BELPER Amateurs first XI recorded a narrow six-run victory at Ashover firsts.
Ashover (6pts) 103 all out (Jamie Deeming 4-27, Chris Maleham 3-17) lost to Belper Amateurs (27pts) 109 all out (Oliver Deeming 42, Roger Bolstridge 7-37) by six runs.
There was a reversal of fortunes however when both of the seconds met at Alderwasley.
Belper Amateurs 2nd XI 114 all out (2pts) lost to Ashover 2nd XI 115-3 (22pts)
Belper hosted league leaders Ashover on an overcast and humid August afternoon up at the packhorse ground Alderwasley. In a positive move on a firm batting surface Belper skipper John Beard elected to bat first when he won the toss.
At first his decision seemed vindicated as the score moved to 44-1 with Neil Dalton (20) and Matthew Morris (19) both going well against some disciplined bowling from S Head (3-27).
It was with the introduction of spin that the Belper innings took a turn for the worse as both batsman perished playing expansive shots to J.Durham (2-18) in an attempt to break the shackles and up the scoring rate.
At 58-4 the picture was not looking so rosey and three of the middle order were guilty of playing across the line to balls that didn’t bounce as they expected to be clean bowled.
This left Josh Pickering (5not out) and Liam Pickard (7) to inch the belper score over the 100 mark and with a flurry from the tail the Belper innings ended in the 46th over at 114 all out.
The Ashover reply was relatively unhindered despite accurate but fruitlesss spells from M Green and M. Morris, M Wattrett (39) and S. Cross (31) the principal run getters but their wickets fell with the victory line in sight as Rich Deeming (2-23) and N Sopriwahla (1-18) claimed at least some reward to give the scorecard an air of respectability.
However, Ashover reached the vicory target in the 30th over in a performance which highlighted the gulf between the sides at the top of 7N and those struggling for survival.