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Falcons soar past Eagles

Essex Eagles came crashing down to earth after a run of four consecutive Yorkshire Bank 40 victories as Derbyshire Falcons romped to a 63-run win in a record-breaking Group B match at Leek.

The Falcons’ total of 321 for five was their best in a 40-over game and the highest score Essex had conceded in one-day cricket.

Shivnarine Chanderpaul made an unbeaten 85, Wes Durston hammered 71 from 46 balls and 21-year-old Staffordshire-born all-rounder Alex Hughes struck his first senior half-century with 59 not out from 36 balls.

Mark Pettini replied with 88 from 68 deliveries but Essex came up well short when they were bowled out for 258 in a game that contained 20 sixes. Hughes returned 3-56.

Derbyshire's batsmen turned up the heat in the Staffordshire sunshine from the start with Chesney Hughes hitting the opening three deliveries from Tim Phillips for four.

Although David Masters trapped Hughes lbw in the third over, Durston drove the seamer for two sixes and pulled Sajid Mahmood for another as he raced to a 34-ball fifty.

The 100 came up in the 12th over and, after Durston was bowled trying to pull Mahmood, Chanderpaul and Wayne Madsen kept Derbyshire on course for a big total by adding 78 in 10 overs.

Chanderpaul straight-drove Phillips for six and pulled a Tom Westley full-toss for another.

Despite Madsen inducing a leading edge to mid-off from the latter after a run-a-ball 33, Alex Hughes then launched an explosive assault on the Essex bowlers in the last 10 overs.

He pulled and drove Masters for two sixes and two fours, in an over which cost 21, on his way to a 32-ball half-century and ended the innings by striking Graham Napier over long-off and into the trees.

It left Napier with bruised figures of 1-76 from eight overs, his most expensive for Essex, five days after his 7-32 and four wickets in four balls against Surrey.

It was an impressive display of controlled hitting from Hughes, whose stand with Chanderpaul was worth 102 in 10 overs and left Essex chasing a formidable target even on a small ground.

Hamish Rutherford launched the chase by driving Durston for six but the New Zealand opener was caught behind trying to cut Mark Turner and Westley chipped the paceman to midwicket in his next over.

Pettini was dropped by wicketkeeper Richard Johnson on 18 and he and Owais Shah took the score to 101 before Tim Groenewald had the latter lbw for 24 in the 15th over.

Groenewald struck an even bigger blow in his next over when Ryan ten Doeschate played across the line and was lbw for six.

When James Foster was caught at long leg, Essex were 130 for five.

Napier threatened to turn the game with four sixes in his 16-ball 38 until he carved Mark Footitt to mid-off – a wicket that ended any hopes of a turnaround.

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