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Stunning turnaround for Hughes

Posted in Domestic Cricket

Chesney Hughes

Chesney Hughes struck 270 not out for Derbyshire at Headingley just days after making 15 in a club game

Most readers of this website are unlikely to have heard of Fraser Kirk, but the chances are he feels pretty pleased with himself just now.

Kirk is a bowler who plays for Denby in the Derbyshire Premier League and on Saturday he returned figures of 2-53 in a drawn match with Sandiacre Town.

That may not seem particularly notable, but a closer look at the scorecard for that fixture reveals one of Kirk's victims to have been none other than Derbyshire batsman Chesney Hughes, who went on to carry his bat for a sensational 270 against Yorkshire this week.

Cricket, like any other sport, is loved for its unpredictability, but few players can have experienced a change in fortunes quite so significant as the one encountered by Derbyshire's Anguilla-born batsman over the last few days.

Hughes was dropped for last week's visit of Nottinghamshire after contributing scores of 20, four and nought in his three LV= County Championship innings this summer.

Given that he made only one appearance as Derbyshire secured the Division Two title in 2012, the prospects of further first-class action did not look great for the 22-year-old.

Scores of 45 and 63 for Derbyshire Seconds may have lifted Hughes' confidence and, after falling for just 15 in his club outing, he was duly recalled to the county's first team for the trip to Headingley and placed at the top of the order.

What followed will surely have brought a smile to Kirk's face.

Not only did Hughes go well beyond his previous first-class best of 167, the left-hander continued his marathon innings into the second afternoon and, by the time Tim Groenewald became the visitors' last man out, he was only four shy of Derbyshire's record first-class score, which George Davidson compiled back in 1896!

An innings of 270 can never really be anticipated, but consider how players in the Sandiacre Town or Denby dressing rooms may have reacted at the weekend had it been suggested that Hughes was set to come within one blow of making history.

On Saturday, Kirk dismissed a county pro struggling to find his form and a regular first-team place in whites.

Hughes can now expect to enjoy a prolonged run at the top of Derbyshire's order, having played what is likely to be the innings of his life.