SANDIACRE Town kept up the pressure on leaders Ockbrook & Borrowash ahead of this weekend’s vital showdown by narrowly overcoming third-placed Spondon by one wicket on Saturday.
The 22 points gained, coupled with Ockbrook’s 27 at home to Ticknall, means 32 points now separate the two teams and a win for Sandiacre at Longmoor Lane is now imperative if they are to have a chance of claiming the honours.
In Spondon they found gritty opponents who complied a reasonable total but thanks to fine innings from James Chapman and Naveed Qureshi the visitors were able to scrape to victory with just two balls to spare.
Batting first, Spondon started reasonably well with an opening partnership of 51 between Ben Ashdown and Nick Rigg, before Dan Wheeldon bowled the former for 30.
Rigg followed for 26 off the bowling of John Jordison, and it became 97-3 when David Hargley became one of Chesney Hughes’ two victims when he was caught by John Trueman.
Jack Ratcliffe, Ben Gartside and Adam Fisher all followed soon afterwards, two to Jordison and one to Hughes, and Spondon seemed in some trouble at 137-6.
But a fine partnership of 72 between Joe Ashdown (49) and Chris Windmill rescued the innings somewhat and when both were out within one run of each other the score was 210-8.
The hosts were eventually all out for 211, with Wheeldon ending on 3-48, Jordison 3-51, Hughes 2-66 and Ryan McFadyean 1-43.
The Sandiacre innings started strongly with Trueman and Chapman reaching 45 before Trueman became the first of two stumpings taken by Spondon wicket-keeper David Hartley when he was on 12.
Hughes followed shortly afterwards in similar fashion for just one run, and when Matt Gouldstone was bowled by Miles Hayhurst for four the visitors were suddenly vulnerable at 67-3, and even more so at 98-5 once Chapman (56) had followed not long after achieving a half century and David Jordison lbw for four off the bowling of Ashdown.
But Qureshi was to be the key to Sandiacre’s success and he steadied the ship with an excellent 70 off 77 balls, including six fours and two sixes, and when he was out, caught by Windmill off Hayhurst, Sandiacre were only 12 runs short of victory.
But they had to hurry as they only had eight balls to achieve it.
Wheeldon launched a six to get things going, and Curtley Read settled the issue with two balls left and Sandiacre claimed the points.
Hayhurst bowled very well to take 5 for 53, Ashdown took 3 for 61 and Windmill the other wicket for the loss of 57 runs.
WITH the third XI out of action it was left to the seconds to give Sandiacre a perfect weekend as they emerged victorious at home to Tutbury.
The visitors batted first but were immediately in a spot of bother as Scott Light was bowled by Andrew Marlowe without a run on the board.
Sam Wesson soon followd for nought to the same bowler, Neil McNamee taking the catch, and it was 45-3 when Craig Watson edged behind to Danny Green off Kevin Newbold’s bowling for 21.
But Marlow and Jono Clare were to be the main tormentors for Sandiacre as they went on to claim four wickets each, though Tutbury’s Robert Ellerington proved a tough nut to crack as he hit an unbeaten half century.
But others fell regularly around him and Tutbury were all out for 142 inside 37 overs.
Marlow finished with 4 for 19, Clare 4 for 32, Neil Smith 1 for 30 and Newbold 1 for 53.
The target proved relatively straightforward for Sandiacre to achieve with them only losing three wickets on the way.
Praveen Chandran was out early on but after Tom Priestley (25) and Green (23) had got things going, Matthew Swann (45) and Ben Trembling (31) saw the hosts over the line.