Teenage left-arm spinner Callum Parkinson took three wickets on debut as a depleted Derbyshire attack responded impressively to adversity on the first day of the Specsavers County Championship match against promotion candidates Leicestershire at the Fischer County Ground.
With pacemen Will Davis and Ben Cotton both injured, and overseas player Hamish Rutherford perhaps surprisingly left out, the Peakites gave a first class debut to wicket-keeper Alex Mellor, on loan from Warwickshire, as well as to Parkinson.
There were also first first-class appearances of the season for seamers Alex Hughes and Tom Milnes.
Foxes’ skipper Mark Cosgrove won the toss and chose to bat, but Milnes struck early, finding the edge of Angus Robson’s bat with a delivery which swung away from the right-hander. Wayne Madsen held a sharp catch low down at third slip.
The experienced pairing of Paul Horton and Neil Dexter batted solidly, however, with Dexter looking in particularly good touch. The South African had hit six fours, mostly driven through the off-side, when an uncharacteristic flash at a wide delivery from former Leicestershire all-rounder Shiv Thakor shortly before the break saw him edge a catch behind.
The Foxes resumed after lunch on 102-2, but 19-year-old Lancastrian Parkinson first bowled Cosgrove, who went back to a ball which turned and stayed a touch low, for 14, and then had Paul Horton caught behind for 42 with a delivery which bounced more than the opener expected.
Thakor then picked up the wicket of Mark Pettini for 13, leg before to a well-pitched up delivery which also stayed a fraction low.
A stand of 68 for the sixth wicket between Niall O’Brien and Ned Eckersley saw Leicestershire pick up their first batting bonus point, but O’Brien became the third Foxes batsman to reach 40 but fail to go on when he went leg before to the very occasional off-spin of Wayne Madsen, playing for turn that was not there.
Eckersley looked in good touch, however, and found a positive partner in Clint McKay. The big Australian pulled Thakor for a massive six early in his innings, and had hit 40 from 42 balls in adding 83 with Eckersley for the seventh wicket when he swung and missed at Parkinson, who finished with 3-64 from 26 overs.
Eckersley was unbeaten at the close, on 73 - comfortably the highest score of the day - made from 160 balls as Leicestershire closed on 300-7.