Centuries, Wickets and Catches at Queen’s Park

Heritage Officer, David Griffin, takes a look at some of the batting, bowling and fielding records at Queen’s Park, Chesterfield.

Derbyshire batsmen have recorded 128 first-class centuries at Chesterfield over a period of 120 years.

The first was scored by Bill Storer in July 1899 when he made 216 against Leicestershire. This was the first double-hundred scored in the county, and only the second-ever for Derbyshire following George Davidson’s 274 at Old Trafford in 1896.

The most recent was scored by Wayne Madsen (116) against Northamptonshire in 2018.

Unsurprisingly, leading run-scorer Kim Barnett scored nine hundreds including three against Yorkshire, while another England Test batsman, Denis Smith, scored seven including 225 against Hampshire in 1935.

Leslie Townsend and John Wright both made five centuries, and several – Peter Kirsten, Garnet Lee, Madsen, Bruce Roberts, Harry Storer, Chris Wilkins and Stan Worthington all scored four.

Kirsten is the only batsman to score two double-hundreds, one of nine scored by Derbyshire players at Chesterfield; although the highest score was made by Charles Ollivierre against Essex in 1904. He scored 229 in the first innings and a further unbeaten 92 in the second as Derbyshire won by nine wickets.

Ollivierre’s individual match total of 321 runs, has only been bettered once in the county’s history – by Chris Rogers, who scored 340 runs against Surrey at The Oval in 2010.

The double-centurions roll of honour is as follows;

Charles Ollivierre 229 v Essex 1904
Denis Smith 225 v Hampshire 1935
Bill Storer 216* v Leicestershire 1899
Peter Bowler 210 v Kent 1990
Adrian Rollins 210 v Hampshire 1997
Peter Kirsten 206* v Glamorgan 1978
Mohammad Azharuddin 205 v Durham 1994
Peter Kirsten 202* v Essex 1980
Stan Worthington 200* v Worcestershire 1933

Queen’s Park has featured two centuries before lunch; opener Adrian Rollins made 102 against Glamorgan in 1997, and Mohammad Azharuddin moved from 72 to 172 in the morning session while scoring his 205 against Durham in 1994, an innings in which he also hit six sixes – all off David Graveney.

Peter Kirsten’s five-year Derbyshire career coincided with the 100 overs first innings limitation and four of his six Derbyshire record double-hundreds were unbeaten. At the time, it was a widely-held view that only this overs restriction prevented Kirsten becoming the first Derbyshire player to score a triple-hundred.

Surprisingly, given that Derbyshire have played over 400 first-class matches at Chesterfield, only one batsman has scored a century in each innings of a game there. Wayne Madsen made 109 and 105 against Surrey in 2010 – opening the batting in each innings, while he was also responsible for one of the most thrilling and determined hundreds in the past decade when he scored 141 against Yorkshire in 2013. Despite Derbyshire’s heavy defeat, Madsen stood head and shoulders above all other Derbyshire batsmen and must have been close to getting a call from the England Test selectors in a summer when he was the first player in the country to reach 1,000 first-class runs.

There have been just 14 instances of both opening batsmen scoring hundreds in the same innings for Derbyshire, and five of them have occurred at Chesterfield, most recently in 1997 by Adrian Rollins and Michael May against Glamorgan.

A curiosity occurred in 1983 when Iain Anderson and Kim Barnett recorded opening partnerships of 158 and 109 against Kent, only the second such instance in the county’s history.

Details on fastest hundreds are sketchy prior to WWII, but it is believed that James Pipe’s 71-ball century against Worcestershire in 2008 is the fastest by balls faced at the ground. Derbyshire were 123-5 when Pipe arrived at the crease, and when he was the last man out, Derbyshire had reached 356 and would go on to win by an innings and 95 runs. Pipe’s score of 133 was made from 121 balls and included 18 fours and four sixes.

The last time two Derbyshire batsmen scored a century in the same match at Queen’s Park was in 2017, by Matt Critchley (102) in the first innings, and Alex Hughes (108) in the second innings against Durham.

Four Derbyshire batsmen have carried their bat through a completed innings at Chesterfield; Peter Bowler, Charlie Lee, Denis Smith and John Wright, and the highest aggregate score at the ground was the 1,570 runs shared with Durham in 1994.

Despite the plethora of hundreds at Chesterfield, the traditionally fast-paced pitch has generally offered plenty of encouragement to bowlers as well.

There have been 270 instances of a Derbyshire bowler taking five wickets in an innings, and 41 instances of a bowler taking ten wickets in a match.

England Test match leg-spinner leads the way with six ten-wicket matches, and Arthur Morton had five either side of WWI.

The best match analysis is the barely-believable 14-48 by Archie Slater against Somerset in 1930. Slater was a medium-pace bowler, born in Pilsley, and he took 7-31 in the first innings of the game, and 7-17 in the second innings, off a combined 41.2 overs in the match.

The most recent instance of a bowler taking ten wickets in a match was in 2018 when Matt Critchley took 10-194 in the win over Northamptonshire, the first time a Derbyshire leg-spinner had taken ten wickets in a match at Queen’s Park since Tommy Mitchell took 10-125 against Nottinghamshire in 1937.

Mitchell leads the way with the most instances of five wickets in an innings with 29 including a record five instances of taking seven wickets in an innings.

Unsurprisingly, that great fast-bowling combination of Cliff Gladwin and Les Jackson also feature heavily in this category with Gladwin recording 22 five-fers, and Jackson 15, while Bill Bestwick, another in the long line of great fast bowlers produced by Derbyshire, managed 17 five-wicket hauls.

Walter Hickton, against Lancashire in 1874 produced the first five-wicket analysis in Chesterfield, taking 6-61, although this game was played at the Saltergate Ground in the town, Derbyshire not moving into the current Queen’s Park ground to play first class cricket until 1898.

It was Bill Bestwick who took the first five-wicket haul at the new ground, recording 5-53 in the first innings against Worcestershire in 1900 and 5-34 in the second.

Edwin Smith produced the best innings analysis, taking 8-21 against Worcestershire in 1951.

Just three bowlers have taken eight wickets in an innings more than once; Gladwin, Mike Hendrick and Leslie Townsend all managing it twice.

Only one player, George Pope, has scored a century and taken five wickets in an innings at the famous old ground – he scored 101 (and nought) and took 6-43 (and 2-28) against Northamptonshire in 1937.

Finally, Derbyshire batsmen have favoured Yorkshire as their opponents, with 18 hundreds against the white rose county, while the bowlers – with one eye on the Specsavers County Championship game this summer – have taken a likening to Northamptonshire, with a record seven instances of ten-wicket matches.

The Derbyshire record for most wicket-keeping dismissal in a match at Queen’s Park is held by Bob Taylor who took ten catches against Hampshire in 1963.

Finally, there have only been five instances of a fielder taking five catches in an innings in a first-class match for Derbyshire, and three of them occurred at Chesterfield; in 1978 by Phil Russell against the touring Pakistanis, and, remarkably, twice in 1960 by Derek Morgan against Glamorgan and by Charlie Lee against Lancashire.

Hopefully, the summer of 2019 will see some welcome additions to these records.

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