When fifty reached 200

Wayne Madsen’s unbeaten 204 in Derbyshire’s last Specsavers County Championship match against Gloucestershire was the 50th double hundred scored by a batsman for the county.

Heritage Officer and Statistician, David Griffin, looks at the history of Derbyshire’s double hundreds.

Derbyshire played their first first-class game in 1871 but had to wait until August 1896 for a batsman to score a double century. Prior to that date, just 17 hundreds had been scored for the county, with only Frank Sugg – against Hampshire at Southampton in 1885 – threatening to score a double, reaching 187.

However, when George Davidson, indisputably one of Derbyshire’s premier all-rounders, made 274 against Lancashire at Old Trafford in 1896, not only did he become the county’s first double centurion, but he also set a high mark for Derbyshire which has still to be beaten over 100 years later.

That in itself is a remarkable statistic, given the plethora of high-quality batsmen who followed him, although in the following thirty-three years just two more doubles were scored; by Bill Storer (in 1899) and by Charles Ollivierre (in 1904) – both at Chesterfield.

Ollivierre’s innings of 229 was remarkable as it followed 343 by Essex’ Percy Perrins in the visitors’ first innings, and Ollivierre himself added an unbeaten 92 in Derbyshire’s second innings to secure victory.

It was a further 25 years before Harry Storer scored the first of two consecutive double centuries before Les Townsend, Stan Worthington and Denis Smith – all England Test match batsmen – recorded double hundreds in that golden era for the county between 1933 and 1937 when Derbyshire finished 6th, 3rd, 2nd, 1st and 3rd in the County Championship in five consecutive seasons.

In the immediate post-war period, Pat Vaulkhard scored the only hundred of his first-class career, which also happened to be the second-highest score for the county, 264 against Nottinghamshire at Trent Bridge in 1946.

Charlie Elliott, George Pope, John Eggar and Arnold Hamer all scored double hundreds before another long gap – this time between 1955 and 1976 – without a double centurion.

1976 saw two doubles, one in the quiet and sparsely-attended Parks at Oxford as Phil Sharpe made 228 against the university side; the other, a remarkable 217 by Eddie Barlow against Surrey at Ilkeston in July.

Barlow’s runs came against a Test-quality attack of Jackman, Arnold, Pocock and Initkhab, as he dominated an innings in which the next highest score was Alan Hill’s 35. He dominated in a way seldom seen before or since by a Derbyshire batsman, scoring 138 runs in the session between lunch and tea. Many observers – then, and on reflection, now – rate it as Derbyshire’s finest double hundred.

The next six double hundreds were all scored by one player, between 1978 and 1981. Peter Kirsten, a South African who was unable to play Test cricket at his peak because of his country’s exclusion from that level of the game, had joined Derbyshire in 1978 under the tutelage of his fellow countryman, Barlow.

Contrary to popular belief, Kirsten was not an unqualified success at the start of his Derbyshire career, averaging 36 and 31 in his first two seasons, but over the course of the ensuing three seasons, 1980, 1981 and 1982, he scored 5441 first class runs at an average of 61.13 with 17 hundreds and 21 fifties.

No other batsman in Derbyshire’s history has ever delivered such a productive spell of batting in terms of both runs and centuries.

His six double centuries are a record for Derbyshire – Kim Barnett and Chris Rogers both scored four – with five of them being not out. One can never assume that he would have converted the not out double hundreds into a treble, but the fact that in each of the instances where he scored a not out double, it was due to Derbyshire being forced to declare owing to the experimental ruling of sides having to declare after 100 overs in the first innings of county championship matches.

It’s difficult to select one Kirsten double as a stand-out from the others, but perhaps his 213 not out against Glamorgan at Derby in 1980 is the pick of them. He went in to tea on 105 on the first day, and when he resumed after the break, there were just 18 overs of the 100 remaining before Derbyshire would be forced to declare. In the course of those 18 overs, Kirsten scored a further 103 runs in a magnificent and memorable display of cutting, pulling and driving.

By far the most productive decade for double hundreds was the 1990s when 13 were recorded by Peter Bowler, Mohammad Azharuddin, Kim Barnett, John Morris, Chris Adams, Adrian Rollins (who scored two double hundreds and finished on the losing side on both occasions), and Dean Jones.

Barnett’s 217 against Nottinghamshire at Derby in 1991 was flawless, while Bowler’s 241 against Hampshire at Portsmouth a year later was played on a fast pitch on which Bowler batted against the great West Indian fast bowler Malcolm Marshall with consummate ease.

Morris’ 229 at Cheltenham was also outstanding – again on a fast and bouncy track – taking on a fiery Courtney Walsh and hitting 32 fours and three sixes in his innings.

Azharuddin scored two doubles, with the best being 205 against Durham at Chesterfield in 1994, an innings which included 6 sixes, and which was regarded by David Graveney as the best he had ever seen in county cricket. Graveney had been struck for all 6 sixes, so his view may have been a little biased.

Dean Jones’ double at Sheffield in 1996 was made against a fine Yorkshire attack which included Test match bowlers in Darren Gough, Craig White and Chris Silverwood, while Adam’s 239 against Hampshire at Southampton in the same year was a brutal as well as exemplary innings, hitting 27 fours and five sixes.

Dominic Cork’s 200 not out against Durham at Derby in 2000 was the first – and only – double hundred scored for Derbyshire batting at number 8; indeed, no other batsman has ever achieved the feat batting as low as number 7 for the county.

The game had been a low-scoring one over the first two innings with Derbyshire making 167 all out and Durham replying with 144. Derbyshire were 121-6 when Cork arrived at the crease, and 476-7 when he declared. It was a truly wonderful innings and contained 32 fours and three sixes. Derbyshire won the match by 232 runs.

The remainder of the 21st century has seen the double hundreds register dominated by Australians, with seven of the 12 coming from Michael Di Venuto, Simon Katich and Chris Rogers, who scored four in a row for the county, including an unbeaten 248 against Warwickshire at Edgbaston in 2008. This is the fourth highest individual score for Derbyshire, and had he not run out of partners, may well have gone on to score a triple.

Katich’s double came in the monumental 801-8 at Taunton in 2007, after Derbyshire had been 0-2. Katich was a quiet and undemonstrative batsman, but he scored lots of runs during his one season with the county.

Di Venuto scored two doubles and the best was 230 against Northamptonshire at Derby in 2002 when Derbyshire scored 538 all out in 119.2 overs on the opening day of the game. A strike rate of over 4.5 runs per over is almost unheard of in four-day cricket, but Derbyshire achieved this unusually high rate thanks largely to Di Venuto’s attacking innings.

And so to the current decade which has seen five doubles. The current captain, Billy Godleman scored 204 against Worcestershire at Derby in 2016, while Wayne Madsen scored 231 not out against Northamptonshire at Northampton in 2012, and also took part in a 9th wicket stand with Tom Poynton of 261, a remarkable feat but which isn’t even a record for Derbyshire. Warren and Chapman still hold the world record for that wicket – 283 against Warwickshire at Blackwell in 1910.

Chesney Hughes’ 270 not out against Yorkshire at Headingley in 2013 stands as the second highest individual score ever for Derbyshire. Hughes carried his bat in a 544-minute innings during which he faced 415 balls and hit 40 fours and three sixes.

He was fully aware that Derbyshire’s highest-ever individual score was 274 and sank to his knees at the non-striker’s end when Tim Groenewald was given out LBW, leaving Hughes stranded five short of a new record.

Martin Guptill’s 227 against Gloucestershire at Bristol in 2015 was one of the most brutal double hundreds ever scored for Derbyshire and is ranked as the 18th fastest double hundred in the history of the game, based on balls faced (165). He struck 11 sixes – a Derbyshire record – and 29 fours.

The most recent – and 50th in all for Derbyshire – was scored by Wayne Madsen against Gloucestershire at Bristol on 14th April 2019.

It’s highly improbable that a double century has been scored for Derbyshire in colder conditions – it was four degrees centigrade at one point during the evening session, and Madsen passed two landmarks during the innings, his 10,000th first class run for Derbyshire, and his 15,000th run in all formats for the county.

This writer has had the pleasure of watching 28 of Derbyshire’s 50 double hundreds and photographing ten of them and while rose-tinted spectacles can sometimes spoil the view, in terms of overall quality, the match situation and considering the opposition, I would humbly rank Barlow’s 217 at Ilkeston in 1976 as the best.

Essex, Hampshire and Nottinghamshire have been on the receiving end of the most Derbyshire double centuries, with five apiece, while 14 have been scored at Derby and nine at Chesterfield, with Trent Bridge (4) being Derbyshire batsmen’s favourite away venue for doubles.

Kirsten with six leads the way with most doubles, with Barnett and Rogers in second place with four each;

6 PN Kirsten
4 KJ Barnett and CJL Rogers
2 CJ Adams, M Azharuddin, PD Bowler, MJ Di Venuto, WL Madsen, AS Rollins, D Smith, H Storer and TS Worthington
1 EJ Barlow, DG Cork, GA Davidson, JD Eggar, CS Elliott, A Hamer, C F Hughes, BA Godleman, MJ Guptill, DM Jones, JE Morris, CA Ollivierre. GH Pope, SM Katich, PJ Sharpe, W Storer, LF Townsend and P Vaulkhard

The full list of Derbyshire double century-makers is as follows;

274 GA Davidson v Lancashire at Old Trafford in 1896
270* CF Hughes v Yorkshire at Headingley in 2013
264 P Vaulkhard v Nottinghamshire at Trent Bridge in 1946
248* CJL Rogers v Warwickshire at Edgbaston in 2008
241* PD Bowler v Hampshire at Portsmouth in 1992
239* KJ Barnett v Leicestershire at Leicester in 1988
239 CJ Adams v Hampshire at Southampton in 1996
238* TS Worthington v Sussex at Derby in 1937
233 LF Townsend v Leicestershire at Loughborough in 1933
232 H Storer v Essex at Derby in 1933
231* WL Madsen v Northamptonshire at Northampton in 2012
230 MJ Di Venuto v Northamptonshire at Derby in 2002
229 CA Ollivierre v Essex at Chesterfield in 1904
229 JE Morris v Gloucestershire at Cheltenham in 1993
228 PJ Sharpe v Oxford University at The Parks, Oxford in 1976
228 PN Kirsten v Somerset at Taunton in 1981
227 A Hamer v Nottinghamshire at Trent Bridge in 1955
227 MJ Guptill v Gloucestershire at Bristol in 2015
225 D Smith v Hampshire at Chesterfield in 1935
222 CJL Rogers v Essex at Derby in 2009
221 SM Katich v Somerset at Taunton in 2007
219 JD Eggar v Yorkshire at Bradford in 1949
217 EJ Barlow v Surrey at Ilkeston in 1976
217 KJ Barnett v Nottinghamshire at Derby in 1991
216* W Storer v Leicestershire at Chesterfield in 1899
216 CJ Adams v Kent at Maidstone in 1995
215 CS Elliott v Nottinghamshire at Trent Bridge in 1947
214* DM Jones v Yorkshire at Sheffield in 1996
213* PN Kirsten v Glamorgan at Derby in 1980
212 M Azharuddin v Leicestershire at Derby in 1991
210* KJ Barnett v Yorkshire at Derby in 1997
210 PD Bowler v Kent at Chesterfield in 1990
210 AS Rollins v Hampshire at Chesterfield in 1997
209* PN Kirsten v Northamptonshire at Derby in 1980
209 H Storer v Essex at derby in 1929
208 CJL Rogers v Kent at Derby in 2009
207* GH Pope v Hampshire at Portsmouth in 1948
206* PN Kirsten v Glamorgan at Chesterfield in 1978
205 M Azharrudin v Durham at Chesterfield in 1995
204* PN Kirsten v Lancashire at Blackpool in 1981
204* WL Madsen v Gloucestershire at Bristol 2019
204 BA Godleman v Worcestershire at Derby in 2016
203 MJ Di Venuto v Durham at Derby in 2005
202* D Smith v Nottinghamshire at Trent Bridge in 1937
202* PN Kirsten v Essex at Chesterfield in 1980
200* TS Worthington v Worcestershire at Chesterfield in 1933
200* AS Rollins v Gloucestershire at Bristol in 1995
200* KJ Barnett v Leicestershire at Derby in 1996
200* DG Cork v Durham at Derby in 2000
200 CJL Rogers v Surrey at The Oval inn 2010

The East Midlands Rivalry! Guarantee your tickets today for the big Vitality Blast clash against Notts Outlaws on Friday 26 July. Buy online or call 01332 388 101.

Buy Tickets