Mixed weekend for Langley Mill United CC
In a mixed weekend of results for the Millers there was still much to take away from a league defeat to Marehay and one win plus one defeat in the Premier T20, wearing coloured kit for the first time, writes Andy Heafield.
There was also a realisation that if you come across a batsman in form at this level, chances are he will be taking his team to victory in very much the same manner that Samit Patel has been doing for the Millers recently.
Saturday saw the visit of Marehay to Aldreds Lane, a team bolstered by the addition of former first-class cricketer Dan Birch and Michael Cohen, current Derbyshire and former player for Western Province in South Africa.
Millers skipper Hanson called correctly for the first time this season and elected to field.
At 34-2, it was looking a good decision with two early wickets to Jack Scott on his return after injury, both lbw and following one of cricket’s golden rules; if a close lbw decision is turned down, get another appeal in quickly, preferably in the same over.
However, Birch had gotten into his stride and even with Marehay at 104-4 , he was an ominous presence on 70 not out and proceeded to put on a further 121 in a fifth wicket partnership with Hasnain Nasir, another recent addition from Clifton Village in the Notts Premier League.
Birch was finally out for 154 (14 fours and 12 sixes) the fifth wicket to fall with the score on 225 and although Marehay were all out for 279, the Millers were frustrated by the final pairing batting out the last 10 overs and adding 37 runs.
A target of 280 shouldn’t have been beyond the Millers, given their recent form.
But finding themselves at 38-4 down wasn’t the start they were looking for and, despite a fifth wickets partnership of 76 between Danny Hanson and Tom Brandrick; when Brandrick was out for 23 and the score on 114 it effectively spelt the end for the Millers. Undaunted by the further loss of wickets, Hanson took the game to the opposition scoring 85 runs from 60 balls with five fours and six sixes until he was the ninth wicket to fall.
The Millers' resistance finally ended on an all-out score of 171, but the eight bonus points gained were enough to keep them in fourth place.
Bank Holiday Monday saw a crowd of over 200 watch the Millers take their first steps into a world of coloured clothing cricket facing up to fellow Premier league teams Sandiacre and Chesterfield in the T20 tournament.
As the home team, the Millers were first up against Sandiacre who won the toss and elected to field.
A defendable total at the Millers home ground in T20 is always a matter of debate as the Millers found out a few seasons ago when unsuccessfully defending 240.
The consensus was that around 200 would be needed and the home team shuffled the pack to have a batting line up suited to big hitting cricket.
After six overs of power play, the Millers were on 61-1 (Tom Brandrick 23) and looking good especially with Samit Patel coming to the wicket.
However, the next two overs saw the fall of two wickets; Suman Shrestha (30) and Samit Patel (1) leaving the Millers on 75-3 from eight overs.
Akhil Patel and Danny Hanson added 53 in six overs before Akhil Patel was unfortunately run out with the score on 123 with six overs left.
Sandiacre had managed their bowling resources well, leaving Ryan MacFadyean, Luke Thomas and Mathew Newbold bowling at the end and runs were hard to come by.
However, Hanson (49 runs from 34 balls), Matt Heafield (45 not out from 20) and Jack Scott (eight runs from five) took the score to 190, a few short of where they would like to have been but a good effort against one of the Premier League’s top exponents of this form of cricket - twice recent winners of the National competition and runners up in 2016.
What the Millers didn’t need was to come up against another former Derbyshire player in decent nick and James Chapman, scorer of over 10,000 runs at this level, looked comfortable and at ease, despite Miller’s skipper Hanson repeatedly re-arranging his bowling options.
Chapman scored 96 not out from 50 balls to take his team to victory with 17 balls to spare.
In the second match against Chesterfield, the Millers ran out comfortable winners, bowling Chesterfield out for 119 with wickets shared between Akhil Patel (1), Samit Patel (2), Alex Bacon (2), Suman Shrestha (2) and, completing a fine all round contribution, Tom Brandrick (3).
The Millers knocked off the require runs in under 15 overs with runs from Brandrick (20), Shrestha (35 not out), Patel S (22), Patel A (40) and Hanson with a one ball, six not out and strike rate of 600 to finish off in style.
Next match for the 1st XI is away at Denby on Saturday.