Nottinghamshire 334 for 7 (Duckett 86, Conners 3-80) lead Derbyshire 260 (du Plooy 57, Guest 51) by 74 runs
Nottinghamshire will begin day three of this LV= Insurance County Championship match with a lead of 74 after a day that began with a flurry of boundaries turned at times into an attritional battle that reflected well on an inexperienced Derbyshire attack.
Ben Duckett top-scored with 86 but although every other Nottinghamshire batter bar Haseeb Hameed was able to build the foundations of an innings, none was able to make a score of real substance.
Although a couple of dismissals could be put down to poor shots, the hard work put in by 23-year-old Sam Conners (3 for 80), 19-year-old Nick Potts (2 for 39) in leading a makeshift seam attack earned its rewards.
Off-spinner Alex Thomson also picked up two wickets and the only disappointments for Derbyshire is that three catches went down and there were periods when runs were conceded too easily.
Two stoppages for light rain limited the morning session to 21 overs but still saw 99 runs added as Nottinghamshire made rapid progress against a Derbyshire attack forced into late changes by injuries to Suranga Lakmal and Anuj Dal.
Ben Slater and Hameed were quickly into their stride, taking it in turn to find the boundary as Liam Hurt and Conners strove to find the right lengths but Nottinghamshire’s progress was jolted as Conners dismissed both openers in the space of 14 deliveries.
Hameed fell to a brilliant one-handed catch low to his left by Wayne Madsen at second slip before Slater pushed at a ball that he could only feather through to keeper Brooke Guest.
Duckett and Clarke added 84 for the third wicket either side of lunch, Duckett looking in ominously fluent form as he completed a sixth half-century from nine innings this season before Clarke, dropped at short mid-wicket off Alex Hughes on 31, dragged the ball on to his stumps reaching for a wide delivery by Potts to fall for 37.
The left-handed Duckett seemed poised for a second hundred of the campaign as he quickly moved into the 80s but after a reverse sweep against Thomson brought him a 12th boundary the off-spinner exacted revenge almost immediately.
Going on to the back foot in anticipation of a ball he could cut, Duckett was presented instead with a full delivery that bowled him.
Derbyshire’s joy at removing another of their opponents’ most potent batting threats had to be set against another injury setback, with Luis Reece leaving the field after being unable to complete his ninth over, and two more dropped catches, both by Thomson at first slip, sparing Lyndon James first on six and again on 13.
Nottinghamshire lost their fifth wicket when Steven Mullaney edged behind to give Potts a second wicket and were only five runs in front when Thomson made some amends for his errors in the field by dismissing James, inducing an edge that Madsen snapped up at slip.
Thereafter, Nottinghamshire contented themselves with grinding out whatever advantage they could accrue. When Tom Moores slapped a wide long-hop from Madsen’s off-spin through backward point to secure a third batting point it was a first boundary for 20 overs.
Moores made 40 from 79 balls before he was caught behind down the legside as Conners bowled his second over with the second new ball before bad light terminated play with 14.5 of the scheduled overs unbowled.