Belper Amateurs’ 1st XI made the short trip to Denby on Saturday in Division 5N of the Derbyshire Premier League, aware that a win could see them re-emerge as strong contenders in the promotion pack.
On a warm, muggy day, Denby won the toss and took the decision to bat first on a wicket that appeared extremely batsman friendly.
Fortunately for the Amateurs, on a pitch where their bowlers would need to be at their very best, the Packhorse natives saw the reunion of formidable opening partnership Jacob Kington (2-24) and Chris Maleham (4-27), the latter having been out of action with a shoulder injury for much of the season.
The skill of the two bowlers appeared too much for the Denby top order, as both utilised the new ball with great effect, reducing the hosts to 26-6, as many edges fell to the safe, gloved hands of Stephen Dymond.
After two excellent spells of bowling, Paul Spencer (2-24), and Dave Nightingale (1-21), were called on to dismiss the Denby tail. This they did capably, reducing Denby to 51-9 until the 10th wicket added an impressive 48 runs, with number nine batsman Matt Manley amassing 31 not out, before watching his partner Jack Richardson lose his wicket to see the hosts dismissed for 99.
After tea, with a below par total to chase, in-form Oliver Deeming imposed himself on the Denby bowlers, hitting a quick 58 which almost saw his side home.
After Deeming’s dismissal, wickets fell in a worrying flurry which saw the Amateurs rocked on 63-5.
A calamitous loss lurked, requiring the Amateurs’ trusted opening bowlers Maleham 16 not out, and Kington 13 not out, to steady the ship, confirming a 27-point victory in the 25th over, seeing the Amateurs move just ten points behind second placed Selston in Divison 5N.