A valiant rescue-mission by their tailenders was not quite enough to prevent a narrow two-wicket defeat for Belper Amateurs in the Derbyshire County League.
Amateurs loooked set for a total of under 100 at home to Division Six North promotion-chasers Buxton until numbers ten and 11 Harry Bell and Mark Green lifted them to 151-9.
But despite fine bowling by Dave Nightingale, who took four wickets, the visitors still squeezed home with 155-8 in reply with almost six overs to spare.
Nightingale had also fired 29 with the bat, but most of his teammates struggled woefully against Buxton’s varied attack, with seven of them failing to even reach double figures.
The exceptions were Dylan Lloyd, who made 20, and then heroic ‘rabbits’ Bell, who cracked a terrific, unbeaten 44, and Green, who finished on 19no. Amateurs’ total was still not massive by any means, but at least they succeeded in batting out their allotted 46 overs.
The pick of the Buxton bowlers were Matt Poole, who took 3-22 from 11 tidy overs, Elliott Cash-Davies, who took 2-10 in seven, and Harry Griffin, who returned figures of 2-32 from 11 overs.
Buoyed by Bell and Green’s defiance, Amateurs’ bowlers made a bright start after tea as Joe Spencer (1-34 in eight overs) removed opener Josh O’Malley for nought and then caught number three Griffin for one off the bowling of Green (1-21 in six overs).
Buxton gradually recovered, though, in the hands initially of Tom Griffin, who hit 26, and skipper Matt Poole, who struck 24. The middle-order was strong too as Martin Sollis made 45 and Alex Hawley an undefeated 35.
To their credit, Amateurs ensured they didn’t go down without a fight as Nightingale bagged 4-51 from 12.3 overs. But not even he could dislodge Hawley, who steered his side to their target.
Buxton stay second in the table, while Amateurs, who travel to Clowne Town this Saturday, slip to sixth.