Ben Coad and Matthew Waite starred for Yorkshire as they won a low-scoring thriller against Derbyshire played out on an incredibly difficult Chesterfield batting pitch as the Vikings maintained their hopes of Royal London Cup knockout qualification.
Having won the toss, Yorkshire bowled the Falcons out for just 110 in 42.4 overs, with Coad returning a brilliant 2-15 from 10 overs and Waite also striking twice.
Waite then contributed a crucial 23 – the highest score of the match – to a successful chase which slipped to 88-7 and 109-9 before a fourth win in seven Group B games was sealed when Harry Sullivan pushed the winning run into the covers off Mark Watt’s left-arm spin.
England Lions seamer Sam Conners claimed a superb 5-28 for the hosts.
The Vikings have now moved to eight points with one group game remaining and are back in the top three places in Group B after Hampshire beat Essex at the Ageas Bowl.
Yorkshire know they will qualify for the knockout stages if they win Tuesday’s final day clash with already qualified Hampshire at Scarborough, though they could lose and still qualify.
Make no mistake, this Queen’s Park pitch was horrible to bat on as uneven bounce wreaked havoc. Derbyshire’s batters played with significant unease, hardly playing a shot in anger as five of Yorkshire’s six-man attack claimed two wickets apiece.
Brooke Guest hit two of three boundaries in one Tom Loten over which went for 17, but there were only a total of 11 fours and a six in the entire innings.
Yorkshire were more aggressive, though still batted with a huge amount of trepidation as Conners steamed in from the Pavilion End to secure his best List A figures in only his eighth game.
Derbyshire’s top-scorer was Harry Came with 19, while only Mattie McKiernan (17), Billy Godleman (16) and Ben Aitchison (16) made it beyond 15.
Along with Coad and Waite, Matthew Revis also claimed two wickets, as did spinners Sullivan and Jack Shutt. Left-armer Sullivan had come into the side for the rested Dom Bess.
A number of batters wore blows on the body from deliveries which rose from short of a length and even a good length, while a number also kept low.
It is thought that heavy rain last week significantly impacted the nature of the pitch.
The fourth over of Yorkshire’s chase summed things up when Harry Duke, facing Ben Aitchison, could have been bowled by one which shot through ankle height before wearing blows in the midriff and on the helmet.
Derbyshire came into this fixture bottom of Group B on three points, despite winning two of six games.
They had been deducted two points after McKiernan had used an illegal bat in an early fixture. And when Pakistan overseas star Shan Masood arrived at the crease today, his bat was also found not to conform with the regulations.
It is unclear whether Derbyshire will suffer a further penalty given the left-hander had not faced a ball by the time his bat had been checked. It was handed straight to match referee Wayne Noon.
Coad set the tone brilliantly with the new ball, squaring captain Billy Godleman up and getting him caught and bowled as the score fell to 20-1 after five overs.
Luis Reece skewed Waite to Jonny Tattersall at gully before the same bowler had Masood caught behind – 28-3 in the 12th over.
Derbyshire did not score a run off the bat from the start of the 10th over to the fifth ball of the 16th as the score moved to 31-3.
Coad returned to trap Guest lbw for 12 – 55-4 after 21 – before Revis had Anuj Dal caught at point and bowled Mark Watt. Sandwiched in between, left-arm spinner Sullivan bowled Came on the way to 77-7 in the 31st.
McKiernan hit the only six of the match over mid-wicket off Sullivan – a full toss which took the pitch out of the equation.
McKiernan was then trapped lbw by Shutt, who later ended the innings by getting Nick Potts via the same method. Again, sandwiched in between Sullivan bowled Aitchison.
Yorkshire were expected to come out and throw some caution to the wind in an attempt to put a dent in the low total.
And while Will Fraine crashed a couple of boundaries through the covers in an early 12, it became obvious that it was almost impossible to play aggressively for any period of time.
Fraine was bowled by one which shot through low by Conners – 14-1 in the third over – before Fin Bean was superbly caught one-handed at gully by Dal off Aitchison.
When Conners had Duke caught at mid-on by a diving Reece off a miscued pull, Yorkshire were 25-3 in the ninth.
Captain Tattersall drove and pulled a couple of boundaries in nine only to offer a return catch to Aitchison as the score fell to 37-4 after 14 overs.
Waite then played a gem of an innings in the context of this fixture, strong square of the wicket in hitting five boundaries to virtually double Yorkshire’s score.
However, after pulling Conners through mid-wicket for four to move into the twenties, he was bowled next ball. And Revis fell caught at slip off the same bowler shortly afterwards – 78-6 in the 21st.
Loten played on to hand Conners his fifth wicket with a further 10 runs added to the total.
George Hill’s calm 21 had helped reduce the target into single figures, only for him to feel for one outside off from Aitchison and feather behind, leaving the score at 101-8 with nine still needed in the 29th over.
Coad, who had hit an important boundary over the top off Watt, was then bowled by Nick Potts with the scores level at the end of the 31st over before, with nerves aplenty, Sullivan hit the winning run off Scotland international Watt in the next over.
No matter the flaws in the pitch, it contributed to a wonderful game of cricket.