Millers out of jail to set up title showdown
Division Two leaders Langley Mill got out of jail on Saturday to beat third place Sawley and set up a crucial top versus second clash at Ilkeston Rutland this coming weekend.
The Millers made a very poor start against Sawley but showed some character and resilience to win by 37 runs as Sawley lost their last five wickets for 31 runs.
Ilkeston Rutland remain hot on their heels just a point behind but with a game in hand so their weekend showdown will go a long way to deciding where the Derbyshire County Division Two title goes.
Over the past few years the Millers and Sawley have served up some real entertaining games and Saturday’s was no different.
Sawley won the toss and asked the Millers to bat first.
This looked to be a masterstroke as Langley Mill were 22- 2 after just five overs with Carl Cruz doing the early damage.
Worse was to come as they slipped to 44-5 as the top five were all back in the shed and the Millers were staring down the barrel. They needed some resolve and skipper Jack Scott changed the order around with James Heafield being pushed up to number seven to see some overs out and build up a score.
But it was not going to the script as the Sawley bowlers sensed an upset.
Mill were in disarray and at the halfway point they were 91-7 and fighting for their lives.
The experienced Simon Lacey was also promoted up the order to steady the ship and, along with Danny Hanson, this pair started to make the score more respectable and at least give the bowlers something to defend.
After 28 overs Cruz had picked up four wickets from his spell and the Millers were 124-7.
Just as Langley Mill were starting to settle and build, Sawley came back at them again and removed Danny Hanson for 49 (6x4, 2x6 from 43 balls) and Jack Scott for five.
The Millers were 161-9 with 10 overs still to go as the heavens opened and tea was taken.
They headed back out with two targets in mind, to use all of their overs and try to get to 200 for maximum batting points.
There was one heart in the mouth moment as Andrew Bailey nicked one behind and was dropped which cost Sawley dear in the end as the Millers accomplished their tea time targets, Simon Lacey finishing on a solid 44 not out from 81 balls, which included six fours and Andrew Bailey at the other end on nine not out from 34 balls.
With a decent target to bowl at, the Millers set about defending this.
But after two overs skipper Jack Scott pulled up injured so Jay Holmes took over and made the breakthrough.
He removed the dangerous Paul Brunton for 20 (5x4) and then at the other end Lance Humphrey had skipper Gary Birley caught by Matt Heafield to leave Sawley 30-2 after 10 overs.
Spin was introduced and had an immediate impact as Simon Lacey bowled Conway-Jones for two and then Andrew Bailey had David Eckersley caught for 15 in the deep by Danny Hanson. Sawley were 76-5 at the halfway point and all results still possible.
Danny Brown joined Matt Lyas and this pair were getting Sawley in sight of the target, but Simon Lacey had other ideas, breaking the partnership and bowling Matt Lyas for 38 from 74 balls (3x4, 1x6).
The partnership worth 57, if Sawley were to get anything from the game they needed another partnership.
Josh Lacey was introduced into the attack and a couple of tough chances went down.
The game was not over by any stretch as Sawley needed 69 runs with four wickets left and the dangerous Dan Brown still there. Josh Lacey then had a double wicket over, firstly having Dan Brown caught by Andrew Bailey for 40 from 42 balls (2x4 and 3x6) and then Jeff Glover LBW for one.
It was then left to his dad, Simon, to finish off Sawley as the Millers finished unlikely winners and claimed 27 points.
Langley Mill’s second team made light work of Swanwick Hall as they picked up maximum points without breaking sweat. Swanwick won the toss and elected to bat, and it was nothing short of disastrous as they were bowled out for 40 with Scott Parkin (4-21) and Alex Bacon (5-9) powering through.
Kiegen Wing took the other wicket as Langley Mill were rampant.
In reply the Millers did lose two wickets, with Lewis Pinder (10) and Kiegen Wing (0) falling, but Neil Wing’s 26 not out saw his side home.
This helps the Millers keep pressure on the top two, who both won, but importantly the Millers have a game in hand.
They also have both Codnor and Cuttthorpe to play, who occupy the top two spots, so it promises to be a a nailbiting end to the season.