Elton and former Darley Dale wicketkeeper Jack Stone says it is a case of “so far, so good” at the end of his first season as a Derbyshire Premier League cricketer.
When he was approached by Premier League Denby earlier this year, Stone made the difficult decision to leave Darley Dale to try his luck at the higher level. He had been at Darley for 14 seasons since the age of 11, and had greatly enjoyed his time there. But if he was going to make the step up,it was now or never.
After an excellent start, Denby flirted with the top of the Premier League in the first half of the season, but their form tailed off in August and they finished mid-table. Stone achieved more stumpings than any other wicketkeeper in the league and was ever present for his new club. Denby also reached the semi-finals of both the Premier Cup and the Twenty20 knock-out competitions.
Away from Denby, Stone was flattered to be asked to keep wicket for a Premier League select 11, who faced a full-strength Derbyshire CCC team in a warm-up T20 game at Queens Park, Chesterfield in early July. Other than Stone, the league side comprised mainly the overseas professionals playing for the various Premier league clubs. These included former Australian Test bowler Michael Beer, who figured in the 2011 Ashes series down under and is currently with Swarkstone. Also appearing for the league side was Stone’s Denby teammate, Jury Snyman, a hard-hitting batsman from Johannesburg.
On the hottest evening of the year, Derbyshire batted first and ran up a total of 169 ,with Chesney Hughes and Wes Durston the main contributors. Stone was extremely disappointed when a confident appeal for a catch against Durston was turned down by the umpire. But he pouched a neat catch to send back Shiv Thakor in the next over.
Opening for the league side, Snyman set off with an array of glorious attacking shots. He showed the county bowlers very little respect as he rattled up 55 in no time. At the halfway point, it seemed that a big upset was on the cards, but once Snyman had departed, Derbyshire took control and eventually ran out victors by 30 runs.
Still, it was all quite an experience for the Elton man who still turns out for his home village in midweek Longstone League games and Sunday friendly matches.