A controversial umpiring decision at a key moment cost Langley Mill United dear after they had reached the final of their qualifying group in the Derbyshire County League’s T20 competition on Sunday.
The Millers had beaten Second Division rivals, Matlock, in the semis before coming up against First Division Elvaston on their own ground in the final.
On a deteriorating track, they did well to restrict the hosts, who needed a brisk 32 from Ben Wright, 26 from Nick Briars and 24 off the last over, smashed by Matt Heafield (45no), to get them up to a respectable total of 149-5 from their 20 overs.
And in reply, they were progressing satisfactorily on 49-3 from eight overs, after 18s from Jay Holmes and Fritz De Beer, when Paul Bailey was given out caught behind. Bailey could not believe it and even consulted the square-leg umpire to determine whether he’d fallen to a catch or a stumping. But the bails were still on and he had to walk for what was deemed to be an edge to the wicketkeeper.
The decision upset the rhythm of the Millers and they never really recovered. They continued to have a go, with Danny Hanson firing a quickfire 25 and skipper Andrew Bailey adding an unbeaten 23. But with Clayton Floyd taking 3-27, they slid to 119 all out in the final over to send Elvaston through to Finals Day at Ilkeston Rutland later in the season.
Superb batting had destroyed ten-man Matlock in the group semis, with the Millers posting a formidable total of 194-8 before skittling their opponents for just 97.
The platform was laid by openers Lewis Pinder, who cracked 50 (one six and five fours), and Holmes (25), who put on 86. An alarming collapse resulted in a slump to 104-6 as Matlock’s Steve Haslam wreaked havoc with 4-33 from four overs and Rob Lowe also bagged 3-26 from four overs. But Langley Mill regained the initiative in the hands of Jack Scott and Alex Bacon.
Scott slammed 42, including two sixes and four fours, while Bacon blasted 35, including one six and three fours, in an eighth-wicket partnership worth 61.
Matlock’s reply was never in the hunt, especially after a slow start of just 19 from the first five overs. Andy Paulett did hammer four sixes and six fours in an entertaining 62, but no other batsman could muster more than eight as wickets fell to Bailey, Scott, Holmes, Bacon and Hanson.