Sandiacre Town returned to the top of the Premier League, albeit by just a point, with a comfortable eight wicket win at reigning Champions Lullington.
John Jordison, standing in for the suspended Rob Attwood, won the toss and it was no surprise to see him put Lullington into bat, given the amount of rain that fell on Friday.
The wicket perhaps didn’t misbehave as much as Sandiacre might have thought, and when Andy Goodwin crashed Ryan McFadyean through the covers for four in the first over there seemed few demons in the pitch.
James Doherty, promoted up the order to open, struggled with the pace of McFadyean – who settled into bowling a good length – and Dan Wheeldon. He did pull a short Wheeldon delivery for four but not before Sandiacre had made a breakthrough.
After a few tight overs McFadyean induced a wild drive from Goodwin who edge behind to Danny Green.
And 13-1 was soon 25-2 as Wheeldon held on to a sharp caught and bowled chance to dismiss Sam Eaton.
Richard Green came in at four and played his natural, attacking game, although he survived a chance when dropped in the slips off Wheeldon he then rubbed salt in the wounds with a thumping drive through extra-cover.
James Chapman came into the attack and was hit for several boundaries as Lullington, in particular Green, started to dominate.
After several boundaries Green became a touch more ‘agricultural’. He missed a horrible swipe at Chapman, hoicked him for four over mid-wicket the next ball and then sent the next straight up in the air for Naveed Qureshi to take a simple catch at mid-off.
It was a disappointing end to his 32 ball innings which yielded 34 runs, handing back the impetus to Sandiacre just when they seemed in the ascendancy.
Doherty was joined in the middle by his skipper Jonny Shales and they took the innings to drinks with the score 86-3 for three at the halfway stage.
Sandiacre struck again straight after drinks, as four wickets fell for just 19 runs, to leave Lullington struggling on 103-7.
Jordison picked up a hat-trick of LBW decisions, trapping Doherty for 17 made from 73 balls, Shales for 18 with one that kept a little low and then Steve Rothwell first ball.
They were followed by Adam Johnson who became Wheeldon’s second wicket, caught in similar circumstances to the dismissal of Green.
The eighth wicket partnership between Alan Gough and George Chapman was Lullington’s second most profitable, as they added 40 runs before Jordison turned to the spin of Qureshi.
He broke the partnership hitting Chapman on the boot in front of all three before having Paul Dawson caught at slip where Chapman took an excellent catch diving sharply away to his right.
The innings was then wrapped up by Jordison (4-38) when Graham Dent edged to Chapman; Lullington all out for 160.
Last year 160 might, and on several occasions proved, to be enough for Lullington as their bowlers and fielders took centre stage, but there was almost an air of resignation about them as they retook the field.
Tom Priestley, promoted from the second team, opened alongside Chapman in place of the absent John Trueman.
And it was Priestley who looked more confident early on, looking to play his shots with drives and clips over mid-wicket against the pace of Dent and Shales.
Priestley had advanced to 36 - and the score to 86 - when he hit Gough to mid-wicket, arguably his strongest shot proving his undoing.
By this time though Chapman had started to find his feet and score more freely, including a gorgeous straight driven six off namesake George.
He and Qureshi took the score to 142 with some more quality stroke-play. Chapman hit three lovely cover drives and Qureshi hit powerfully around the ground.
There was time for the part-time spin of Sam Eaton to end Chapman’s innings for 65 but Qureshi’s unbeaten 39 took Sandiacre to victory.
It was a mixed weekend for the second XI who won a nail-biting match in the league on Saturday but crashed out of the cup at the quarter final stage on Sunday.
Belper Meadows were the visitors in the league in a game that could have been won by both sides as it went right down to the wire.
Belper were bowled out for just 116 as the seam of Kev Newbold (4-45) and the spin of Jono Clare (3-20) and James Taylor (3-17) ran riot.
In reply Sandiacre too lost regular wickets which saw them 102-9 and Belper sensing an unlikely victory thanks to three wickets apiece for Joe Wozniczka-Wells, Robert Borland and Dan Challinor.
However, Neil Smith held his nerve to finish unbeaten on 25, one of only three batsmen to reach double figures, Ben Ruhrmund (21) and Kev Newbold (29) the others.
Sunday was quite the opposite as they were crushed by Division One side Eckington.
Sandiacre batted first and their 179 all out was dominated by a stand of 82 between Ruhrmund (54) and Gareth Goodall (51). James Dean (20*) and John Murfin (14) the only other batsmen to make it into double figures.
Facing a depleted second team bowling attack Eckington - overseas Ruhan Pretorius in particular – made short work of their target.
Pretorius hit 110 from just 54 balls as Eckington needed just 21.2 to reach their target.
The Third team had a disappointing result in their top of the table clash against Langley Mill.
Despite having the Millers 23-3 and having already dropped Neil Wing before he got to 20, the Millers managed to set 220-8 from their 46 overs. Wing went on to make 83, getting good support from Craig Parker (58) as they added 124 for the fourth wicket.
David Farnsworth chipped in with 33* from 28 balls at the end.
Sandiacre’s chances of winning went with the dismissal of John Murfin for 38 and they eventually held out for a losing draw on 122-8 as the Millers tried to force a win.