Cutthorpe knew they would have their work cut out when they travelled to league leaders Duffield on Saturday.
After winning the toss, and putting the hosts in to bat, Steve Chapman made an early breakthrough with the ball to give the visitors a boost.
It brought ex-Derbyshire wicket keeper James Pipe to the crease and he made his intentions known from the off, charging the bowlers down.
Pipe’s intentions were clear when a handful of powerful strokes made their way to the boundary only for Cutthorpe to lay the trap.
A change in field brought a reward. David Sartor (2-50) held his nerve and tempted Pipe into a false shot which he skied to long on.
With the score on 40-2 inside the first ten overs, Cutthorpe felt they had a sniff of getting into Duffield’s middle order.
The hosts’ skipper went for 35 and Cutthorpe’s tails were up. Their dreams were short-lived, however, as it became the last wicket to fall.
Duffield opener Sheldon went on to score an unbeaten century (100*), helped along by Jenkins (77*) in a 144-run stand to a total of 258-3.
Knowles, McCollum, Plested and the returning Chapman (1-53) kept the hosts to less than a run a ball from the final 20 overs - despite only being three down.
The pitch had held up to the first 50 overs and was in tip top shape for the second innings, though Cluer went early to a good ball.
Thompson (36) had hit the ground running with seven boundaries before he was well taken at slip and had to leave the action.
Sartor was caught in the outfield and Chapman then couldn’t dig one out which had kept slightly low, as the score read 74-4.
A positive result seemed a long way off before Nick Drew (39) and Rob Plested (56) had other ideas with a partnership of 86.
It looked, for a time, like it could take Cutthorpe into a commanding position in a match which now hung in the balance.
Plested really took to the Duffield spinner, regularly hitting him to the boundary, and Drew played his way to a gritty knock.
With 20 overs remaining, 100 runs were required with six wickets in hand but the visitors inexplicably collapsed from 160-4 to 174 all out.
For all the hard work and good cricket played, Cutthorpe walked away with only three points in an encouraging day’s play.
Cutthorpe host Matlock in a crucial match this Saturday, which starts a run of four games in five weeks against sides around them.
The bottom end of the Division One table is finely poised and if Cutthorpe are to make it to the halfway point of the season in a comfortable position.
Meanwhile, Cutthorpe comfortably overcame a poor Trentside team, who posted 55 all out, on Sunday before they eased to 57 without loss.
The first round of the Marstons Cup was played in what was hoped would be a good exercise for the firsts but Trentside were understrength and, knowing that, chose to bat first on winning the toss.
Knowles (3-21) made the early breakthroughs backed up by Sartor (2-14) and McCollum (1-5). Two promising spinners, 15-year-old Liam Sadler (2-7) and 13-year-old Charles Barlow (1-6), both offered further encouragement.
The runs were scored with ease inside eight overs with Thompson (34*) and Drew (16*) finishing matters off in quick time. Cutthorpe host Quarndon in the next round to be played on June 8.