Jonathan Clare, the Derbyshire all-rounder, was one of a number of players who caught the eye during the county’s pre-season Barbados T20 Cup clash against Essex.
Clare, who has been warming up for the new season in promising fashion with both bat and ball in the Caribbean after an injury-ravaged 2010 summer, struck the final ball of the match for four to give the Falcons victory and a place in the Barbados T20 Cup semi-final.
Consolation for Essex came in the form shown by two of their youngsters. The 21-year-old Adam Wheater hit three legside sixes during an 18-ball innings of 29 before he was caught on the boundary attempting another big hit, and 17-year-old paceman Reece Topley took 3 for 18 from his three overs.
Topley, the son of former Essex favourite Don Topley, dismissed Wes Durston with his first delivery, caught at third man, and then had Wayne Madsen caught at deep cover before bowling Garry Park first ball with an inswinging yorker.
Derbyshire returned to the Kensington Oval the following day to overcome the University of the West Indies by 15 runs in the semi-finals to set up a meeting against Warwickshire in the floodlit final – a match they subsequently lost.
But Durston impressed in the semi-final with an unbeaten 53 from 57 balls, while Derbyshire’s former Essex fast bowler Tony Palladino made an immediate impact for his new county removing both openers with his first and fifth balls to leave UWI 24 for 2. The students eventually finished on 122 for 5.