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PREVIEW: Welch names squad for T20 Blast opener

WesDurstonNew NatWest T20 Blast Captain Wes Durston returns from injury to lead the Derbyshire Falcons against Yorkshire Vikings in the competition opener at Headingley tonight; 7pm start. 

Durston, who was named the new Twenty20 Captain in March, has proved his fitness to be named in Graeme Welch's 13-man squad after he missed the last two LV= County Championship fixtures.

South Africa batsman Hashim Amla is included in the squad with batsman Billy Godleman who returns from suspension. Newly-named NatWest T20 Blast Vice-captain Tom Poynton features in the squad and is set to make his first competitive appearance of the new season.

But Wayne Madsen, who was injured during the final day of the LV= County Championship fixture versus Northamptonshire, and Nathan Rimmington, who has a finger injury, both miss out. Tony Palladino, Wayne White and Jonathan Clare are also all unavailable through injury. 

Read more: PREVIEW: Welch names squad for T20 Blast opener

Hughes feeling confident for T20 Blast

Chesney HughesChesney Hughes is raring to go after finding form ahead of the NatWest T20 Blast curtain-raiser against Yorkshire Vikings at Headingley on Friday evening; 7pm start.

The 24-year-old all-rounder scored 104 in the second innings in this week’s LV=County Championship draw against Northamptonshire at The 3aaa County Ground. It was Hughes’ first century in first-class cricket since scoring an unbeaten 270 against Yorkshire back in 2013 and timely one as he looked to find form ahead of the limited overs competition.

And Hughes is now hoping to transfer his form in red-ball cricket to the shorter form of the game, starting with the trip to Headingley. 

“It was a timely century, they were needed runs and I had to work hard to get there,” said Hughes. “I’m feeling confident, runs under your belt no matter what format they’re in will give you confidence.

Read more: Hughes feeling confident for T20 Blast

Madsen backs U19 NatWest T20 Blast-style competition

U19sAs this season’s new NatWest T20 Blast campaign gets underway, Derbyshire Falcons Captain Wayne Madsen is backing a new ECB campaign to get more teenagers playing the T20 format at grassroots level.

Seventeen clubs in Derbyshire have signed up to the first national NatWest Club T20 for Under-19s competition, with more than 475 teams set to be involved across the country.

The national roll-out of the competition follows a successful ECB pilot project last summer involving four counties (Kent, Surrey, Yorkshire and Durham) which attracted nearly 60 clubs.

The pilot project attracted positive feedback from clubs with one in three seeing lapsed players returning and more than half the players involved saying they were more likely to play club cricket this season as a result.

Read more: Madsen backs U19 NatWest T20 Blast-style competition

Poynton named NatWest T20 Blast Vice Captain

TomPoyntonDerbyshire have continued to reinforce their NatWest T20 Blast plans with the appointment of Wicketkeeper Tom Poynton as Vice Captain for this summer’s campaign.

The 25-year-old, who signed a new contract last month committing him to the Club until the end of the 2016 season, has competed in 39 limited overs fixtures since making his debut in 2007, hitting 224 runs.

The former England Under-19 international has also appeared in 33 first-class fixtures for Derbyshire, scoring 941 runs with a top score of 106 and claiming 87 dismissals behind the stumps. 

Poynton has impressed since his return from the injury that ruled him out for the entire 2014 campaign, hitting two centuries for the Second XI in four appearances.

Read more: Poynton named NatWest T20 Blast Vice Captain

Derbyshire denied victory on tense final day

Mark FootittDerbyshire were held to a draw on a nail-biting final day as Northamptonshire battled through to the close on 390-9 at The 3aaa County Ground.

Northamptonshire’s final pair of Rob Keogh, who finished unbeaten on 163, and Captain Alex Wakely, who bravely came out to bat despite his injured hand to make 36 not out, batted for 19.5 overs to deny Derbyshire a second win in the LV= County Championship.

Mark Footitt took 4-91, and Scott Elstone recorded career-best figures of 3-68, but they were unable to take the final wicket against a Northamptonshire side who finished 37 runs short of their victory target.

The day started well for Derbyshire as Footitt, having taken both of Derbyshire’s wickets the night before, struck again in the third over of the day as night-watchman Mohammad Azharullah edged to Wayne Madsen at slip for 19.

Read more: Derbyshire denied victory on tense final day

Hughes scores ton on dominant day for Derbyshire

Chesney HughesChesney Hughes scored his sixth first-class century as part of a 205-run opening partnership with Ben Slater to help put Derbyshire in a strong position going into the final day versus Northamptonshire.

Having begun the day unbeaten on 41 and 27 respectively, Hughes and Slater (94) batted throughout the morning session and into the afternoon to complete a double-century partnership and help Derbyshire set their visitors 427 to win. The hosts finally declared on 407-5, with Wayne Madsen adding an unbeaten 51 and Harvey Hosein hit 46 off 38 balls. 

Mark Footitt then took two wickets in the final session - including one with the first ball - to reduce Northamptonshire to 40-2 at stumps, still requiring a further 387 more runs to win on Day Four with eight wickets in hand.

There were two short rain delays in the morning session, but the weather could do nothing to hamper the progress of Hughes and Slater.

Read more: Hughes scores ton on dominant day for Derbyshire

Derbyshire hold advantage after Day Two

Tom TaylorAn unbeaten 76-run opening stand between Chesney Hughes and Ben Slater ensured that Derbyshire held the advantage after an enthralling Day Two against Northamptonshire at The 3aaa County Ground.

The hosts’ bowling attack were in superb form on the second morning as Tom Taylor (3-72) took three wickets to help restrict Northamptonshire to 122-6 at lunch.

But all-rounders David Willey (103) and Josh Cobb (95) fought back in the afternoon session to share a seventh-wicket stand of 163 as the visitors rallied to post 324 in their first innings, with Mark Footitt (3-91) and Shiv Thakor (2-47) also taking wickets at crucial stages.

Resuming with a 19-run lead, Derbyshire had the last say in the evening session as openers Chesney Hughes (41*) and Slater (27*) saw out the remaining 36 overs to guide their side through to stumps on 76-0, a lead of 95. 

Read more: Derbyshire hold advantage after Day Two

Critchley steals show with maiden century

Matt Critchley18-year-old Matt Critchley became the youngest Derbyshire player to score a first-class century in just his second match to help his side enjoy the better of Day One versus Northamptonshire.

In an innings that included 16 fours and two sixes, Critchley scored an unbeaten 137 runs from 179 balls and shared a 162-run stand for the eighth wicket with Tom Taylor – who fell for a career-best 49.

The eighth-wicket stand helped Derbyshire recover from 151-7 to post 343 shortly before stumps, with Critchley unbeaten on what was an incredible day for the Cricket Derbyshire Academy in partnership with the University of Derby all-rounder. 

There was just a single over for Northamptonshire to face in reply and they saw it through with no score.

Critchley said: “I’m very proud although it’s not really sunk in yet. I tried to play nice and positive, there were a few nerves but I just tried to back the way I play and go for my shots and it came off."

Read more: Critchley steals show with maiden century

Follow the Action Live: #DERvNOR

Follow the ActionDerbyshire continue their LV= County Championship Division Two campaign with a home game against Northamptonshire, starting on Sunday 10 May; 11am.

South Africa batsman Hashim Amla has been named in Graeme Welch’s 13-man squad alongside Matthew Critchley who made his first-class debut last week against Glamorgan.

Northamptonshire have started their Division Two campaign claiming one win and two draws from three matches, leaving them in second place in the early standings.

To read our preview of the match click here>>

Read more: Follow the Action Live: #DERvNOR

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