Party-poopers Denby inflicted a costly and frustrating defeat on high-riding Chesterfield to dent their pursuit of the Derbyshire County League, Premier Division title.
Magnificent innings by opener Ben Slater, who took a break from his duties with Nottinghamshire to fire a century, and club coach Andrew Parkin-Coates, who hit 74, steered Chesterfield to a total of 233-7.
But mid-table visitors Denby replied with 236-4 for a last-over success, inspired by superb batting from the top four in their order, most notably Ben Chapman-Lilley and Pete Burgoyne, both of whom cracked half-centuries.
The defeat was particularly exasperating for the home side because league leaders Spondon were also beaten -- by three wickets at home to Ockbrook and Borrowash.
With just three matches to play, second-placed Chesterfield now trail Spondon by 16 points and have Ticknall, Ockbrook and Borrowash and Sandiacre Town breathing down their necks.
Their next two fixtures are away, at Elvaston this Saturday and then at Ticknall the following weekend, while Spondon travel to Denby and then entertain Alvaston and Boulton.
Could the destiny of the title yet rest on the final day of the season, on Saturday, September 14, when Chesterfield host Spondon at Queen’s Park?
In sweltering conditions against Denby, Parkin-Coates won the toss and elected to bat first on a pitch that looked to favour run-scoring.
Slater lost his opening partner, Minesh Keshwala, for only seven, but then proceeded to put on 170 with Parkin-Coates in a partnership that showed the class and range of strokes of both players.
The fact that they made their runs in oppressive heat also demonstrated the duo’s grit and concentration, with Slater making 101, including ten fours, and Parkin-Coates’s knock featuring six boundaries.
However, credit must also go to Denby’s bowlers, particularly Joe Wilson, who took 4-30 in seven overs, and Ben Scott, who bagged 3-62 from 12 overs.
Between them, they not only removed both Slater and Parkin-Coates but also ensured the rest of Chesterfield’s batting failed to fully capitalise on such a good start.
Denby’s run chase was given a sound start by openers Chapman-Lilley (65, seven fours) and Wesley Coulentianos (40, eight fours), who shared 90. And with the Chesterfield bowlers getting little out of the wicket, the good work was continued by Burgoyne (57no, one six and six fours) and Chris Fletcher (41, four fours).
Chapman-Lilley put on 50 for the second wicket with Fletcher, who then shared 49 for the third wicket with Burgoyne.
Despite two scalps for Harry Wilmott (2-61), the Denby quartet judged the chase perfectly, with the winning runs coming off the first delivery of the last over.