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Statistical Preview: Gloucestershire

Saturday 22nd September 2018
& News
Written by Danny Painter

Derbyshire’s final game of the season is at home to Gloucestershire at The 3aaa County Ground starting on Monday 24 September.

Heritage Officer, David Griffin, looks at the statistical background to the game.

These two counties have played each other on 130 occasions in first class cricket, with Derbyshire winning 32 times, Gloucestershire 48 times, and 49 draws. There was also one abandonment – at Bristol, in June 1980 – and a tied game, the only one in Derbyshire’s history – also at Bristol in July 1987.

That game featured a fine all-round performance from one of the lesser lights of Derbyshire cricket at the time, Rajesh ‘Reg’ Sharma, who scored 55 in his only innings, and took 3-63 and 6-80 with his off-spin, cleaning up the tail of David Lawrence and Courtney Walsh while ‘Jack’ Russell stood and watched from the other end as the game ended in such a rare finale.

The decision taken before the start of the 2017 season to reduce the number of games played in the Division Two and increase the number of teams at the same time, means that Derbyshire haven’t met Gloucestershire at Derby since August 2016, and for the second season in succession, the sides only meet once, and, again, only in the final game of the season.

These anomalies were always present until 4-day cricket and one division allowed all counties to play each other once, and two divisions of equal number maintained that equality, and it does seem illogical to have returned to the random fixture scheduling that can, and possibly will, determine promotion from Division Two.

Derbyshire’s recent record against Gloucestershire is good, having won three and drawn four of the last seven games between the sides, including the Imran Tahir-inspired 157 runs win at Bristol at the end of last summer. Tahir’s 5-76 won the game on the final day, while Derbyshire’s first innings included hundreds from Wayne Madsen (121) and Alex Hughes (142).

The two counties first met in August 1886 at Derby when the visitors won a low-scoring match by 47 runs. WG Grace captained Gloucestershire, and was dismissed in both innings by George Davidson, Derbyshire’s premier all-rounder of the age, for 20 and 2. Grace, however, bowled unchanged in Derbyshire’s first innings of 55 all out, taking 6-34 from 12 four-ball overs, adding a further wicket in the second innings.

This was Grace’s only appearance for Gloucestershire against Derbyshire, although he did play against them for London County, MCC and United South of England, appearing at both Derby and Chesterfield.

Derbyshire’s highest innings score in these games is 545-9 at Bristol, a game Derbyshire won, and in which Martin Guptill scored 227 off 165 balls, including a Derbyshire record 11 sixes. It is the fastest double century ever scored for Derbyshire, and only 16 have been scored from fewer balls in the history of the game.

Derbyshire also scored over 500 in an innings at Cheltenham in 1993, thanks to a brutal 229 scored off 228 balls by John Morris, and a maiden first-class century by Dominic Cork. Allan Warner’s 10 wickets in the match added to Derbyshire’s superiority as they triumphed by 7 wickets. Morris and Cork added 302 runs for the fifth wicket in Derbyshire’s first innings, only the ninth partnership over 300 in the Club’s history, and Derbyshire’s highest for any wicket against Gloucestershire.

The drawn game in 2001 at Derby was a festival of runs, the match aggregate of 1,466 runs sitting in ninth position on Derbyshire’s all-time list. Mark Alleyne and Jeremy Snape scored hundreds for the visitors, as did Steve Stubbings for Derbyshire, but the game was most notable for a feat of batsmanship by Chris Bassano for Derbyshire… and a fire at the ground.

Bassano scored a hundred in each innings on his county championship debut, a feat never previously performed by any player, making 186 not out and 106.

The fire – which occurred while play was in progress but didn’t halt the match – started in the rear of the former Grandstand Hotel, in what was a disused carpet warehouse and necessitated the appearance of several fire appliances. The surreal sight of smoke wafting across the ground, and fireman on top of ladders hosing the fire as Bassano and Stubbings batted serenely towards the close on day two, was a sight rarely seen at a cricket ground and surely not forgotten by those present.

Wicket-keeper/batsman, turned artist, Jack Russell, subsequently painted an image of the ground with the fire in progress – a game he played in.

Travis Birt took a liking to Gloucestershire during his tenure as an overseas player in 2006 and 2007, playing four games against Gloucestershire, batting six times and scoring 614 runs at an average of 102.33, including three hundreds and one fifty, and in the 2007 fixture at Bristol, scoring 302 runs in the match (140 and 162), the fourth-highest number of runs scored by a Derbyshire player in one first class match.

Three Derbyshire players have scored double centuries in these games, the aforementioned Morris (229), Guptill (227) and Adrian Rollins, who scored 200 not out. at Bristol in 1995.  The highest score at Derby is Bassano’s 186.

Gloucestershire batsmen have recorded four double centuries against Derbyshire, with Wally Hammond’s 237 at Bristol in 1938 and Shaun Young’s 237 at Cheltenham in 1997, being the highest.

Thirty-nine different players have scored 63 hundreds for Derbyshire against Gloucestershire, with Kim Barnett, Wayne Madsen and Steve Stubbings leading the way with four apiece. Alex Hughes has scored a century in each of the last two games between the two sides.

Derbyshire have scored more than 300 runs in the fourth innings against Gloucestershire on 3 occasions; 319-5 in the drawn game at Bristol in 2002, 303-9 in another draw at Derby in 1992, and 302 all out in the defeat at Bristol in 1921.

Kim Barnett is the only Derbyshire player to score a hundred before lunch against Gloucestershire, making 114 not out in the opening session of the game at Derby in 1988. Such was Barnett’s dominance in that innings, that when dismissed for 175, the team score was on only 250.

There have been 12 instances of a Derbyshire player being dismissed in the nineties against Gloucestershire, with Dan Birch and Ant Botha both scoring nineties in the first innings of the game at Derby in 2007.

Six bowlers have taken 10 wickets in a match, with Les Townsend’s 14-90 at Chesterfield in 1933 being the best, and Graham Wagg’s 10-133 at Derby in 2008 being the most recent. Wagg also scored a century in that game – 101 – just the third instance of a Derbyshire player scoring a hundred and taking wickets in a match in the Club’s history.

The best innings analysis achieved for Derbyshire is George Davidson’s 9-42 at Derby in 1886, when he dismissed Grace cheaply in each innings, while Cliff Gladwin recorded remarkable innings and match figures of 7-16 and 11-46 in Derbyshire’s win at Derby in 1955.

In the 21st century, there have been 10 instances of a Derbyshire player taking five wickets in an innings, with Wagg and Tony Palladino performing the feat twice each, the best being Wagg’s 6-56 at Derby in 2008.

Four-day cricket is back! Derbyshire host their final Specsavers County Championship match of the season against Gloucestershire from Monday 24 September. Buy your tickets in advance and save.

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