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Defeat for Falcons despite strong start

Derbyshire Falcons left Leeds empty handed despite the visitors enjoying much the better of the early stages at Headingley Carnegie.

The Falcons were looking to bounce back in the Clydesdale Bank 40 competition having tasted defeat for the first time this season against the Warwickshire Bears at Edgbaston and the signs were good as Martin Guptill and Chesney Hughes fired the visitors in to a commanding position.

However a batting collapse ensured that a Gary Ballance inspired Yorkshire Carnegie emerged victorious by seven wickets.

Earlier in the day, having lost the toss and asked to bat first, Derbyshire’s start was emphatic.

Guptill is clearly a man in form and the New Zealand international began at a pace, treating the healthy Headingley Carnegie crowd to an array of spectacular straight hitting.

With two glorious straight sixes from Guptill the highlight, the Falcon reached 52-0 from their first 10 overs to cement a steady start; Guptill 38* and Hughes 11*.

With Guptill firing on all cylinders and Hughes finding his feet, Derbyshire were in the ascendency and the former was soon bringing up his 50 from 53 deliveries with four fours and two sixes.

An ideal start for the visitors continued as the innings progressed with Derbyshire reaching 88-0 from 16 overs as the Yorkshire bowlers struggled to contain the Falcons’ opening duo.

Three overs later and the 100 partnership was up; Guptill the enforcer with 59*, Hughes 40* at the other end.

The 25th over saw Hughes reach 50, an assured knock from 72 deliveries with four fours, however his innings was over with the very next ball he faced, clean bowled by Moin Ashraf; Derbyshire 137-1.

The dismissal of Hughes signalled a distinct turnaround in fortunes for Derbyshire, who lost Guptill for 89 shortly after; caught at the wicket off former England all-rounder Anthony McGrath.

Guptill’s knock had been an eye catching one, made from 83 balls with four fours and five sixes; Derbyshire 160-2.

With the loss of both openers, the visitors’ progress was checked and wickets were soon falling at regular intervals as the hosts came back in to the game strongly.

First Wayne Madsen was adjudged LBW to McGrath for 10, with Whiteley caught by Lyth at deep extra cover off the lively Mitchell Starc for eight soon after as Derbyshire moved to 182-5 with six overs remaining.

With the Derbyshire batsmen looking to force the issue, Garry Park did not last long, falling LBW to Iain Wardlaw for two, bringing Wainwright to the crease; the former Yorkshire bowler receiving a warm reception from the home supporters.

Wainwright began positively, an unorthodox scoop over wicketkeeper Gerard Brophy off Wardlaw bringing six runs as Derbyshire pushed to set a competitive target.

Yet wickets continued to fall, as a crushing back foot cover drive for four from Dan Redfern off Starc was followed by the left hander being caught behind attempting a premeditated scoop for 13.

At this stage, Derbyshire had slumped from 154-1 in the 28th over to 194-7 in the 38th, an impressive comeback from the hosts with Australian fast bowler Starc bowling sharply.

It was the Australian who would claim the final wicket of the innings, that of Tom Poynton, bowled for seven, leaving some last dash hitting from Wainwright 13* and Palladino 9* to take the Falcons to 219-8 from their allotted 40 overs.

For the hosts, Starc finished with figures of 3-28 from his eight overs with McGrath taking 2-24 from six overs as Derbyshire set a 220 run target that had looked likely to be 250+ at the halfway stage of the innings.

Yorkshire’s reply began brightly, mirroring that of Derbyshire’s with Andrew Gale and Adam Lyth taking the hosts to 53 without loss from 10 overs.

With Lyth looking good and playing some expansive shots in the process, the 24-year-old was out to an uncharacteristic loose shot, finding Durston at backward square leg off the bowling of Wainwright for 31.

With Yorkshire 69-1 from 15 overs, Wainwright entered the attack, however it was the spin of Durston that would provide the next breakthrough; Gale, who had previously looked composed, dancing down the track and bowled for 33.

The introduction of former Derbyshire batsman Gary Ballance saw an increase in the run rate as he and Phil Jaques reduced Yorkshire’s arrears to below 100.

With the hosts in control, an error of judgement from Jaques gave the visitors a chance, the Australian sweeping to Durston at fine leg and dismissed three short of a half century; Yorkshire 154-3 and requiring 67 from 10 overs.

With 50 required off the final seven overs at 7.14, Derbyshire remained in the hunt however Ballance was proving to be a thorn in his former county’s side; moving to 50 with a huge six over deep mid wicket to relieve the pressure.

15 runs from the 35th over saw the Falcons’ hopes all but evaporate and it was left to Ballance (77*) and Joe Root (28*) to see Yorkshire Carnegie home by seven wickets with 14 balls to spare; the former fittingly hitting the winning runs with a four through long off.

Derbyshire now return to LV=County Championship action on Wednesday, as they travel to Essex looking to extend their lead at the top of the LV=CC Division Two table.

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