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Cricket: Top four is the target as Dunstall keep going

By Burton Mail  |  Posted: August 01, 2014

LEAGUE'S LEADING SCORER ... Dunstall opener James Benstead.

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TOM Mandleberg says a top-four finish for Dunstall would represent excellent progress for the club.

The Stags are sitting fifth in the Derbyshire Premier League after their solid winning draw at A&B last week.

A win over Chesterfield at home tomorrow, 12.30pm start, would lift them above Ticknall and back into fourth spot.

And fourth is where vice-captain Mandleberg wants his side to finish behind a dominant top three of Ockbrook, Sandiacre and Swarkestone.

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"To be in the top four would be a great achievement for everyone at the club," he said. "People would sit up and take notice of that.

"Last season, teams thought we were down and out after the first half of the season.

"But this time around it's gone much better and we've surprised one or two."

The performances of batsman James Benstead – the division's leading run-scorer – and spinners Martin Clewley and Steve Brodrick have been vital.

But Mandleberg says the trio have been backed up well by the rest of the team.

"They've been outstanding for us this season, they really have, but other people have chipped in with key performances at vital times," said the middle order batsman and occasional pace bowler.

"Three players don't make a team."

Dunstall have even pushed for the top four without their Derbyshire batsman, Scott Elstone, making regular appearances.

"People said without Scott we would've been easy to play against," said Mandleberg. "But Chesterfield away is the only game we've won with him in the side, so we've coped well without him."

Dunstall are still awaiting news on whether Elstone will be available tomorrow after his inclusion in Derbyshire's one-day match against Worcestershire yesterday, but Sam Eaton returns to bolster the batting and add another bowling option.

Brodrick is also back after being unavailable last week.

He missed out on seeing his son, Callum, 16, play a beautiful innings of 85 to again underline his vast potential – for Dunstall and Derbyshire.

Benstead opened the bowling with his off-spin against A&B, but if the Deer Park pitch is green-tinged, Tom Bailey and Mandleberg could be handed the new cherry.

"James bowled really well against A&B," said Mandleberg. "If it wasn't for a decision from the umpire and a dropped catch he'd have had even more wickets. We'll have to wait and see on the pitch. We'd like one that spins for Martin and Brod but will have to see what it's like."

The match will also be Mandleberg's last this season for the Deer Parkers as he departs for a winter of agriculture and grade cricket in Sydney, Australia.

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