cheaply before, when needing runs from the last ball, Anderson and Jordison set off looking for them only for Anderson to be run out by Graeme Tryon’s direct hit and a dramatic victory was secured.