A FIGHTING 55 not out from professional Aamir Iqbal helped Crewe stave off derby despair against Elworth on Saturday.
In a rain-interrupted match at Vagrants Sports Ground, Crewe held out at 129-9 in reply to Elworth's total of 168.
With their regular opening pair of Nick Lange and Matt Dawson unavailable, Crewe captain Richard Marsh backed veteran Bernie Bishop and Mohammed Amin to produce the goods by putting Elworth in after winning the toss.
The pair came up trumps with Bishop dismissing opener Pete Davies for three and Amin claiming the prize scalp of South African professional Ian Mitchell for a first-ball duck.
Amin also clean-bowled Russell Ballard and Dave Palin and when Bishop had Rob Beech caught and bowled, Elworth were in trouble at 44-5. Wicketkeeper Andy Thurston led the recovery with a partnership of 60 for the sixth wicket with young debutant Alex Edmond-stone.
Thurston fell one short of his half-century as he became the first of Iqbal's four victims.
A spirited 19 from Kevin Underwood and an unbeaten 13 from Jim Higgins helped Elworth post a competitive 168 from 59.4 overs.
Iqbal finished with 4-40, Amin with 3-36 and Bishop with 2-29.
The start of the Crewe innings was delayed by rain but once they made a start, they found themselves struggling as Paul Crompton dismissed openers Martin Dawson and Mark Hurst. When Nick Bentley (18) and Amin (8) followed them back into the pavilion, Crewe were 47-4 but Iqbal came to the rescue with a fine innings of 55no which included seven fours and a six.
Although wickets continued to fall steadily at the other end, Elworth ran out of time and although spinner Higgins picked up the late wickets of Mark Spencer and Bishop, Crewe number 11 Shahid Khan was left with only one ball to survive and he held out for the draw.
Crewe collected eight points to Elworth's seven as the men from London Road drew for the 10th time this summer.
Crompton finished with 3-38 and Higgins with 3-42. Iqbal's patient innings took his Crewe average to 49.67.
Haslington had to settle for a high-scoring draw at Kidsgrove.
The home side made 217-7 with Matt Saive picking up 4-59 and Andre Percival 3-64.
Percival continued his fine form with the bat in Haslington's reply, making an unbeaten 71 in their total of 179-5. Richard Bebbington (46) offered solid support.
In the ECB Premier Division, Stone professional Mo Hussain paved the way for a win at Betley. He took 5-46 as Betley were bowled out for 141 (D Brierley 35) and then made a half-century as Stone surpassed Betley's tally with seven wickets to spare.
Second-team scores - Division One: Elworth 124-4, Crewe 123ao (S Elliott 3-37); Haslington 166-6 (A Pipps 57no, L Bedson 57), Kidsgrove 221-3 dec (A Edwards 85no).