Dunstall 1st XI 196-7,
Chesterfield 1st XI 143-8
(Derbyshire Premier League)
Chesterfield travelled to the Staffordshire country park at Dunstall on Saturday for a roller coaster ride of a game that they eventually saved through a rearguard action after having looked like being on the way to another win.
The ever reliable Michael Deane broke the Dunstall opening partnership with the score on 33 but the Deerpark side were undeterred as they continued courtesy of a couple of missed chances and looked likely to set an imposing score.
Deane was having to moderate excessive swing and once he had mastered the conditions he became almost unplayable in a devastating burst of four wickets in four overs with just four runs conceded.
He ripped the heart out of Dunstall innings as they slumped to 72-5 but Chesterfield were unable to force home their advantage as a sixth wicket stand more than doubled the score.
That was broken when Sam Lang took a magnificent diving catch in front of the sight screen to end the innings of opener Tom Mandleberg for 73 with the total on 151-6.
Even then Chesterfield were unable to wrap up the innings as Craig Jennings (45) received good lower order support to take Dunstall to a 50-over total of 195-7 with the wickets shared by Deane (5-55) and Brian Gladwin (1-23 and a run out).
The failure to capitalise on a good position meant Chesterfield faced a challenging task and their situation rapidly deteriorated to one of desperation when they sunk to their worst start in 12 years of Premier cricket.
In the space of 15 minutes after the tea interval Chesterfield lost their top four batters in a calamitous collapse that left them hanging on at 4-4.
Joe Cooper (28) and Drage Thompson (35) added 62 runs in comparative comfort and just when hopes were rising a flurry of wickets reduced the side to 84-7 with some 20 overs remaining.
An enterprising innings of 28 from 16-year-old Sam Lang was one of the few bright spots in an otherwise below par performance and in company with an injured Simon Lacey they saw their side safely through 16 overs.
It was then left to Deane to see out the final quarter of an hour with Lacey who had bravely occupied the crease for an hour and a half for his undefeated 15.
The meagre ration of points for saving the game was sufficient to keep Chesterfield at the top of the table but their reign will be short lived unless they bounce back with a good performance on Saturday.
That game is against Lullington Park at Queen’s Park before the side travels to South Yorkshire for a second round Kingfisher Cup tie against Whiteley Hall on Sunday.
Dunstall 17 points, Chesterfield six points.
Pilsley 1st XI 87 all out, Chesterfield 2nd XI 88-6
(Derbyshire County League)
Chesterfield finally got their season under way at the fourth time of asking and took full advantage of a worn track at Queen’s Park on Saturday to record a win against local rivals Pilsley.
Saeed Bin Nasir got the visitors away to a rapid start before being bowled for 23 by Daniel Bennett who followed up the capture of this prized batsman with three quick wickets as Pilsley slumped to 43-4 and Bennett finished with 4-17.
Captain Chris Worthy (23) took his side on to 59 before becoming the first of Dean Hopkinson’s four victims at a cost of 12 runs and with Tim Kirk taking 2-16 Pilsley were all out for 87.
Chesterfield fared little better as they struggled to 31-5 but Hopkinson (49 not out) took command of the situation and steered his side home to a four wicket win.
Chesterfield 22 points, Pilsley three points.