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Cricket: Dunstall are so solid crew in Alvaston & Boulton draw

By Burton Mail  |  Posted: July 29, 2014

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DUNSTALL consolidated their position in the top half of the Derbyshire Premier League as a depleted side claimed a convincing winning draw at struggling Alvaston & Boulton.

The Stags were impressive with the bat, teenager Callum Brodrick (85) coming close to his maiden first XI century for the club and James Benstead (64) and Tom Mandleberg (35 from 29 balls) continuing their good form.

They eventually closed on a decent 225-8 and might have posted more had it not been for a stutter in the final ten overs, young spinner Hamid Qadri helping himself to 4-17.

Shorn of key men Steve Brodrick and Sam Eaton, and with Jon Allcock unfit to bowl owing to a hamstring injury, Tom Bailey was the only recognised seamer at captain Matt Gouldstone's disposal.

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Faced with a dry, dusty pitch he turned to Benstead's part-time off-spin with the new ball, the 35-year-old rising to the challenge by collecting 2-39 in 15 overs off the reel.

Fellow tweaker Martin Clewley (3-54) was as reliable as ever at the other end, picking up the key wicket of former Derbyshire star Stephen Stubbings for 56 as he deservedly passed 30 league wickets for the season.

Once Gouldstone had Derbyshire Academy prospect Rahib Ali stumped by Andy Malkin one short of a half-century the contest was effectively over, the hosts happy to see out the draw as Dunstall collected the lion's share of the points.

Having won the toss at a sweltering Raygar Arena, Gouldstone had no hesitation in opting to bat, particularly with the home side missing former New Zealand paceman Iain O'Brien and ex-county off-spinner Andy Gray.

Colin Griggs and Adam Wheatcroft found some early movement and bounce, the latter finding the inside edge of Staffordshire Under-17s man Ben Whitehouse's blade to have him caught behind for just a single.

The pacy Wheatcroft unsettled Benstead with a couple of bumpers but the opener safely negotiated his spell, while Brodrick at the other end was in fine nick, peppering the boundary three times in one over from Griggs.

The spin of Chris Stevenson applied the brakes in the middle overs, but by the second drinks break at 34 overs Benstead and Brodrick had shared a century stand.

It was Stevenson who eventually separated them with the score on 140, Benstead trapped in front by one that turned significantly.

Mandleberg belted six boundaries in his brilliant little cameo, threatening to take the game away from A&B, but Chris McIlroy took a tidy catch in the deep to give Qadri a first victim.

The returning Wheatcroft got another reward when Gouldstone got a little feather on an attempted hook shot against a short one, and it was 199-5 when Brodrick missed a sweep from Qadri and was lbw.

Alex Mason made only two before falling to the same bowler, but Andy Malkin's 17 at almost a run a ball ensured the innings did not grind to a complete halt. He eventually fell to Stevenson, with Allcock the last wicket to fall when Griggs produced a stunning diving catch at mid-off.

McIlroy and Stubbings made steady progress in the A&B reply but, just one ball after surviving a huge lbw appeal, McIlroy was tempted down the wicket by Benstead and a leading edge was neatly caught by Brodrick at cover.

It was 43-2 when Benstead struck again, this time an arm ball hitting Jamie Rowland adjacent.

Ali and Stubbings put on 74 before Clewley got his man, and when he lured Atiq Bhatti into an uppish drive second ball the visitors had renewed hope of a win.

Adris Azam was caught from a mishit sweep against Clewley, and the big wicket came when Ali missed an attempted lofted drive against Gouldstone's twirlers, Malkin whipping off the bails in an instant.

The returning Bailey deceived Kabeer Imtiaz with a beautifully disguised slower ball to leave A&B 151-7, but try as they might Dunstall weren't able to find a way to separate the eighth-wicket pair of Griggs (36no) and Qadri (10no).

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