(Derbyshire Premier League)
Chesterfield highlighted the best and worst of their mixed season when they rallied to secure a draw at the Staffordshire country estate’s Deer Park ground on Saturday.
The first half of the day was relatively uneventful as Chesterfield sought to limit the Dunstall total on a high-scoring ground.
James Benstead (67) and Tom Mandleberg (42) opened with a stand of 88 and a solid 38 from Matt Benstead gave Dunstall a good base.
But it needed a late acceleration from Andy Malkin (29) and John Jenning (46 not out) to take them to 246-5 at the end of their 50 overs.
Brian Gladwin’s 3-56 helped to keep the Dunstall total to reasonable proportions and 15-year-old Perrijay Blair bowled economically to help out with his side’s depleted attack.
It was after the tea interval that the fireworks started, initially with the Chesterfield upper order being blitzed with a hostile pace attack.
With little more than half an hour’s play gone and only 14 runs on the board, Chesterfield’s top four batsmen were back in the pavilion.
The injured Simon Lacey steadied the ship in a 65-run partnership with Rob McCarroll whose valuable 31 helped to blunt the Dunstall attack.
Drage Thompson joined Lacey who continued to play though a pain barrier with an injured left wrist that inhibited his stroke play but the pair successfully kept the Dunstall bowlers at bay while eating up the overs in the quest to avoid defeat.
With the Chesterfield position looking more secure, the second firework display commenced as Thompson went on the rampage with a series of powerful boundaries.
Dunstall pushed men back onto the rope but the flow of boundaries continued unabated as Thompson either pierced the field or cleared the rope in a savage onslaught that included seven sixes.
From looking destined for a comfortable win, Dunstall finished literally on the ropes while Chesterfield rued the absence of a few more overs which would probably have brought them a remarkable win.
As it was Chesterfield settled for a respectable draw when running out of time on 206-5.
Thompson finished on a magnificent undefeated 93 out of a partnership of 127 with Lacey who had battled bravely to 57 not out at the close.
Chesterfield slip to sixth in the table and take on fifth-placed Alvaston & Boulton at Queen’s Park on Saturday in the club’s final home game before the Chesterfield Festival which opens with Derbyshire playing Yorkshire on Sunday, August 14.
Dunstall 16 points, Chesterfield nine points.
Chesterfield 2nd XI 212-5, Breadsall 1st XI 169 all out
Chesterfield claimed top spot in the league after another impressive performance at Queen’s Park on Saturday brought a second successive maximum points return.
A good start saw Chesterfield swiftly past 50 courtesy of Aaron Jepson’s rapid 33 after which modest contributions allied to James Colton’s 65 took the side on a good base of 169-5.
Rapid late runs from Matt Davison (31 not out) and Tim Kirk (21 not out) enabled Chesterfield to post a challenging 212-5 after their 46 overs.
Breadsall were briefly on the back foot as Gautham Shiralagi captured two early wickets but they recovered well and were one short of a hundred when the third wicket went down.
This was Andrew Robinson (40) who was the first of three wickets for Kirk as the Breadsall faltered but at 157-5 with opener Mitchell Bradley past 50 and well set the game was far from won for Chesterfield.
But an ignominious collapse saw wickets tumble including Bradley (74) and any hopes that Breadsall had of salvaging a draw disappeared in the penultimate over when Shiralagi took the final two wickets with successive deliveries.
Shiralagi, who finished with 4-34, and Kirk (3-55) helped to ensure the winning outcome for Chesterfield that came with a 43-run margin.
Chesterfield move up to the top of the table but are only marginally the best of the three leading teams in the division and will be keen to extend their winning run when visiting the high-scoring Recreation Ground at Allestree on Saturday.
Chesterfield 27 points, Breadsall five points.
Chesterfield 3rd XI 186,
Ashover 2nd XI 149
Chesterfield relied heavily on Alex Hibbert (73 not out) and Gautham Shiralagi (43) in reaching and all out total of 186 at Queen’s Park on Sunday.
Adam Turner followed up his 3-50 for Ashover with a fine 50 and alongside 39 from Taj Beerbasi they were making good progress before the decisive intervention of Alex Davison whose 7-25 brought matters to an early conclusion with Chesterfield the winners by 37 runs.
Chesterfield 20 points, Ashover six points.