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Guptill and Durston hit hundreds as clinical Derbyshire get off to flying start

Derbyshire Falcons put in an impressive performance to comprehensively beat the Unicorns by 129 runs at Wormsley in the opening match of the Clydesdale Bank 40 competition.

Against a cold but idyllic backdrop, superb knocks from Martin Guptill and Wes Durston helped Derbyshire to a substantial target having been asked to bat first, with the hosts never in the running as Chesney Hughes took career best figures of 5-29. 

Earlier, Hughes, making his first appearance of the campaign, looked in good touch early on, flicking a Steven Cheetham delivery effortlessly through midwicket for four.

It was, however, to be Hughes’ final contribution as he fell lbw to Warren Lee an over later for five; Derbyshire 10-1.

It wasn’t long before Guptill was at his expansive best with an array of boundaries and, aided by Durston, the pair brought about the 50 partnership from 56 balls as Derbyshire set about building a solid foundation to the innings.

The pair continued to advance the score steadily and Guptill was soon bringing up a classy half century from 48 deliveries, with six fours as Derbyshire moved past 100, bringing up the 100 partnership from just 104 balls in the process.

The next milestone belonged to Durston, who passed 50 in the 21st over from 56 balls, including four boundaries, followed almost immediately by an immaculate and effortless straight drive for four by the former Unicorns man.

Both batsmen continued to progress the Derbyshire score, offering next to nothing in terms of chances along the way as the visitors score and partnership moved past 150; the latter coming from 149 deliveries.

The next passage of play saw Guptill at his best, hitting two huge straight sixes before reaching his second century of the season in the 29th over, a chanceless knock from 93 balls including nine fours and two sixes.

The fireworks continued as the New Zealand international hit yet another six, this time over mid-wicket, before falling to a catch on the long-on boundary for 125 from just 102 deliveries, including 11 fours and four sixes; Derbyshire 232-2.

The dismissal did little to stem the flow of runs however, and a Durston single to long-on brought up his first century of the campaign, a faultless knock off 96 balls including 10 fours as Derbyshire passed the 250 mark.

Ross Whiteley’s stay was a brief one as he picked out Luke Beaven on the long-off boundary for four, however captain Wayne Madsen then supported Durston with an excellent cameo of 17 from 10 balls as Derbyshire closed their innings 287-3 from their 40 overs; Durston finishing 120 not out from 111 balls including 11 fours and one six.

 The Unicorns’ reply got off to a shaky start with both openers departing cheaply – both to Tim Groenewald – as the hosts reached 32-2 from 10 overs.

Former Derbyshire loanee Tom New and James Ord ensured there would be no flurry of wickets but a watchful spell meant that the Unicorns were falling rapidly behind the required rate and after 15 overs the hosts were 48-2, a long way adrift of the Duckworth Lewis par score of 106.

The introduction of spin from both ends continued the trend, with David Wainwright and Chesney Hughes further tying down the Unicorns batsman, yet both looked fairly comfortable before New was sharply stumped by Tom Poynton off the latter for 21.

From there, Derbyshire turned the screw with a disciplined and impressive spell of bowling which saw Hughes pick up his second wicket, bowling James Ord (23) with a beautifully flighted and turning off-break.

Craig Park – younger brother of Derbyshire’s Garry – was removed first ball lbw to Wainwright to give the former Yorkshire man his first of the match and when Keith Parsons mistimed to Guptill at extra cover off Hughes for one an over later; the Unicorns had slumped to 81-6.

With the game effectively over as a contest, the Unicorns recovered their composure and began playing the ball around nicely, passing 100 in the process.

The brief respite was ended, however, with Hughes accounting first for Querl, caught at long-off by Durston for 21 and then Lee lbw for 0 to give him his fifth wicket of the match and in doing so secured career best one day figures of 5-29 from his eight overs; Unicorns 151-8.

The penultimate over saw Ross Whiteley clean bowl Luis Reece for a valiant 36 to leave the Unicorns 156-9 with the final pair seeing out the final over from Mark Turner to close 158-9; Derbyshire Falcons winning by 129 runs.

Derbyshire now return to LV=County Championship action this coming Wednesday as the table toppers travel to Hampshire.

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