Newly-promoted Stanton-by-Dale received a tough induction into life in Division Six South of the Derbyshire County League when succumbing to a six-wicket defeat on the opening day of the season.
Any lingering promotion celebrations soon dissipated as Stanton went down at home to Quarndon 3rd, despite a half-century for vice-captain Chris Guest.
Going in at number four, Guest’s 75 helped his side recover from a poor start when their lack of patience with the bat was impressively exploited by the disciplined bowling of Sam Davey (4-29 in seven overs).
On a slow, early-season pitch, only opener Adam Gilbert (17) looked assured and after slumping to 30-4, it took Guest to give the innings some momentum.
Even so, a succession of batting partners came and went, with Matt Wilkinson (4-35 in 11.1 overs) picking up where Davey had left off for Quarndon. And Stanton’s only partnership of note came when Guest was joined by Lee Bradly, who struck a powerful 21.
With 11 balls of the allotted 46 overs left, Guest also perished, caught on the boundary, leaving the hosts all out for a below-par 170 that also included 32 extras.
After the interval, Stanton went in search of immediate wickets and their attacking approach was rewarded when Gilbert (2-49 in ten overs) had opener Adam Green trapped lbw for a duck. However, wickets then became hard to come by, with Quarndon making the most of the extra pace offered by the home seamers and only Jim Keys (1-25 in ten overs) being able to tie the batsman down through varying his pace intelligently.
After knocks of 32 from Mohammad Ikram and 37 from Simon McIntyre, Gilbert did give Stanton hope when having the latter caught behind by new signing Phil Middleton. But that quickly evaporated as Louis Johnson struck 45 from just 25 balls and embarked on an undefeated, matchwinning stand with Chris Sanders (38no).