Struggling Codnor have been dragged firmly into a relegation battle after suffering a shock defeat against bottom-of-the-table Duffield 2nd in Division Four North of the Derbyshire County League.
Duffield arrived at Goose Lane stranded by more than 40 points at the foot of the table, but returned home with a tonic victory after a poor batting performance by the home side.
Their total of 180-4 was very attainable, only for Codnor to slide to 143 all out in response. They are now only 12 points above next-to-bottom Riddings and must hope to get their season back on track when they travel to play Langley Mill 2nd this weekend. After that, there are just five matches remaining to save their season.
On winning the toss, Codnor skipper Ben Wood asked Duffield to take first knock. However, for once, his bowlers struggled to make inroads. Yes, they bowled accurately enough, but the penetration wasn’t there and, perhaps, they also lacked the bit of luck their efforts deserved.
As a result, it wasn’t until after the drinks break that the first wicket went down when opener Phil Jordan went for one big hit too many off the bowling of Darron Brown and was snaffled on the boundary by captain Wood for 30.
Unfortunately for Wood, in the process of catching the ball, he managed to fracture a finger, and so Codnor were left to field with only ten men for the rest of the innings.
Duffield’s remaining opening bat, Russell King, and number three, Will Witten, looked to take full advantage of this, but just as King seemed poised for a sizeable score, he was bowled by Lee Colledge for 49.
Witten and his new partner, Bowyer, carried on the good work for the visitors, quickly upping the run rate, and their partnership was worth 72 runs before the latter was bowled by the returning Stuart Bonsall for 37 .
The solid Witten soon followed for a well-made 47, caught by Shaun Mills off Brown, before middle-order duo Tom Blenkinsop and Asghar saw out the rest of the Duffield innings.
In reply, as has often been the case this season, Codnor’s top order did not do themselves justice. In no time at all, they conspired to find themselves 70-7 and staring defeat in the face.
A fightback was led by Brown and Arnold. The former unleashed the innings of the day and displayed a brilliant array of counter-attacking shots, while the latter stuck around, happy to give his more established partner the strike.
However, just when it looked like the home side might snatch victory from the jaws of defeat, Arnold gloved one to the Duffield wicketkeeper for 14 and then Brown holed out to deep mid-wicket for a terrific 67.
This left Codnor on 141-9 and the writing was on the wall. Bravely, the injured Wood tried to bat one-handed in a desperate bid to salvage a draw from the game. But he was finally caught at point to gift the visitors 27 points to inject new life into their bid to escape the drop.