Langley Mill’s second string put last week’s poor performance at Codnor behind them as they readily disposed of third placed Eckington at Station Road on Saturday. The visitors were the only team to have a realistic chance of preventing the Millers from going up but they fluffed their lines as the Millers ran out victors by 111 runs.
Rich Davey won the toss for the Millers and took first knock on a decent batting track. League leading run scorer Neil Wing raced off in his normal style, but with his personal tally on 30 and the scoreboard on 51, he was trapped leg before by Joe Atkins.
Alex Bacon then joined Andrew Ball and the pairing put on 89 for the second wicket before Bacon was caught by Julian Carlile off Harry Smith for 45. Ball survived a bizarre hit wicket appeal when his bails were dislodged with apparently only the Eckington wicketkeeper having a clear view of the incident. Ball rode his luck and went on to make 62 before he was third out, caught by keeper Andy Lee to give Atkins his second.
With the chase for runs hotting up, the Millers lost Craig Parker, leg before to Atkins for 5 and Rich Krupiak caught by Billy Gleadall, off Simon West, without scoring. This left the Millers on 177 for 5 and the game evenly poised.
Nick Wright and Oliver Blake put the hosts back on top taking the score to 208 before Blake was caught by Kieron Marsh, off Gleadall, for 19. In the same over, the 15 year old Gleadall bowled Steve Walker for a duck and the Millers were seven down for 210.
Wright was joined by his skipper and the pair took the score to 250 before Wright went for a non-existent second and was left hopelessly stranded. Wright’s 58 came from 47 balls and included 5 fours and 4 sixes.
Davey blasted a 17 ball unbeaten 24 at the end as the Millers closed on 258 for 8 from their 46 overs.
For the visitors, Atkins returned 3 for 62 and Gleadall 2 for 33. West’s wicket cost him 54 runs and Smith’s cost him 37.
The Eckington reply started badly as they lost Mike Long, caught by Ryan Cox off Bacon with the scoreboard still set at zero. Alex West was run out by Bacon for 15 with the score on 20 and suddenly the Millers were sensing victory.
Bacon struck again with the score on 43 removing Lee, caught by keeper Parker for 10, and Aaron Green, leg before off his first ball. Bacon was in the mix again on 69 when he caught Carlile, off Davey, for 10 and on 79, Marsh was trapped leg before by Davey for 27 to leave the visitors in tatters.
Andy Vaughan took control and despite losing Smith, caught by Blake off Davey for 6, the Eckington skipper hit a rapid 44 before he was caught by Blake on the boundary off the bowling of Cox.
In gloomy conditions, the Millers opening bowlers returned and Bacon grabbed his fourth when Atkins was caught and bowled for 4 followed soon after by Gleadall who was caught by Wing off Walker for a duck. Eckington all out for 147 with their promotion chances now looking slim.
For Langley Mill, Bacon picked up 4 for 33 and League leading wicket taker Davey returned 3 for 11 from his 13 overs. Walker’s wicket was at a cost of 39 while Cox’s wicket was for an expensive 50 runs.
Langley Mill now move to the top of the league, 17 points clear of Sandiacre Town, who visit the Mill on the last day of the season. Eckington now drop 35 points behind the Millers in third. Langley Mill now need just 20 points from their final three games to secure a place in next season’s 5 North.
Scores: Langley Mill Utd (27pts) 258-8 [46 overs] (A Ball 62, N Wright 58, N Wing 30, J Atkins 3-62) beat Eckington (6pts) 147 all out [43.1 overs] (A Vaughan 44, A Bacon 4-33, R Davey 3-11) by 111 runs
Alan Rowley - 04/09/2011