Langley Mill’s second team did their promotion prospects a world of good with a winning draw against league leaders Sandiacre Town. With the first’s game against Spondon 2s postponed due to the tragic death of Spondon player Joe Kellogg, the twos took on the lead role and closed the gap on the leaders to just six points, but with that crucial one game advantage.
The teams were greeted with a green and uneven track at Breatson’s Soldiers and Sailors ground with rain on Friday freshening up the surface. Winning the toss was a pre-requisite, but skipper Rich Davey promptly called incorrectly and it was no surprise to see Sandiacre skipper John Rigby ask the Millers to take first knock.
Unusually, the visitors started poorly, losing Jay Holmes, Alex Bacon and Andrew Ball all without scoring and all victims of the experienced Paul Standring.
At 23 for 3, a rebuild was required and Neil Wing and Craig Parker set about the task. The pair put on a 124 run partnership, taking the Millers to 147 before Wing was caught in the deep by Standring, off James Dean, for a patient 83. One run later, Parker fell, caught in the same position, this time off Paul White, for an excellent 58.
With the score on 148 for 5, the hosts were right back in the game, and when Oliver Blake was caught by Neil MacNamee for 9, to give Dean his second, the Millers were faced with a sub-200 score.
However, Dave Farnsworth and Rich Krupiak pushed the score on to 195 before Krupiak was bowled by Anthony Taylor for 17, and despite losing Davey, stumped by John Murfin for a single to give Standring a fourth, the Millers closed on 220 for 8. An above average score for the ground.
Farnsworth, down in the seconds after being dogged by injury all season, finished unbeaten on 33, with Jordan Fredrickson ending on 2 not out.
For the hosts, Standring was the best of the bowlers with 4 for 52 with Dean taking 2 for 38. Taylor and White were the other wicket takers.
Sandiacre started their reply in some style reaching 62 for the loss of only one wicket, that of MacNamee, caught by Fredrickson off Holmes for 13. With the hosts having a firm grip on the game, the Millers turned to the spin of Davey and Luke Rowley. This tactic soon had the desired effect as Rowley found the edge of Murfin’s bat with only his second ball to give keeper Parker a straightforward catch.
With the run rate reduced to a crawl, Davey joined the action, removing Richard Burne leg before for 13 and George Domleo caught by Krupiak for 12, and when Rowley bowled Chambers for 13 with a grub hunter that darted back in the rough, Sandiacre were left on 103 for 5.
Sensing victory, the Millers returned to the pace option and Farnsworth quickly tore through the middle order. On 115, Gareth Davis (9) was fooled by a full toss which struck the top of middle, followed on the same score by Standring playing on for five. Farnsworth picked up his third, bowling White without scoring, but overs ran out and the Millers had to be content with the winning draw.
Farnsworth’s three wickets cost him 40 runs with Rowley returning 2 for 20 from his 11 overs. Davey was equally economical returning 2 for 23 from his 12 and Holmes was the other bowler to pick up a wicket.
Sandiacre retained their top spot with 256 points, with the Millers breathing down their necks on 250. There is a yawning gap of 70 points back to Eckington in third who have their work cut out to close the gap with half of the season completed.
Scores: Sandiacre Town (7pts) 122-8 [46 overs] (J Murfin 38, D Farnsworth 3-41) drew with Langley Mill Utd (19pts) 220-8 [46 overs] (N Wing 83, C Parker 58, D Farnsworth 33*, P Standring 4-52)
Alan Rowley - 10/07/2011