Stirling ton sinks Derbyshire hopes
Middlesex 253 for 3 beat Derbyshire 219 by 34 runs
A century from Paul Stirling set Middlesex up for a 34-run victory over Derbyshire in the Clydesdale Bank 40 game at Chesterfield to end the home side's hopes of taking second place in Group A.
Stirling made 109 off 81 balls to take the Panthers to 253 for eight with 17-year-old off-spinner Peter Burgoyne taking two for 36 on his senior debut for the Falcons. Chesney Hughes top scored with 66 and Wayne Madsen made 50 but Steven Finn took three for 28 as Derbyshire were bowled out for 219 with 26 balls to spare.
The Panthers looked set for a more formidable total when 73 came off the first 10 overs but the spinners dragged it back for the Falcons with Burgoyne impressing on his first-team debut.
Hughes also checked the Panthers progress by conceding only 39 from his eight overs and had former Derbyshire captain Chris Rogers caught on the midwicket boundary off a full toss. Hughes should have had Stirling on 51 when the Irishman skied a big pull but Wayne Madsen spilled the chance at midwicket and that proved a costly miss.
Stirling went on to an excellent century off 75 balls and he hit six sixes and six fours before a miscued drive was well caught by Martin Guptill sprinting in from long off. Scott Newman scored 33 from 39 balls before he was Burgoyne's first victim when he missed a pull and despite an unbeaten 34 from Ollie Rayner, the Panthers managed only 68 from the last 10 overs.
Rayner swept Burgoyne for six but another of Derbyshire's promising young spinners Tom Knight conceded only four from the last over to keep the Panthers in range. Guptill had scored an unbeaten century on the same ground a week earlier in a six-wicket win over Yorkshire but this time he fell to Finn in the first over of the chase.
The England paceman got the fifth ball of the innings to move away just enough and although Dawid Malan could not hold the edge at first slip, wicketkeeper John Simpson scooped up the rebound.
Hughes responded by twice driving Finn to the ropes and he launched Toby Roland-Jones into the pavilion before Finn struck again by bowling Wes Durston for 12 in the seventh over. The Falcons' best chance now rested with Hughes and after reaching his fifty from 51 balls, he pulled Steven Crook for his second six before two wickets in three balls put the Panthers firmly in charge.
Hughes clipped Tom Smith to backward square where Crook held a diving catch and the slow left-armer then took a return catch to send back Greg Smith. Madsen hit 50 off 57 balls before he was deceived by a Crook slower ball and although Tom Poynton hit Smith for consecutive sixes, Derbyshire's last three wickets fell in the space of six balls.