Statistical Preview: Middlesex

Monday 17th September 2018
& News
Written by Danny Painter

Derbyshire’s final away fixture of the 2018 season is at Lord’s against one of the traditional heavyweights of county cricket, Middlesex.

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

This will be the 98th scheduled first-class game between the two sides and, except for Durham who were only admitted to the County Championship in 1992, this is the lowest number of games Derbyshire has played against any of the other counties. By way of contrast, Derbyshire have played Leicestershire on 210 occasions.

The reason for this statistical anomaly arose from Middesex’s refusal to play Derbyshire at all in the years prior to 1929, when many county fixtures were arranged by the counties themselves, and they chose not to participate in games with Derbyshire.

Derbyshire have won 24 matches in this series, with Middlesex claiming 34 wins, 38 draws and one abandonment, at Lord’s in 1931.

The last time the sides met was in the opening game of the 2018 season, as Derbyshire triumphed by 101 runs, and the last time they played each other at Lord’s was in the 2nd game of the 2013 season.

This was Derbyshire’s first season back in division one of the county championship, following their promotion in 2012, and an absence of 12 years. Middlesex won a low-scoring encounter by 9 wickets despite Derbyshire securing a 16-run lead in the first innings. Unfortunately, they were dismissed for 60 in their 2nd innings, Toby Roland-Jones ending the innings with a hat trick.

Opening the batting in that game, Billy Godleman made 57 in the Derbyshire first innings, reaching his half century off 244 balls, the equal-slowest ever in the history of the county championship in terms of balls faced, although in terms of time, it was the slowest-ever recorded in the county championship, taking 323 minutes.

Derbyshire’s biggest win in these games was the innings and 177 runs win at Ilkeston in 1977, the year Middlesex won the county championship.

Middlesex batted first on an overcast Saturday morning and were dismissed for 54, with Mike Hendrick taking 6-19 and Colin Tunnicliffe, 4-22. The Middlesex side contained eight Test cricketers and their bowling attack included the fearsome West Indian fast bowler, Wayne Daniel, Mike Selvey, and the England spin twins, Phil Edmonds and John Emburey.

Derbyshire’s lead was 121 by the close of play, however, and when the game resumed on the Monday, Tunnicliffe produced one of the greatest displays of hitting in Derbyshire’s history. Batting at number 10, he scored 82 not out, smashing the ball to all parts of the ground as Edmonds bowled one 6-over spell in which he conceded 80 runs.

Middlesex were duly dispatched for 138 in their 2nd innings as the wickets were shared amongst the Derbyshire attack of Hendrick, Tunnicliffe, Eddie Barlow, Fred Swarbrook and Geoff Miller.

Derbyshire’s highest team total in these fixtures is 414, at Lord’s in 2002, when Derbyshire won by 204 runs, as Michael Di Venuto scored an unbeaten 192 in the 1st innings and 113 in the 2nd, before slow left arm bowler, Lian Wharton, spun the visitors to victory on the final day, taking a career-best 6-62.

In addition to Di Venuto, Chris Adams is the other Derbyshire player to score hundreds in each innings against Middlesex, making 125 and 136 not out in a crushing 363 runs win at Derby in 1996, aided by Andrew Harris’ 6-43 and 6-40, match figures only bettered by Tommy Mitchell’s 13-113 at Derby in 1934.

Mitchell twice took ten wickets in a match against Middlesex, as did Les Jackson, whilst Kevin Dean (at Derby in 2002), Cliff Gladwin – with a remarkable 11-41 – (at Chesterfield in 1957), Devon Malcolm (at Lord’s in 1997) and Geoff Miller (at Lord’s in 1976) all performed the feat once.

No Derbyshire batsman has scored a double century against Middlesex – Di Venuto’s 192 is the highest – although there have been 4 for Middlesex, all scored by England Test batsmen, Denis Compton, Bill Edrich, Mike Gatting and Owais Shah.

Derbyshire batsmen have recorded 26 hundreds against Middlesex, Chris Adams leading the way with 3, with 9 of them scored at Lord’s. Adams is the only player to score a century before lunch – in 1992, at Derby.

Two players carried their bat through a completed innings against Middlesex; Di Venuto scoring 192 not out in a total of 414 at Lord’s in 2002, and Charlie Lee scoring 96 out of 211 at Chesterfield in 1956.

Derbyshire’s highest debut score in these games is Michael Dighton’s 68 at Southgate in 2007, while Bob Stephenson – at Derby in 1967, and Chesney Hughes – at Lord’s in 2009, both made half centuries on debut.

There have been 10 instances of a Derbyshire player  being dismissed in the nineties against Middlesex, the most recent being Ben Slater’s 99 in the opening game of the 2018 season, while John Morris also made 99, at Lord’s in 1999.

Denis Smith, who scored 30 hundreds for the county, never made one at Lord’s, being dismissed there for 95, 96 and 97 in the 1930s.

Largely because of the two counties being in different divisions for much of the 21st century, Derbyshire batsmen have only recorded 7 hundreds against Middlesex since the advent of two divisions. In addition to the Di Venuto’s two in one game, Wayne Madsen has also scored two, at Uxbridge in 2009, and at Derby in 2013, with Chris Rogers also scoring a century at Uxbridge, Greg Smith scoring one at Derby in 2008, and Luis Reece scoring 157 in the win at Derby earlier this season.

Eddie Gothard, a former Derbyshire captain and Honorary Secretary, took a hat-trick against Middlesex at Derby in 1947, although it was the great Les Jackson who recorded the best innings figures against Middlesex, taking 8-44 at Burton-on-Trent in 1960. Four years earlier, Jackson also recorded the best innings figures for Derbyshire at Lord’s, taking 7-48, and Harold Rhodes also took seven in an innings (7-74) there, in 1961.

Only one player has taken five wickets in an innings at Lord’s in the 21st century – Wharton’s 6-62 – while Kevin Dean’s 6-59 at Derby in the same year are the best figures overall. The most recent five-wicket haul was Tony Palladino’s 5-39 at Derby in 2011, his first-ever 5-wicket tally for the county.

The youngest player to make his debut against Middlesex is Tom Poynton, who was aged 17 years and 255 days when he appeared for Derbyshire at Southgate in 2007.

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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