A promising debut by all-rounder Paul Holmes could not prevent a narrow defeat for Chesterfield in an entertaining first match of the new Derbyshire County League, Premier Division season.
Holmes took three wickets as home side Swarkestone totalled 256-9 in their allotted 50 overs, and then he added an unbeaten 32 with the bat. But despite a performance containing many positives, Chesterfield fell 11 runs short on 245-8.
At a hot Barrow Turn, the visitors elected to field and got a wicket with a terrific first ball of the season from player/coach Andrew Parkin-Coates, who induced an edge to slip.
But they had to wait another 196 runs for the second wicket as Swarkestone duo, Nils Priestley (101, two sixes and 14 fours) and skipper Luke Thomas (81, ten fours), shared an excellent stand and showed both class and good judgement.
With Priestley and Thomas in full flow, the hosts looked set for a total of about 300, so Chesterfield’s bowlers, backed by some fine fielding, deserved credit for pegging them back.
Holmes (3-48 in ten overs) and Harry Wilmott (1-45 in 12 overs) bowled well in tandem, putting the brakes on the scoring, and there were also two wickets for Adam Woodhouse (2-35 from nine overs).
The total looked about par, and despite losing opener Minesh Keshwala for two, Chesterfield’s reply seemed on course at 77-1 and 142-2 as captain Alex Hibbert shared partnerships worth 72 with opener Andrew Rogers (32, five fours) and 65 with Parkin-Coates (34, four fours).
The third-wicket stand was particularly good to watch, full of good strokes, most notably the majestic cover drives of Hibbert.
However, both he and Parkin-Coates were removed by Harry White (3-62 in 11 overs) when set, and with Joe Whitworth (3-65 in 12 overs) also claiming three scalps, Chesterfield’s run-chase suddenly hit the rocks as they plunged from 165-3 to 199-8.
Terrific resistance was shown by Holmes and fellow tailender Tom Bacon (19no, three fours). But their unbeaten ninth-wicket stand of 46 just ran out of overs.