Meadows shake off relegation in style

BELPER Meadows recorded two 27-point wins on the last weekend of the season to see off the threat of relegation.

On Saturday, they went to Nuthall just four points away from the drop zone and knowing full well that achieving safety was totally in their own hands.

Belper batted first on a very low track and this proved difficult for the Belper batsmen to get away, only AJ Marsh (53) found any rhythm with some big hits to the boundary until a stunning one-handed catch ended his innings.

The innings was well placed to go either way, Meadows being 80-4 at the half way mark.

Tom Buckley (26) and Rob Borland (37) rallied though, taking the attack back to Nutbrook with some aggressive running and some big hits.

Only M Witham (3-44) really caused the Belper batsmen much trouble, but this brought Chris Whiteley (28 not out) and Joe Wozniczka-Wells (10 not out) who with some excellent running got the final score to 201 for 7.

In reply, Meadows soon had their tails up with Matt Murfin (5 for 34) claiming several quick wickets with some excellent fast bowling and demolishing the Nutbrook top order.

Ably supported by Rob Borland (3 for 40) Nutbrook were soon reeling but were given a respite by the weather as the rain came down.

After a lengthy delay the players were back out only to return to the pavilion a few overs later as the rain returned.

With the Meadows boys eyeing victory, tensions were high but the weather cleared and eight overs of play were left to get the last three wickets. Step up Woznickza-Wells who got a wicket with his first ball with a beaut of a delivery.

With Rich Marsh claiming a wicket at the other end it fell to Murfin to complete his five-wicket haul in the final over of the game and give the Meadows 27 valuable and well earned points. Nutbrook finishing 94 all out of 32.1 overs.

The final game of the season was always going to be a tense affair with the Meadows requiring at least eight points to avoid relegation.

After being asked to bat openers A J Marsh (29) and Joe Slater (19) set about their task with determination against a strong bowling attack.

Despite the pressure the opening pair put on 70 for the first wicket before both fell in quick succession.

This brought together Phil Ince (66) and Rich Marsh (44) who carved, stroked and dominated their way to an impressive 99-run partnership despite a lengthy break for rain, before the former fell to K Newbold (3 for 72). A quick flurry of wickets followed as the Meadows looked to pass 200 and made it comfortably thanks to Wozniczka-Wells (8 not out) and Tom Buckley (5 not out) ending up on 207 for 6.

Sandiacre now had a choice of going for the runs or batting out until 7pm and came out all guns blazing.

This back-fired though as Matt Murfin (2 for 27) and Rob Borland (6 for 24) soon got stuck in to their top order leaving them reeling at 47 for 8.

With Murfin bowling full and fast and Borland in fine form, ably backed in the field with excellent catches from Tom Buckley and Wozniczka-Wells.

The Sandiacre tail wagged slightly with number 10 Neil Smith (30) showing his team mates how to bat and as the light faded doubt began to creep in. But the Meadows boys believed and 13 year old leg spinner Ben Buckley (2 for 12) claimed the last two wickets to give the Meadows a triumphant finish to the season.

The two wins saw Meadows finish eighth in the table.