Chesterfield CC claw back on opening day

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Chesterfield clawed their way back into their opening game of the season after failing to capitalise on the decision to put a strong visiting side in to bat at Queen’s Park.

The Sandiacre openers led a charmed life in the opening half-hour as the ball frequently beat the bat but, having survived, they benefitted from some increasingly benign batting conditions, as the Chesterfield bowlers toiled with scant reward.

The score had reached 180 by the time that sharp catches off the bowling of Ross Whiteley dismissed Gareth Curtis (74) and one run later James Chapman for 90.

From 181-2 with 11 overs remaining Sandiacre were unable to fully exploit their excellent start and the following seven overs only realised 43 runs due to Chesterfield’s spirited work in the field and a three-wicket haul for Brian Gladwin.

They finally achieved an acceleration in the final four overs adding 40 to close on 265-5 with the wickets shared between Gladwin (3-32) and Whiteley (2-48).

Mykylo Bird and Alex Hibbert withstood Sandiacre’s highly regarded opening attack of Dan Wheeldon and Ryan McFadyean and had taken the total to 77 before Bird was leg before to John Jordison for 24.

It was the first change bowler who then took another two wickets bowling Nitish Kumar with a delivery that ricocheted off his elbow onto his stumps before clean bowling Hibbert for an assured 45.

But Chesterfield progressed well from 102-3 as Whiteley and Mat Roberts took the score on to 209 at exactly a run a ball and a win was in sight with 56 needed off five overs.

The dismissals of Whiteley for 71 and Roberts for an impressive 46 on debut along with two further wickets left Chesterfield off the pace and happy to settle for a draw while picking up a further batting bonus point to close on 226-7.

Jordison’s sustained spell of 12 overs for just 25 runs and three key wickets was a critical contribution on an excellent early season pitch with a short scoreboard side boundary as Chesterfield finished 39 runs short of an opening day victory.

Chesterfield coach Chris Marples was very upbeat about the performance and said: “There were a lot of positives about us and I was pleased at the way we stuck at it during the long partnership.

“We went well for first time up and we were happy wanting ten an over off the final ten but just lost wickets at the wrong time.”

Marples will prepare his side for a trip to Ticknall, who lost to Ockbrook & Borrowash by seven wickets on the opening day, despite Tom Wood’s unbeaten 142 in a collective post of 257-7, on Saturday (April 25).

Chesterfield ten points, Sandiacre Town 17 points.