Hot weekend double sends Alfreton to top of table

Alfreton's James Aldis races in to bowl with the new ball.
Alfreton's James Aldis races in to bowl with the new ball.

Happy Alfreton are the early-season leaders in the First Division of the Derbyshire County League after a weekend as hot as the weather.

On Saturday, Alfreton crushed Cutthorpe by eight wickets on the back of a magnificent, unbroken partnership of 171 between centurion Tom New and Ryan Bramwell.

And 24 hours later, they held on to a winning draw in a thriller against their closest rivals in the table, Clifton.

For the first couple of hours of their clash at home to Cutthorpe, it looked like being a very different weekend because their decision to bowl first was in danger of backfiring as Sufian Munir and Paul Burdett guided the visitors to 154-1 and 199-3. Munir event went on to a century, firing 107, including three sixes and 14 fours, after Burdett had made 55 (seven fours).

However, the Alfreton bowlers fought back in style, led by Jonathon Clarke, who took 5-57 from 13 overs. Clarke was also the one to finally bowl Munir, whose departure triggered a Cutthorpe collapse as they lost their last seven wickets for only 26 runs and slid to 225 all out.

The hosts’ reply was skilfully overseen by opener New, who shrugged off the cheap loss of his first two partmers, Jonathan Woolley and Elliot Savidge, to make exactly 100no.

He stroked 16 boundaries in his 126-ball innings and found a willing partner in Bramwell, who cracked an undefeated 87, including four sixes and nine fours, off only 71 balls. Their stand, helped by 28 wides, was a pleasure to watch and eased Alfreton to their target inside 38 overs.

On Sunday, Alfreton were less fluent and were dismissed for 196, but then they restricted Clifton to 194-8 in an exciting and tense finish.