Matthew Fisher claimed a career best 5-30 as Yorkshire dominated with ball and then bat on a dream first day against Derbyshire at Chesterfield.

Shan Masood’s side are already well on the way to a first LV= Insurance County Championship win of the season after bowling the hosts out for 111 and replying with 272-5 from 59.5 overs. Rain ended play 5.1 overs early. 

Masood’s 67 off 81 balls represented his first half-century in 10 innings for Yorkshire since arriving last month, while Dawid Malan bettered him with 76 not out off 101.  

This day at the Queen’s Park ground could hardly have gone any better under the glare of the sun, with the seamers vindicating Masood’s decision to bowl first upon winning the toss.

Fisher and new ball partner Ben Coad claimed three wickets apiece as Derbyshire slipped to 24-6. 

Matthew Fisher

From that position, the hosts did well to get up beyond 100 on the stroke of lunch. But Yorkshire would have snapped your hand off for that total before a ball was bowled. Derby captain Leus du Plooy top-scored with 28 – one of only two batters to make it to 20.

England fringe Test quick Fisher, 25, took his tally of first-class wickets to 99 with the best haul of a career which has now seen him take a trio of five-fors. 

Fisher expertly led a relentless four-man attack, with Jordan Thompson also adding two wickets. George Hill was the other bowler. 

They didn’t give Derbyshire an inch on a pitch offering some assistance for the bowlers.

It would be easy to see this score and reflect back on last August’s One-Day Cup game between the two here when Yorkshire won by one wicket chasing 110.

That day, the pitch was a minefield. It bordered on dangerous as batters here and there took blows on the body with balls that lifted or departed to others which scooted through low.

This pitch was nothing like that at all. 

But it did enough before easing later in the day as Yorkshire responded strongly with the bat as they not only search for a first Championship win of the season but also their first since the opening week of last season.

Coad trapped Pakistani opener Haider Ali lbw five balls into the match before Fisher also struck in his first over to get a driving Brooke Guest caught behind as the score slipped to 8-2.

Coad then bowled Wayne Madsen with a beauty before Harry Came edged Fisher behind. 

Fisher had Matt Lamb caught at first slip by Hill following a parry from Adam Lyth at second before Coad trapped Luis Reece lbw to leave Derbyshire reeling at 24-6 inside nine overs.

Du Plooy and Alex Thomson (20) then shared 31 for the seventh wicket to give the scoreboard some respectability. 

But Thompson’s third ball accounted for the home side’s South African captain lbw, despite the Yorkshire seamer hobbling through his first three balls with a bit of ankle pain.

That left Derbyshire at 55-7 in the 17th over, and wicket number eight followed when Thomson got a leading edge against Thompson and was sharply caught and bowled – 76-8 in the 21st.

Fisher returned to the attack shortly before lunch to oust Mark Watt caught behind and Ben Aitchison bowled, wrapping up the home innings inside 32 overs. 

Yorkshire’s reply through the next two sessions was a strong one as Derbyshire’s seamers erred.

Maybe it was a classic case of searching for wickets knowing they had little room for manoeuvre with such a low total on the board. 

A trio of seamers used only bowled one maiden between them – and Lyth, Masood and Malan took advantage. 

Lyth and Fin Bean (28) shared 61 inside 11 overs for the first wicket, with the former looking in particular good order. He drove four of eight boundaries through the covers off seam and lofted Thomson’s off-spin for six on the way to 48.

After Bean edged Luis Reece’s left-arm medium pace to first slip, Lyth shared 51 with Masood, taking the visitors into the lead at 112-1 after 20 overs.

Unfortunately, Lyth fell immediately as, like Bean, he edged a drive to slip – this time off Aitchison (112-2).

Masood found a second partner in Malan, the pair sharing 88 either side of tea, where Yorkshire reached at 183-2.  

The skipper was strong on both sides of the wicket in reaching his fifty off 46 balls.

After the break, he was one of two quick wickets to fall to Scotland international spinner Watt – 212-4 in the 44th over.

Masood was caught and bowled by the left-armer, who then forced Hill to miscue high towards mid-off, where Ali took a good catch peddling back. Hill fell for seven, including a straight six to get off the mark.

Shan Masood

Sandwiched in between the wickets, Malan reached his fifty off 58  balls.

Watt (2-42 from 15 overs) was by far and away the pick of the home bowlers, and he ensured there was at least an element of control gained for his side late in the day.

Malan and Jonny Tattersall, playing his first Championship match of 2023, shared the fourth half-century stand of the innings – 54, of which the latter made 24.

Unfortunately, shortly before close he offered a return catch off a leading edge to juggling Reece as the score fell to 266-5 in the 58th over. 

Malan hit 12 fours and a six, and Matthew Revis will join him at the crease tomorrow. 

Ben Coad

PHOTOS: John Heald

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