Top all-rounder helps spark fortune change at Chesterfield Cricket Club

An all-rounder who has played alongside Test stars is helping to spark a revival in Chesterfield's cricketing fortunes.

By The Newsroom
Thursday, 30th June 2022, 9:18 am
Updated Thursday, 30th June 2022, 9:18 am
Yannick Leonard has quickly become a key player for Chesterfield.
Yannick Leonard has quickly become a key player for Chesterfield.

Yannick Leonard has been playing a key role with bat and ball as the Queen's Park club have picked up after a stuttering start to the Derbyshire League season.

In recent weeks the 31-year-old left-hander has moved up to open the innings and, with skipper Harry Wilmott, has given his side some flying starts.

His left-arm spin bowling is a crucial part of the Chesterfield attack because his variations of pace and flight make him both a regular wicket-taker and hard to score off.

Leonard, a chef by trade, started playing cricket in his homeland, Guyana.

"I think cricket is in my DNA," he said. "I started playing cricket with a soft ball at school. I was introduced to hard-ball cricket when I was about 11 and I began playing at the Demerara Cricket Club in Guyana."

That Georgetown club is one of the most prestigious in the Caribbean with such cricketing giants as Clive Lloyd, Lance Gibbs and Shivnarine Chanderpaul among its former players.

Leonard then moved to the British territory of Anguilla where he lived for 15 years.

It was during that time that he made his debut in first-class cricket, playing for the Leeward Islands.

Four of his team-mates in his first match - Kieran Powell, Sylvester Joseph, Devon Thomas and Jahmar Hamilton - have played for West Indies in Tests or one-day internationals.

Leonard has had two previous seasons in England, playing league cricket in Cornwall and Essex.

Now based in Buxton, he was recommended to Chesterfield in the winter and he is thoroughly enjoying the latest phase of his career.

"It's been brilliant," he said. "They are a great bunch of guys in the team and I feel I have been welcomed with open arms."

He began the season batting in the middle order but the switch to opening has worked for Leonard and the team.

"It's what I did in under-19 cricket," he said. Over the years I concentrated more on my bowling.

"But I love opening the batting, I like the ball coming on to the bat."