The annual Chesterfield Festival of Cricket kicks off this weekend as hosts Derbyshire Falcons welcome group leaders Northants Steelbacks to their most beautiful of out-grounds, Queens Park.
Both sides are coming of Friday night victories, although the visitors surely have the upper-hand based on tournament results. The Steelbacks sit on top of the North Group with six wins to their name and just the one loss, while the Falcons have had less success.
Derbyshire are once again wallowing toward the lower end of the table, but their game has been much improved since last season and with Wes Durston back at the helm on Friday, the side looked whole once again.
The batting improved immensely and Alex Hughes, perhaps relaxing without the extra stress of captaincy on his plate, took career best figures of 3-23 against Worcestershire
Northants did little wrong on Friday night, putting on a bowling and fielding display that severely hampered their Birmingham hosts, then chasing down the 86 with ease.
Such has been the story of the season for the 2015 runners up, and Derbyshire will have their work cut out to stop them in their tracks.
Having been out injured for some time, Wes Durston returned to lead the troops on Friday night and he got 32 runs from 19 balls in the chase. Not only is he good with the bat, his experience shines through in every aspect of his game and somehow the team always plays well when he does.
More than anything, Durston appears to really enjoy playing and that makes him a joy to watch.
Northants had an excellent night against the Bears on Friday, but Richard Gleeson stood out from the crowd. He had the Bears two wickets down for just eight runs after he removed the powerful opening pair of Ian Bell and Sam Hain.
With Derbyshire’s batters on good form at the moment, Northants will need someone like Gleeson to challenge them with the ball.
Derbyshire have named an unchanged squad from the one that beat Worcestershire on Friday night, including local boy, Harvey Hosein, who keeps his place behind the stumps.
Derbyshire squad: Wes Durston (captain), Neil Broom, Andy Carter, Matt Critchley, Scott Elstone, Harvey Hosein (wicket-keeper), Alex Hughes, Chesney Hughes, Wayne Madsen, Tom Milnes, Jimmy Neesham, Hamish Rutherford, Shiv Thakor
Likewise, Northants have named an unchanged squad. Azharullah was having treatment for a minor thigh strain last week but appeared in the victory at Edgbaston and is named again for this meeting.
Northants squad: Alex Wakely (captain), Mohammad Azharullah, Moin Ashraf, Josh Cobb, Steven Crook, Ben Duckett, Rob Keogh, Richard Gleeson, Richard Levi, Rob Newton, Adam Rossington (wicket-keeper), Ben Sanderson, Graeme White
Weather and conditions
The weather is expected to be mostly dry and varying between cloudy and sunny. There is a slight chance of a shower later on, but it shouldn’t interrupt the game too much.
Date: Sunday 3rd July
Ground: Queens Park, Chesterfield
Umpires: Nick Cook & Neil Mallender
Odds (SkyBet): Derbyshire Evens, Northants 4/5