Derbyshire Falcons go top of the Royal London One-Day Cup North Group table with a five-run victory over Leicestershire Foxes at The 3aaa County Ground.
Matt Critchley and Luis Reece claimed three wickets each to help the Falcons to victory, while Billy Godleman hit 64 on a pitch where batsmen struggled to build partnerships.
Tom Well’s late heroics almost powered the Foxes over the line, but a tense final over went Derbyshire’s way and the hosts picked up two points to go top of the North Group table on six points, with three wins from four matches.
The Foxes won the toss and elected to bowl first, but Derbyshire seized the impetus as openers Ben Slater and Billy Godleman got the innings off to a quick start.
Slater was at his fluent best as he struck five boundaries to leave the score at 28-0 after just three overs.
But Gavin Griffiths then responded to Derbyshire’s fast start, ending Slater’s short but explosive innings on 29 from 18 balls and removing Luis Reece for four.
Varun Aaron and Callum Parkinson also took the quick wickets of Wayne Madsen (12) and Matt Critchley (6) to reduce the Falcons to 92-4 for after 15 overs.
After losing quick wickets, Billy Godleman stepped up to produce a captain’s innings and steady the ship for Derbyshire. He notched 64 from as many balls to record his ninth List A half-century and his third in four matches.
Gary Wilson joined Godleman in the middle as the pair went on to make a partnership of 71 from 62 balls to set up the Falcons’ final push. Wilson recorded consecutive fifty partnerships, following his match winning contribution against Durham on Wednesday.
Neil Dexter then came into the attack for Leicestershire to take dismiss both Godleman and Alex Hughes (0) in the same over to leave the score at 163-6 with seven overs remaining.
Wilson continued his fine form but fell to a rampant Aaron for 49, before Daryn Smit came to the crease to smash a quick-fire 30 from 20 balls which included three boundaries in an over.
The India international finished the innings with the wickets of Smit and Hardus Viljoen (1) as Derbyshire set the visitors 212 to win.
Leicestershire began their innings in steady fashion as batsman Ned Eckersley and Paul Horton frustrated the Falcons’ opening bowlers, taking the score to 37-0 after the first powerplay.
The opening pair continued their form to record a partnership of 58 from 60 balls before Critchley got the vital breakthrough to remove Eckersley for 32 in the 11th over.
Critchley struck again two overs later to dismiss the remaining opening batsman Horton for 24 as he was caught at backward point by Wilson.
Reece then took the wickets of Cosgrove (13) and Hill (3) in consecutive overs whilst conceding just six runs in both overs. The Foxes continued to lose wickets at regular intervals as Dexter (14), Raine (0) and Ackerman (41) fell as the Foxes slumped to 139 -7 with six overs remaining.
There were late valiant efforts from Wells (48 not out) and Callum Parkinson (15 not out) as they both hit boundaries but ultimately they came up short.
Royal London One-Day Cup is back at The 3aaa County Ground! Derbyshire will host four 50-over fixtures in May and June. Buy your match tickets in advance & save.
Derbyshire vs Yorkshire Vikings – Wednesday 30 May
Derbyshire vs Lancashire Lightning – Sunday 3 June