Cricket: Chesterfield ease into T20 final stage

Minesh Keshwala defending on the front foot duing a two hour innings that saved the day for Chesterfield at Sandiacre on Saturday
Minesh Keshwala defending on the front foot duing a two hour innings that saved the day for Chesterfield at Sandiacre on Saturday

Chesterfield recorded back to back wins on Monday to win the qualifying stage of the Premier Twenty20 Cup which was held at Queen’s Park.

They cruised home in the first semi-final against Rolls Royce after limiting the Derby based side to 124 for 4 with Lacey 2-17 and Higginbottom 2-21 the wicket takers.

Paul Burdett’s quick fire 50 saw Chesterfield well on the way to a win which was secured without undue alarm as Matt Fletcher (39 not out) guided his side home with eight wickets and almost two overs to spare for 127-2.

The final promised to be a much closer encounter against a Ticknall side that had disposed of Dunstall in the other semi-final.

Ticknall, on opting to bat first, struggled against some commendably tight bowling and never looked like posting a competitive score against an in form Chesterfield.

Their 118-6 made for easy calculations with Chesterfield having to maintain a run a ball rate with the threat of a premature ending due to the weather.

The Ticknall attack was disposed of in similar manner to the threat of rain, with Adam Bedford smashing three big sixes in his 25.

He was aided by Aaron Jepson (20 not out), who hit further sixes, and Higginbottom (16 not out).

The six wicket win was achieved with nearly five overs to spare and ensured that Chesterfield progress to the final stage of the county competition, when they defend their county title at Sandiacre on Sunday, June 16.

Meanwhile, Chesterfield maintained their unbeaten Derbyshire Premier League record on Saturday but needed to recover after Sandiacre’s new ball attack blitzed through their top order.

The visitors were on top in the early part of the day as league leaders Sandiacre struggled to post a competitive total, sinking at one point to 124 for seven.

Spinners Brian Gladwin (3-43) and Simon Lacey (2-36) kept the total within manageable proportions with the help of some sharp fielding that included two run outs. Sandiacre posted 184-9.

But the Chesterfield reply was subjected to some superb new ball bowling as Ryan McFadyean ripped through the early order to take five wickets while barely conceding a run.

A score of 27 for five after 20 overs included 15 extras with McFadyean being close to unplayable for much of his opening ten over spell.

A change of bowling, however, brought some relief as did Minesh Keshwala, who settled into a two-hour innings of commendable fortitude to save the game for his side.

He batted initially in the company of Matt Higginbottom (31) and latterly with Lacey.

Keshwala finished on 30 not out and Chesterfield closed in comparative comfort at 110 for six to deny Sandiacre the win in spite of McFadyean’s final figures of 5-17 off 15 overs.

Sandiacre Town 16 points, Chesterfield six points.

Chesterfield return to league action on Saturday with the visit of Dunstall to Queen’s Park.