After the waterlogging of the Packhorse Ground on Saturday brought no contest between Belper Amateurs and Belper Meadows in what would have been a pivotal Division 5N promotion clash, Belper Amateurs went into their DCCL Wright Cup semi-final against Allestree 1st XI with fresh legs on Sunday, writes Billy Deeming.
On a pleasant day on the Alderwasley/Ashleyhay border, Amateurs lost the toss and were put in to bat on a drying but superb cricket wicket that would go on to create an extremely fair contest between bat and ball.
The form of Oliver Deeming in this year’s Wright Cup has been phenomenal, which has already seen the opening batsman register two centuries in three cup matches at the Packhorse Ground.
Once again, Deeming (pictured: photo by Terry Fletcher) appeared in excellent nick, imposing himself on the Allestree opening bowlers with what is becoming a trademark cover drive, a stroke which saw him get the Amateurs off to a healthy start.
On a pitch where Deeming appeared largely at ease, it was only John Beard who stayed at the crease with the opener to accumulate a meaningful score of 33.
It was after 41 overs that Deeming brought up another cup century, and when he fell a few moments later to Matt Probart, (3-48), for an excellent 107, the Amateurs’ tail managed to add the final touches to eventually amass a competitive score of 216-8 from 45 overs.
In reply, Allestree got off to an equally impressive start.
Assisted by a wicket that had grown much drier during the tea break, Ben Sarton, 37, and Matt Probart, 31, capitalised on anything off length from Amateurs’ opening bowlers Jake Kington (1-48), and Chris Maleham (1-54).
With the aforementioned Allestree batsmen scoring runs at a dangerously fast pace, Amateurs called on Oliver Deeming (2-34), and David Nightingale (1-29), who between them dismissed both Sarton and Probart.
The wicket of Sarton resulted in the entry to the crease of Steve Hanson, and it was clear that the Amateurs’ fate would lie behind the number four batsman’s wicket, as requiring 140 runs to win at a run a ball, Hanson appeared the only remaining batsman capable of leading such a run pursuit.
For the majority of the final 20 overs, the game ebbed and flowed as slowly but surely Paul Spencer (2-36) increased the required run rate for Allestree. With four overs remaining and heroic batting required, Hanson answered his team’s call, hitting three sixes off a Spencer over to firmly push the odds in the visitors’ favour.
This called the death bowling of Jake Kington i to question, with the visitors requiring just nine runs from the final over with two wickets to spare. Cool under pressure, Kington bowled superbly for the Amateurs, backed up by some excellent fielding, which saw the Allestree innings conclude on 211-9 with Hanson stranded at the crease on 78.
As a result of this nailbiting triumph, Amateurs progress to the final, to be played at Heanor Town Cricket Club on August 17 against Rolls-Royce Leisure.