Blair holds his nerve to guide Holmewood to narrow win

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Holmewood beat the rain and a plucky fightback from Elvaston’s young bowlers to pick up 22 points from a tight contest in Division Three of the Derbyshire County Cricket League as they won by three wickets.

Asked to bat first on a pitch softened by overnight rain, south Derbyshire side Elvaston lost wickets early to the bowling of James Taylor, who took three for 20 from nine overs, before Gareth Charlesworth launched an assault on Holmewood’s bowlers.

Charlesworth made 80, with some fine shots over the Holmewood pavilion, but was forced to rein in his attack as Elvaston lost wickets to the tight bowling of Gavin Horton, who returned season-best figures of four for 41 from his spell of 14 overs.

Fraser Hughes (16) and Liam Lindsay (11) added valuable late runs after Charlesworth fell to Horton, helping the visitors post 161 for nine from their 46 overs.

Holmewood’s reply got off to a solid start as Phil Stone (25) and James Taylor (39) put on 55 for the first wicket. Stone’s wicket, however, prompted a mini-collapse as the home side struggled against the bowling of young Elvaston off-spinner Alex Haleem.

Haleem bowled with good flight and control in increasingly wet conditions, and took wickets regularly throughout his spell to record figures of six for 37.

He struck twice to arrest Holmewood’s initial momentum, before a brisk innings of 30 from Gavin Horton, in the company of James Taylor, sook the home side past 100 and swung the advantage back their way.

Both batsmen fell in quick succession to the impressive Haleem to give Elvaston a chance of victory. However, Matthew Ryalls (24) found an able ally in Paul Blair, batting at number nine, who rescued Holmewood’s innings with a patient unbeaten 14, bringing up the winning runs with a pulled four over square leg.