Hours before learning of the tragic death of former captain Jeffrey Wharton, Langley Mill United were robbed by the weather of what might well have been their fourth consecutive victory in the Second Division of the Derbyshire County League.
Keen to keep their momentum going, the fourth-placed Millers travelled up to Holmewood, who are stranded at the bottom of the table without a win all season.
But even before the action got under way, the rain played its hand as a huge shower and lightning storm engulfed the ground. An early tea was taken and play did not get under way until 4 pm for a contest reduced to 26 overs per side.
After winning the toss, Holmewood skipper Gav Horton asked Langley Mill to bat first, and he must have been encouaged by their bowling display, which restricted the visitors to 152-9. But after only three overs of their reply, the heavens opened again with the scoreboard reading 10-0.
Briefly, it eased off, giving an outside chance of a resumption in play. But just as the players took to the field, down came the wet stuff once more, making the abandonment-decision inevitable.
It’s hard to say whether the Millers’ near six-an-over total was enough, but they can be relieved that they recovered from a disastrous start, which saw them plunge to 11-4 in the opening five overs when home bowler Jamie Horton (5-21) ripped through their top order.
Jay Holmes, Lewis Pinder and Josh Lacey all failed to trouble the scorers and when the previous week’s hero, Fritz De Beer, became Horton’s fifth victim, Langley Mill were 45-5 after 11 overs.
The ship was steadied by Daniel Hanson, who compiled a matchsaving innings of 44, and Neil Wing, who made 23. The good work was maintained by Paul Bailey (37) and Jack Scott as the Millers lifted their score to a respectable level. As well as Jamie Horton, his brother, skipper Gav, weighed in with 2-28, and there was also a wicket for James Taylor.
This coming Saturday, Langley Mill are looking forward to a cracking game at home to top-of-the-table Tutbury, which should ba a true test of both sides’ promotion credentials. They are also in action on Sunday when they take part in the league’s Twenty20 competition at Elvaston. They play Matlock at 2 pm, with the winners going on to tackle Elvaston or Clifton at 5 pm.