Durston returns to haunt Unicorns
Former Unicorns batsman Wes Durston struck an unbeaten century to help Derbyshire begin their Clydesdale Bank 40 Group C campaign with a comfortable 129-run win at Wormsley.
New Zealand opener Martin Guptill joined Durston in reaching three figures as the pair combined in a decisive double-century stand that formed the basis of Derbyshire’s 287 for three.
The Unicorns never came close in pursuit as they managed 158 for nine, with part-time spinner Chesney Hughes bagging a career-best 5-29 on his first appearance of the season.
Durston secured a return to county ranks following an impressive inaugural season with the Unicorns three years ago, but was short on thanks at Sir Paul Getty’s picturesque ground in Wormsley today.
The 31-year-old blasted an unbeaten 120 from 111 balls, which included 11 fours and a six.
Guptill was even more punishing as he reached 125 from 102 balls before Glen Querl had him caught by debutant Michael Roberts.
That ended a 222-run second-wicket stand that took 31 overs and had begun on rocky ground when Hughes was trapped lbw by Warren Lee in just the third over.
From there, the duo took over dominating the Unicorns attack, most notably former Lancashire paceman Steve Cheetham who, after delivering an early maiden, went for 53 from his six overs.
The Unicorns’ chase got off to a bad start with Tim Groenewald, who claimed 2-19, removed openers Michael Thornley and Roberts early.
Former Leicestershire wicketkeeper-batsman Tom New and James Ord then set about repairing the damage in a 46-run stand but the Unicorns middle-order fell apart as they lost four wickets for 10 runs.
It was Hughes’ part-time spin that did the damage as he removed both New and Ord before also snaring skipper Keith Parsons.
It was a killer blow and, with the rate also out of hand, the attempted late hitting from the Unicorns’ tail only allowed Hughes to complete his maiden five-wicket haul.
The Anguilla-born 20-year-old managed that when he claimed Querl and Lee in the same over to cap a resounding win to start Derbyshire’s campaign.