ASHBOURNE collected 17 points for a winning draw on Saturday but captain Greg Fletcher's decision to declare early against struggling Mickleover seconds almost backfired.
At the same time, it almost worked, as Mickleover finished six runs short of winning – with only one wicket standing in the Division 7S encounter.
Fletcher decided to give his side six extra overs to bowl Mickleover out when Ashbourne had reached 230-6 from 40 overs.
Henry James top-scored for Fletcher's men with 83, while Akash Bist held them back with 4-34 for Mickleover.
As it turned out, Bist was to play an even bigger part with the bat.
Mickleover captain and opener Dalvir Singh hit 32 for his side but Bist threatened to carry Mickleover to victory with a marvellous innings of 128.
Collecting 17 points rather than 27 means Ashbourne are 74 points behind second-placed Elvaston thirds, who did pick up maximum points, so their faint hopes of a promotion place are realistically over.
However, Meanwhile Ashbourne seconds retain a realistic chance of getting out of Division 10S after they beat Tutbury thirds by 44 runs.
Ashbourne were sent in to bat first by the home side and Roger Glithero just missed out on a half-century with 49.
It was still the top score in a total of 139-7, in which Tutbury's Qaisar Abbis took 4-34.
David Wood, with 33, was the other main contributor.
When Ashbourne bowled, Tim Rider was the hero with brilliant figures of 7-37 as Tutbury were skittled for 95.
Their opener, Waqas Ayoub, was the only one to threaten a different result, as he scored 57.
The result leaves Ashbourne 19 points behind second-placed Abbots Bromley seconds and 41 points behind league leaders Ticknall fourths, who Ashbourne have a game in hand over.
Another side, Trentside thirds, pulled out of the division last week, leaving only 10 teams.
Ashbourne firsts are away at Winshill on Saturday, while the seconds are without a game.
ANOTHER losing draw for Brailsford means that they have not yet banished the threat of relegation from Division Three.
Their bowlers were battered away at Morton Colliery, who piled up 265-4.
Blair Matthews (45) and Kieran Marsh (77) scored quickly for Morton, while extras, especially too many wides, were a real concern.
Veterans Steve Fisher and Ian Clarke restored some control from 14 overs each but Ashley Caunt's late 59 not out saw Morton post a daunting target.
Brailsford began their innings steadily, Matt Dowling (17) and Callum Fisher (16) taking them to 35 from 10 overs before both were out.
Dan Bould (36) and Kevin Glover (15) took Brailsford past 100 but both were caught out in quick succession.
A late effort from Johan Van Niekerk (25) was not enough as Brailsford had to hang on at 148-8.
Clowne Town are adrift at the bottom of the table but obnly four points separate four teams above that, with Brailsford, Denby seconds and Hilton all on 192 points and Swarkestone seconds four behind.
Brailsford seconds also had a losing draw in Division 7S after centuries from Chris Hankinson (100) and James Bodill (134 not out) carried Littlwe Eaton to an impressive 268-3.
Mitch Coxon and Phil Derbyshire both scored 70 for Brailsford as they closed on 222-8.
Brailsford firsts are at home to Wirksworth & Middleton on Saturday, while the seconds are without a game.