Going Digital


SPONDON gave Beechwood MG Derbyshire Premier League leaders Swarkestone a terrific run for their money – but beating them is a different matter.

Joe Ashdown's side came up 15 runs short of overhauling a target of 262 to win, boldly continuing to chase until their ninth wicket fell in the penultimate over.

However, it is hard to see Swarkestone letting it slip in a season when the teams below them are repeatedly cancelling each other out, as again happened on Saturday.

The leaders proved again at Spondon that they are resilient, have lots of options and that their match-winners can come from anywhere in the team.

Their biggest disappointment was not passing 300 after a flying start on a good pitch surrounded by a lightning outfield – but perhaps Spondon would not have remained so interested in the chase if the target had been so high.

Swarkestone captain Jamie Guthrie, back to opening the innings now that Luke Thomas has moved on to Nottinghamshire side Cuckney, got them moving with a superb century – his first in the top division.

Spondon did not bowl too well in the first half of the innings and Guthrie made them pay after being dropped in the gulley by Joe Ashdown off Tom Williams in only the second over.

That came in between three boundaries he scored in the over as Swarkestone got 24 on the board in the first two overs.

Chris Durham perished in the third over, slashing at Waseem Fazal and giving Ashdown the chance to atone for his error immediately.

Spondon introduced spin, Chris Windmill's, as early as the seventh over but Garry Park hit him for a big six beyond the car park before surviving a run out appeal when Ben Ashdown scored a direct hit from mid off.

Guthrie and Park continued comfortably, the captain reaching a serene 50 in exactly an hour in the 17th over when he glanced his seventh boundary.

Park had looked in no trouble in reaching 24 in a partnership of 77 but when Joe Ashdown brought himself on, the former Derbyshire batsman smashed a drive back at him and Ashdown held on to a very sharp return catch.

Alex Hughes, back from injury, also looked comfortable as he and Guthrie embarked on a partnership of 89.

Hughes lifted Peter Drysdale over midwicket for six and Guthrie, cover-driving well, closed on a century.

He got there in the 34th over and when they took a second drinks break at 34 overs, Swarkestone were poised for a massive score at 187-2.

The situation looked ripe for Hughes to press on but, instead, he missed one attempt to flip Windmill to fine leg, then made contact with a second attempt, only to lift the ball gently in the air for keeper Adam Finlay to catch.

There was still danger for Spondon, with the big-hitting Wayne White in next, but he never got going and with both Fazal and Windmill bowling well, the home side battled back: as Windmill noted later, it is very rare things go one side's way for the whole 50 overs.

Guthrie was a touch unfortunate to be stumped when the ball ricocheted back into his stumps off Finlay for 118, Luke Lacey and Bev Hudson came and went quickly and White holed out.

Tom Knight was bowled by Tom Cosford, Tom Williams' direct hit ran out Matt Sanderson and Bruce Dilks lasted only one ball as Fazal finished with four wickets, the fifth match running he has taken three or more.

Spondon could feel that 261 was chaseable and they got off to a flying start, with Ben Ashdown in particularly fluent form.

He chanced his arm, pulling Dilks for two fours and carving him over point for four more in the second over.

He raced past 30 in the fifth over with a cover-driven four off Wayne White and the opening pair had 50 on the board in the 11th over.

However, Dilks, battling on with a sore hamstring does not often get carted and he began to slow the scoring, especially when he had Drysdale caught behind in the 12th over.

Ashdown and Sam Kellogg still kept Spondon in contention, Kellogg including a pull for six off Hughes in an otherwise patient 33 in a partnership of 71.

At 107-1 from 25 overs they were handily placed and at 122-1 from 30, the target was a theoretically manageable 140 from 20 overs – that for a side who are decent at Twenty20.

Kellogg's attempt at a reverse sweep off Knight only got him out leg before but now Joe Ashdown kept things moving.

He dominated a partnership of 43 with his brother and Spondon were getting on top but the captain will be kicking himself about his dismissal.

He had hit Sanderson for two, four and six in the 38th over and did not need anything more than a one to keep the strike from the last ball but he went for another big one, got under it and was held at long on by Hughes.

Hard as Spondon tried to keep chasing after that, they needed another partnership.

Ben Ashdown remained untroubled, moving along nicely towards a century, but Cosford, who can score quickly, was stumped by Durham from his first big swipe and Dave Hartley, who hit two nice boundaries and might have been the man to stay, miscued Knight to Harry White at midwicket.

Now Spondon needed 72 from eight overs.

Adam Fisher was run out by Harry White's direct hit and Knight, always making it difficult for the batsmen, bowled Chris Windmill, another who might have made the difference.

Ashdown reached his century by cutting a four off Wayne White and Spondon were still going for it, Williams hitting a four to cover but slicing the next ball high for Durham to catch.

Fazal, too, hit a boundary but was short with an attempted six off Knight, caught by Park at long on to give the persevering Knight a sixth wicket.

Now Finlay had no option but to play out the draw, which he did comfortably, and Swarkestone went home happy enough with 17 points.

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