Numerous afternoon showers thwarted top-of-the-table Cutthorpe and finally robbed them of another victory in their chase for the Derbyshire County League, First Division title.
Entertaining Elvaston, the leaders amassed a total of 296-9 declared from 47 overs. But delays for rain left them with insufficient time to bowl out the visitors, who were hanging on at 135-8 from 33 overs when the match was abandoned.
It was deeply frustrating for Cutthorpe, who clearly deserved the full 27 points, rather than the 15 they acquired. However, with results going against second-placed Duffield and third-placed Ilkeston, they now hold a 22-point advantage at the top, going into this weekend’s trip to cup finalists Alfreton.
After winning the toss and electing to bat, captain David Bush’s decision to open the innings himself paid off handsomely. Not only did he make 26 (four fours), he also shared an assured 82 for the first wicket with Matt Cluer, who thrashed 18 in one over before the first of the rain stoppages.
On the resumption, Cluer was caught on the boundary for 54 (11 fours), but the runs continued to flow via partnerships involving Edward Barlow (31, six fours), who put on 55 with an aggressive Paul Burdett (38, one six and seven fours) and 57 with Andrew Thompson.
Spinner Rob Kettlewell (4-74 in 11 overs) had Burdett caught at short third man, but Thompson made the most of his new place in the order at number five, hammering three sixes and six fours in an entertaining 46-ball 57.
Asad Butt added 23 and Josh Savage 18 before an impressive, unbeaten 34 (two sixes and three fours) from only 20 balls by Rob Plested added icing to the Cutthorpe cake.
The rain left the home team just two-and-a-half hours to bowl 47 overs, but with a wet ball, the opening attack of Butt and Savage couldn’t quite hit the right areas, enabling Elvaston openers Elliott Lawley and Mitchell Bradley (13) to race to 51 without loss.
Savage finally removed Bradley and then bowled Ben Wright for nought, only for the heavens to open for a third time, necessitating a further 30-minute delay.
With Lawley going on to make to 50 (seven fours) and Matt Heafield adding 22 (four fours), the visitors moved to 114-3 before Cutthorpe got among the wickets again.
Remarkably, both Butt (2-43 in 13 overs) and Savage (4-61 in 15) bagged wickets from successive balls, and with five overs still remaining, Elvaston suddenly slumped to 116-7.
However, despite a close shave or two, Cutthorpe couldn’t kill them off, although young leg-spinner Charles Barlow secured an extra bonus point with a wicket in the final over before the stumps deadline.