Sandiacre Town 1st XI 185-9, Chesterfield 1st XI 187-8
(Derbyshire Premier League)
Chesterfield staged a remarkable recovery to record a rare opening day win against a strong Sandiacre Town team at Queen’s Park on Saturday with new signing Paul Burdett starring in a dream debut.
There was little hesitation in putting the visitors in to bat first on a dreary day when rain was forecast and the Chesterfield new ball attack quickly exploited helpful conditions.
Michael Deane accounted for both openers including the wicket of Derbyshire danger man Chesney Hughes in a three-wicket opening bust as Sandiacre subsided to 25-3.
Worst was to follow as the veteran John Trueman was run out before first change bowler Johny Marsden had David Jordison caught behind with the total on 64-5.
At this point the innings was being held together by new signing Ollie Uffindall who eventually found some solid support in the form of Dan Wheeldon as the pair set about repairing the damage.
Uffindall was finally bowled by Simon Lacey for 58 but Wheeldon blazed away with three sixes to finish on an undefeated 52 as his side closed on a 50 over total of 185-9.
Deane with 3-26 and Lacey (3-42) took the bowling honours but Chesterfield were facing a challenging target on an early season pitch against one of the strongest seam attacks in the league.
In a calamitous hour and a half after tea Chesterfield collapsed to an ignominious 72-7 with seemingly little hope of batting out the 29 remaining overs for a draw.
But opening bat Burdett who was starting his second spell with the club remained steadfast throughout the carnage and finally found a more resilient partner in the from of Matt Higginbottom as the pair added 40 runs for the eighth wicket.
Higginbottom who is enjoying a first class average this season of 79 after good performances against Surrey and Yorkshire hammered the occasional loose ball being caught out for 23.
With Chesterfield still 74 runs short of victory the ninth wicket pairing of Burdett and Deane combined to chip away at the target.
With 12 overs remaining there was a sudden acceleration with a flurry of fours from Burdett and three successive boundaries from Deane as 30 runs came off three overs.
With nine overs remaining the target was down to 25 but the game remained in the balance as two wickets would secure the win for Sandiacre.
Scampered singles and a Burdett boundary that saw him into the nineties took Chesterfield closer to their target before a top edged six seemed to seal Sandiacre’s fate.
With only two wanted to win Burdett dispatched the ball through the field to the mid-wicket boundary for four runs which took him to 100 and gave his side a two-wicket win.
Deane finished on 25 not out and the recovery from 72-7 to 187-8 represented a remarkable turn-around that gave Chesterfield a win against one of the teams tipped for the league title this season.
Chesterfield travel to Alvaston & Boulton on Saturday for their second league game of the season before a visit to Nottinghamshire on Sunday for a national cup clash against Caythrope.
Chesterfield 22 points, Sandiacre Town seven points.
Riddings 1st XI v Chesterfield 2nd XI – match cancelled due to flooded pitch. Six points each.