Newly-promoted Langley Mill start season with victory

All-rounder Jay Holmes, who took five wickets in Langley Mill United's victory on the first day of the season.
All-rounder Jay Holmes, who took five wickets in Langley Mill United's victory on the first day of the season.

Confident Langley Mill United celebrated their return to Division One of the Derbyshire County League with a much-deserved victory in their first match of the season, writes Andy Heafield.

Not since the club’s glory days of the mid-1990s have the Millers played at such a lofty level. But that didn’t show as they dismissed visitors Alfreton for just 81 for a five-wicket triumph.

Seeking continuity and consistency, Langley Mill have brought in only two new signings -- opening bowler Ben Ladd-Gibbon to replace Josh Lacey, who has joined Premier Division Ockbrook, and South African Ruan Van Der Walt to replace his compatriot Lance Humphreys.

But the opening-day honours went to a seasoned campaigner, Jay Holmes, who ripped through the Alfreton batting to take 5-21 from 12 overs to mark the start of his 13th season with the club.

The off-spin of Simon Lacey also yielded 3-15 from 8.2 overs, while skipper Jack Scott (2-31 in 13 overs) took early wickets, alongside Ladd-Gibbon, who bowled a nice line and length.

Alfreton’s bowlers battled back well on a slow wicket, reducing the Millers to 41-4. But after a rain break, the hosts regrouped and an unbeaten 43 (one six and four fours) from opener Van Der Walt on his debut steered them safely home