Luis Reece's all-round show puts Derbyshire in box seat

Luis Reece belts one through the covers PA Images via Getty Images

Derbyshire 101 for 1 (Reece 50*) trail Leicestershire 199 (Dearden 70, Melton 4-22) by 98 runs

Derbyshire enjoyed an outstanding first day with ball and bat in the Bob Willis Trophy match against Leicestershire at the Fischer County Ground, Grace Road.

The visitors bowled Leicestershire out for 199 after the Foxes had chosen to bat first before a fine unbroken partnership of 92, compiled off only 17.3 overs, between Luis Reece and Wayne Madsen saw the Peakites close on 101, just 98 runs behind with nine first innings wickets in hand.

It was all the more impressive for the fact that while Leicestershire made just one change from the team which beat Lancashire in their opening fixture (Will Davis coming in for Tom Taylor), injuries and rotation saw Derbyshire make four from the side which pulled off a remarkable win against Nottinghamshire at Trent Bridge.

Hughes, Melton, Anuj Dal and first-class debutant Ed Barnes came in for Fynn Hudson-Prentice, Matt McKiernan, Michael Cohen and Ben Aitchison.

Paceman Sam Conners make the early breakthrough on a pitch offering both pace and carry, as Ben Slater - formerly of Derbyshire, but currently on loan at Leicestershire from Nottinghamshire - pushed at a length delivery and edged to third slip, where Matt Critchley held the catch.

At the other end Hassan Azad had one escape, Critchley failing to hold a chance two-handed to his left when Luis Reece found the edge, but there was no reprieve when, having allowed a delivery from Reece to go through to wicketkeeper Harvey Hosein, Azad - who was batting outside his crease - did not step back behind the line. The alert Hosein rolled the ball into the stumps from around 12 yards back to effect a remarkable stumping.

Leicestershire were in a hole at 15 for 2, and it deepened when captain Colin Ackermann edged an out-swinger from Dustin Melton low to Leus Du Plooy at second slip.

It was just as well for the Foxes that Harry Dearden looked in good touch, but with lunch approaching the young left-hander lost another partner as George Rhodes edged a gentle outswinger from Alex Hughes, and Hosein, standing up to the wicket, took a neat catch. With Rhodes also out his ground, the wicketkeeper completed a 'just in case' stumping.

The key wicket in the afternoon session was that of Dearden, who had hit 12 boundaries as he moved on to 70 before getting a questionable decision in being given out leg before wicket to a delivery from Conners that replays suggested pitched outside leg stump.

Ben Mike looked comfortable before a misjudged leave allowed an inswinging delivery from Melton to clip the top of his off-stump. Melton then picked up two wickets in two balls as first Harry Swindells inside edged an attempted drive onto off stump and then Dieter Klein bottom-edged a cut at a wide ball on to his middle stump.

Callum Parkinson, Davis and Chris Wright did their best to drag their side past 200, and earn at least one batting bonus point, but both Parkinson and Davis went the same way, edging defensive pushes at Reece to Hosein.

Wright briefly lifted Leicestershire's spirits with a fine delivery that seamed away to take Billy Godleman's edge and give Azad a waist-high catch at first slip, but Reece and Madsen took full advantage of inconsistent bowling, a fast outfield and a short boundary to score at 5.25 runs per over in taking Derbyshire past 100 before the close.

"I'm absolutely delighted," Melton said. "I felt the love from the staff and the players as well - we've always been big believers in celebrating each other's successes.

"Coming back from lockdown there was a momentum shift in my mindset, especially in regards to first-class cricket: getting away from being a clubby, greedy, wicket-taking bowler who thinks he can just run in and take a pole whenever he feels like it.

"I had to do a bit of soul searching and change my outlook, do whatever the team needs, and if that means banging a couple in, fine, and if it means just trying to control the scoreboard, fine, I'll do that."