LANGLEY Mill United CC’s second team were unable to dismiss the Staveley Welfare final pair and had to be content with a winning draw at Station Road on Saturday. Set 242 for victory, the visitors were never in the hunt and finished 92 short of the Millers score.
Batting first, makeshift openers Andrew Ball and Ryan Brunelleschi put on 169 for the first wicket. Ball was first to go, bowled by Sam Hardwick for 92 (14 fours and a six), followed by Brunelleschi, caught by Dave Gray off Jon Bullimore for 81 (11 fours).
On 223, the Millers lost both Alex Bacon, caught by Joel Whybrow off Daz Nicholson for 41, and Rich Krupiak, bowled by Brandon Groves without scoring. This left Craig Parker (10 not out) and Oliver Blake (11 not out) to bat out the remaining overs taking the Millers to 241 for 4.
Staveley started their reply well reaching 61 before Dave Gray was caught by Ball off Rich Davey for 42. Sam Hardwick hit 20 before he was bowled by Bacon with the score on 94, and on the same score, Groves was caught by Ryan Cox for a duck to give Bacon a second.
When skipper Bullimore was bowled by Bacon for 27, hopes of a shock Staveley victory evaporated and it was time to secure the losing draw. Bacon struck again on 122 bowling Ryan Brown for 14 and Cox had Nicholson caught by keeper Parker, also for 14.
Off the next ball, Cox picked up his second, trapping Joel Whybrow leg before for a duck, and Bacon picked up his fifth when Josh Pickering was out leg before for four. Daniel Dreelan was the last wicket to fall, bowled by Davey without scoring, but Ryan Bates (7 not out) and Rob Docherty (5 not out) batted out the remaining overs for the draw.
Of the bowlers, Bacon returned excellent figures of 5 for 49 with Davey netting 2 for 29. Cox’s two came at a cost of 16.
With leaders Sandiacre losing to third placed Eckington on Sunday, the Millers now have two games in hand on the leaders and are 14 points behind. Eckington closed the gap in third spot but are still 48 points adrift of the Millers with five games left.
Scores: Langley Mill Utd (19pts) 241-4 [46 overs] (A Ball 92, R Brunellschi 81, A Bacon 41) drew with Staveley Welfare (6pts) 149-9 [46 overs] (D Gray 42, A Bacon 5-49).