LANGLEY Mill’s first team put up a depressing show at Wirksworth & Middleton on Saturday, losing by eight wickets.
Despite this shock reversal, the Millers remain in second spot after all their main promotion rivals failed to win.
Langley Mill skipper Andrew Bailey won the toss on an overcast day and decided to take to the crease, but signs of what was to follow became evident in the first over when Vyash Gobind bowled Jamie Salmons for a duck.
On 16, Andy Sibley was bowled by Steven Lowe for 9, but Paul Bailey and Jay Holmes took the score to 73 before Bailey was trapped leg before to Gobind for 28.
At 118 for 3, the Millers looked fairly comfortable, but they lost their last seven wickets for the addition of only 31 runs, the sorry procession of batsman starting with Sajendra Thimal, caught by Lowe, off Andy Barlow, for 29.
On 125, the Millers lost Holmes, bowled by Jack Allen for a top scoring 39, and Jack Scott, run out without troubling the scorers.
Four runs later, Jeff Wharton also went for a duck, caught and bowled by Barlow.
Allen ensured their was no wagging of the tail as he whipped out Dave Farnsworth, caught by Luke Boden for 5, Ryan Brunelleschi, caught by Gobind for a single, and Grant Ball, bowled for two.
The Millers total was a meagre 149 all out, a good 70 runs short of a competitive score.
For the hosts, Allen returned figures of 4 for 11, Gobind 2 for 39 amd Barlow 2 for 51.
From the off, Wirksworth were always favourites and despite losing skipper Dave Greatorex, bowled by Ball for 14, the hosts breezed past the hundred.
Aafan Janjua hit an 80 ball 89, 15 fours and 2 sixes, to put the game beyond doubt.
He finally fell caught by Farnsworth, off Holmes with only 12 needed for victory.
Allen completed a fine day’s work by blasting the runs required as he finished the game on an unbeaten 13. Barlow was also there at the end with 14 not out as the hosts picked up the 22 points with 20 overs remaining.
With the third and fourth placed teams both failing to win, the Millers retain their league position, 46 points behind leaders Ockbrook & Borrowash, who look assured of promotion.
Alrewas, the Millers’ next opponents, are in third, nine points behind, followed by Holmewood, who are a further two points adrift.
Crucially, the Millers still have a game in hand on their rivals.
Exciting weekend ahead
As the 2011 season reaches it’s closing stages, it’s still all to play for in the Saturday leagues.
The firsts return to Station Road for a vital game against Alrewas.
The Staffordshire side are hot on the Millers’ tail in Division Three and defeat for either side could mean missing out on promotion.
For the Millers, it’s a must win game if they are to achieve their triple promotion aims.
The seconds make the short trip to Alfreton on Saturday knowing that victory will ensure promotion to 5 North.
Alfreton are already relegated and have only recorded one victory all season so it’s difficult to see them getting in the Millers’ way.
The firsts are also in action at Station Road on Sunday when the re-arranged game against Spondon takes place.
This game will mean that all the promotion contenders will have two games to play and the title race will become much clearer.
Spondon are still relegation threatened and will need the points, so they won’t go down without a fight.
After Byron Village conceded last week’s Sunday League game, the Millers go into the final game of the season at Marehay well clear at the top of Section 4 of the Mansfield League.
Although the outcome of the game is of little consequence to either side, both teams will be wanting to finish the season on a high.
All games start at 1pm.