No relegation fears left going into last game

Underwood 253 - 8 Holmewood and Spital 58 all out

Holmewood and Spital travelled to their final game of the season aware, that irrespective of the result, they had avoided relegation following three victories in their last four games and results elsewhere the previous weekend.

With nothing at stake, however, they had difficulty raising a side and had to rely on twin brothers and ex-players Danny and Chris Jones travelling from Doncaster to make the numbers up.

They also had two players who had not played for several weeks due to injury and it was, therefore, a much-weakened side that travelled South along the M1 to fulfil Sundays fixture.

By contrast, their opponents needed a victory to guarantee promotion and were very much up for the game.

Underwood won the toss and elected to bat first. Openers Starr and Heathcote took an instant liking to the H&S attack of Johnson and Barney Howitt.

The 50 came up in the 8th over and skipper Ryalls had no alternative but to remove both bowlers from the attack.

A change in bowlers brought a change in fortune.

Starr had reached 23 when he was run out by a direct hit from fine leg by skipper Ryalls.

Chalkley joined Starr and found runs hard to come by following tight bowling by Ryalls and Jimmy Taylor.

Chalkey upped the run rate, however, and was eight short of his 50 when he was bowled by Ryalls who got a 2nd wicket by removing Taft with his next ball.

Thorley joined Heathcote and set his intentions by hitting three boundaries from the first four balls he faced.

He raced to 38 when he was run out at the non-strikers end when Taylor glanced a dropped catch directly on to the stumps.

Shortly afterwards Rory Jarvis removed Heathcote for 55. However, in the next over, new batsmen Smethurst hit Jarvis for 22 from one over including the first ever six witnessed at Underwood to clear the tyre factory which is located 50 yards on the other side of Alfreton Road.

Gavin Horton picked up three quick wickets, including that of Smethurst for 28, until youngsters Freeman (28) and Flower (9) scored freely for the remaining overs as Underwood’s innings closed on 253 for eight with Ryalls returning figures of two for 69 and Horton three for 49.

In reply, the visitors got off to a dreadful start when Ashley was bowled from the third ball of the innings by Smethurst without scoring. Ryalls and Horton were out in Smethurst’s next over and Holmewood and Spital were five for three after only three overs.

Howitt and Jarvis restored stability and, although a number of difficult chances were put down, they were making in roads into the large total that had been posted and starting to put doubt in the minds of their opponents.

However, when both players were out for 16 and 19 respectively in one over from Heathcote, the innings capitulated. No player was able to reach double figures as they were embarrassingly bowled out for 58. The victory ensured that Underwood will return to the Premier League after an absence of seven years whilst for Holmewood and Spital, they will need to add quality to their squad next year in order to avoid another season embroiled in a relegation battle.