THE weather might have given Ashbourne Cricket Club another blank weekend – but they received a welcome bonus last week when they were awarded a maximum 27 points without playing.
Ashbourne's first team turned up at Mickleover for a Martson's County League Divison 7S game the previous week with conditions looking fine – only to find that their opponents had not prepared a wicket.
The matter went to the league's Executive Committee, who found in favour of Ashbourne and awarded them the points for the match.
Captain Greg Fletcher says it was the right decision.
"I am not in the habit of complaining to the league about other teams but this was a ridiculous situation," he said.
"It had rained in the week leading up to the game but we'd had 48 hours with no rain and we couldn't see a reason not to play.
"My vice-captain, Andy Hill, got a call from Mickleover telling us they wouldn't be able to prepare a wicket.
"We said, please do prepare a wicket, we'll be coming for a game!
"When we got there, it was bright and dry but the Mickleover team wasn't there. The captain turned up at 1pm to tell us it was off.
"We weren't prepared to accept that and the league's decision, to give us the points, makes us feel vindicated.
"Yes, it's a huge bonus as we try to consolidate our position in the division.
"Getting 27 points is hard work sometimes, with so much depending on the toss and teams prepared to bat out for a draw."
Ashbourne were promoted from Division 8S last season – the start of a long climb back for a club playing as high as Division 3S in 2008, when they finished bottom without a win.
Fletcher joined the club when he moved to the area from Shropshire five years ago, so he has seen both the decline and now, hopefully, the revival.
The signs are good, with them fielding six teams – four of them junior sides – for the first time this season.
"When I arrived, there had been a bit of an exodus of players and we were struggling to put out even one team," said Fletcher, who is in his second spell as captain.
"There were few juniors but our junior set-up is great now.
"In the next year or two, as the juniors start to come through, we hope we can progress onwards.
"We have a pretty decent first team now and the immediate plan is to get ourselves established in Division 7.
"If we put our strongest XI out, I'm quite sure we can beat anyone in this division but the problem is putting that strongest team out every week – although I know that's how it is for many others too."
The firsts will be hoping for better weather this Saturday, when they travel to Hartshorne.
The seconds are at home to Washlands in Division 10S.