Tabletopping Sandiacre Town are all set for a crunch match against their closest rivals for the title this weekend after another convincing victory in the Premier Division of the Derbyshire County League.
Sandiacre swept aside Rolleston by seven wickets after dismissing their visitors for just 148, and the win sent them 25 points clear of second-placed Eckington, whom they travel to meet on Saturday. After that, four more games remain.
The scourges of Rolleston were bowlers Dan Wheeldon and Robert Cook, both of whom picked up four wickets. Wheeldon took the new ball and was difficult to handle, soon removing opener Alex Brown for two and then number three Tom Liversage for ten.
Visiting skipper Gareth Marshall stood firm, occupying the crease for 99 balls to make a stubborn 46 (three fours), but even he fell in the end to Wheeldon, who finished with figures of 4-60 from 13 overs.
Rolleston’s middle order threatened to make a contest of it, with Richard Green hitting 34 (five fours) and Muhammad Zaroob 20 (two sixes), but once they had gone to John Jordison (1-18 in ten overs) and Matt Newbold (1-16 in seven overs), Cook came into his own. He cleaned up the lower order and tail in an 8.4-over spell that yielded a return of 4-22.
When Sandiacre replied, they were given an early scare as opener Scott McNeill was trapped lbw for a duck. But from then on, it was plain sailing and they reached their modest target inside 34 overs.
James Chapman led the way with a sensible knock of 63no that spanned 110 deliveries and included one six and seven fours. He shared a stand of 87 for the second wicket with Dan Birch, who struck 35 (two sixes and two fours).
Both Birch and then Cook (14) were accounted for by Liversage (2-23 in four overs) who, as fifth change, proved to be Rolleston’s most effective bowler. But Chapman was not for budging and he carried his bat to steer Sandiacre to victory alongside Jack Anderson, who added an undefeated 12, all made up of boundaries, at the death.