A strong Derbyshire Second XI side shared victories with the MCC Young Cricketers in back-to-back Second XI Twenty20 fixtures at Merchant Taylors’ School.
A Derbyshire squad, which was rotated to include the likes of Ben Slater, Gary Wilson and Calum MacLeod in preparation for this week’s Vitality Blast, came up against tough and competitive young opposition.
Matt Critchley starred with both bat and ball as Derbyshire claimed a narrow victory by four runs in the opening fixture.
The all-rounder hit 71 not out after opening the innings, including seven fours and one six. Ben Slater (31) also made a quick contribution, whilst Calum MacLeod hit 14 on his first appearance for Derbyshire.
Chasing 158 runs to win in 20 overs, the MCC Young Cricketers got off to a good start, with Ben Curran making 54 off 37 balls in an opening stand worth 76 in nine overs.
But no other batsman could make more than 22 and wickets at regular intervals for Critchley (3-26) and Matt McKiernan (2-24) restricted the hosts to 153-7, the Young Cricketers falling five runs short.
Derbyshire again won the toss in the day’s final fixture, electing to bat once again. This time MacLeod (14) opened with Slater (30) but neither could better their score from the first match.
Gary Wilson, returning from international duty with Ireland, top-scored with 52 off just 37 balls, largely in partnership with Anuj Dal (51 not out).
The pair added 64 in little over eight overs as Derbyshire posted 164-5 in their innings.
Derbyshire struck quickly in the MCC chase, but the Young Cricketers continued to score at a fast pace and were soon 78-3 near the halfway stage and had wickets in had to push on in the final overs.
A 72-run stand between Joe Barrett (66) and Eliot Callis (34) took the MCC to the brink of victory, allowing the middle-order to hit the winning runs with five balls to spare.
Vitality Blast is back! Derbyshire Falcons host seven Twenty20 games this July and August. Purchase your tickets in advance and save from £4. Buy online or call 01332 388 101.