Guest checks into Chelmsford to lead Derbyshire to victory


Derbyshire 318 for 6 (Guest 88, McKiernan 72*, Reece 52) beat Essex 226 by 92 runs

Brooke Guest anchored Derbyshire to the success of the Royal London Cup against Essex with the highest 50-over score of his increasingly impressive career.

Gast, who has four first-class centuries to his name this season, frustrated a large, sun-kissed Chelmsford crowd with a 79-ball 88, taking the podium in the midst of a mini collapse as three wickets fell into five balls.

However, the Derbyshire innings came alive again when the 25-year-old Guest was joined by Mattie McKiernan (72 not out) for a 125-run sixth wicket tie. It helped Derbyshire reach 318 for 6 and ultimately book just their second Royal London win in two seasons.

Essex was a semi-finalist last year but was always second best despite winning the toss and asking Derbyshire to hit a benign wicket.

Only South African Grant Roelofsen and 18-year-old Jamal Richards lingered for a while, marking their debuts with 43 and 46 respectively, while Essex was knocked out 226 in 45 overs and 92 runs short

Under the spotlight of a day-night game, Essex’s pursuit got off to the worst possible start when Feroze Khushi was held on the back foot by Sam Conners without scoring. He was quickly followed by captain Tom Westley, who similarly went for a ball that stayed low from Ben Aitchison.

Josh Rymell calmed down with Roelofsen, the pair racked up 53 runs, before Luis Reece drifted behind the unstoppable score for 38.

Robin Das briefly amused himself with 19 from 13 balls, including a straight six, before Mark Watt retaliated by positioning himself under a steepling catch from his own bowling. Will Buttleman was caught behind Reece and suddenly Essex was in serious trouble at 99 for 5.

Roelofsen had impressed in local club cricket and the 2nd XI this summer and played himself in calmly but efficiently. He hadn’t looked into trouble until he was stranded halfway down the field by an Anuj Dal throw from center to be knocked out for 43.

Aaron Beard, on the other hand, was on the wrong side of another kind of run-out when McKiernan diverted Aron Nijjar’s drive to the non-striker’s stumps with Beard out of his ground.

Shane Snater launched a balloon attempt by Alex Thomson to give Guest a comfortable catch, behind the stumps. Nijjar and Richards refused to go down without a fight with a hard hitting ninth wicket score of 51 before Guest took his fourth catch to end Nijjar’s fun.

Richards hit two sixes over midwicket in his enterprising first knock before falling just inside the ropes.

Earlier in the day, Reece and Billy Godleman overcame a tentative start by targeting Beard for some rough treatment – including accidentally bundling him into his follow-up when the Derbyshire captain went through for a quick single.

Beard had conceded only two runs on his first two overs, but was retired after an opening spell of four over with 35 to his name, accentuated by consecutive sixes over his head from Godleman. Godleman left when he decided to attack Snater and was bowled after an opening score of 64 runs.

Harry Came joined Reece to add another fifty for the second wicket before hitting the ball back to Nijjar to speed up the quick tangle of wickets. Tom Wood lasted for three throws before his center stump was fed back by Nijjar and then Reece tamely knocked the ball back to Westley to end a stay of 63 balls for 52.

Richards claimed his first senior wicket when Dal snapped to midwicket after a 52nd-wicket partnership with Guest, bringing Derbyshire back to level.

Guest and McKiernan held the scoreboard so high that Derbyshire failed to score from only four of the last 68 balls. Gast advanced to 88 with a six over mid-on on Snater, but was killed on the next ball trying the same shot, only to find Beard on the fence.