Rain washes Chesterfield’s hopes away

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Rain ruined Chesterfield’s chances of inflicting a first defeat of the season on top of the table Ticknall at the Grange on Saturday.

With the league leaders weakened by the call up of Paul Borrington and Tommy Taylor to the Derbyshire squad to play Kent, Chesterfield were strengthened by the addition of Ross Whiteley as Worcestershire were without a championship game.

Put into bat on a pitch that had been well protected from the rain Chesterfield made a slow but steady start before the opening partnership of Ben Slater and Mykylo Bird blossomed into a stand of 119 that ended when Bird was bowled by Zain Abbas for 41.

With Slater already past 50 and looking secure Whiteley arrived at the crease and after taking ten minutes to settle in he proceeded to plunder the Ticknall bowling with runs all around the ground.

The pair had advanced the total to 219-1 when Slater was caught out for 90 with Whiteley following in similar fashion soon after for an imperious 73 laced with seven sixes.

With ten overs remaining the chase was on and Chesterfield closed on 299-6 after their 50 overs courtesy of a hard hitting 44 not out from Paul Burdett and a brisk 20 from Matt Higginbottom.

The Ticknall opening bowlers shared the wickets as Shahid Khan took 2-81 and Zain Abbas 4-71 off 15 overs apiece.

The fourth rain stoppage of the day tipped the match into a time game shortly after the start of the Ticknall innings and with their innings limited to 28 overs the remainder of the game became a contest for bonus points.

Luke Harvey’s brisk 61 set Ticknall on the way to a couple of batting bonus points but Chesterfield picked only a solitary bowing point by the end of the day’s play with closing score of 164-2.

Chesterfield shaded the day in terms of the result by virtue of their batting performance and took 12 points to Ticknall’s eleven but it was all a bit of a damp squib with both sides failing to extend winning runs as the weather had the last word.

“We batted well,” said coach Chris Marples, “and the two guys at the top of the order gave us a good foundation to kick on from. It was great to see Ross back and the way he hit the ball showed his class and brings an extra dimension to the side.

“By the time we were bowling the ball was like a bar of soap and the bowlers found it difficult to hold which explains the legside runs conceded.”

Ticknall remain as league leaders with Chesterfield slipping a place to fifth in advance of the visit of tenth placed Dunstall on Saturday.

Chesterfield travel to Barnsley on Sunday for a second attempt at playing a National Cup second round tie that fell victim to the weather at the first time of asking.