Struggling champions Sandiacre are Cut to ribbons

OWZTHAT! -- Sandiacre appeal to the umpire for a wicket during Cutthorpe's innings.
OWZTHAT! -- Sandiacre appeal to the umpire for a wicket during Cutthorpe's innings.

Reigning champions Sandiacre Town continued their indifferent start to the Derbyshire County League, Premier Division season when slipping to a suprise defeat at Cutthorpe.

Sandiacre were skittled for just 100 to crash to an 84-run reverse against a Chesterfield-based home side who had not won any of their opening three matches.

Now the title-holders themselves have just one victory to show from their first four fixtures, leaving them no higher than mid-table as Spondon stride on at the top.

On winning the toss, Cutthorpe opted to bat first and accumulated runs all the way down the order without ever looking too convincing. Indeed, apart from skipper Dan Wheeldon, who leaked 72 runs from 13 expensive overs, the Sandiacre bowlers did a creditable job, despite conceding 18 wides.

Matt Cluer (17) and Kevin Leatherday (13) shared 27 for the first wicket before the former fell to Ryan McFadyean (2-39 in 15 overs) and, seven runs later, the latter was caught off Wheeldon.

The best stand of the innings followed as Pakistani veteran Asadullah Butt (25, four fours) and Paul Burdett put on 52 for the third wicket to lift the score to 86 for two. But once McFadyean had got rid of Burdett, Cutthorpe were unable to press home their advantage.

The main reason for that was Sandiacre’s second-change bowler Marius Conway-Jones. The seamer produced an excellent seven-over spell that yielded five quickfire wickets, including that of the home team’s top scorer, Edward Barlow, who struck 41, including two sixes and five fours.

Spinner Robert Cook (1-35) also weighed in with a wicket that his tidy 15-over spell deserved, and Cutthorpe ended their allotted 50 overs on 184 all out. Curiously, all bar one of their batsmen fell to catches, including three by Bill Anderson, two by wicketkeeper Curtley Read and two by Oliver Saffell.

At tea, Sandiacre must have fancied their chances, and when openers Gareth Curtis (23, four fours) and James Chapman (17) embarked on a partnership of 42, their confidence surely soared further.

However, what followed was little short of disastrous as they lost seven batsmen for just 29 runs and were eventually polished off by the 40th over.

Only Cook, with 28 (three fours) at number five, could stem the tide of wickets, most of which fell to wily all-rounder Butt and new-ball paceman Josh Savage.

The impeccable Butt (5-25 in 15 overs) removed both Curtis and Chapman and also tempted ex-Derbyshire CCC powerhouse Dan Birch into a loose shot first ball, while Savage (4-25 in 11.5 overs) claimed the scalp of Cook.