As the 2019 season approaches, Heritage Officer, David Griffin, takes a statistical look at the season to come.
In 1959 Derbyshire began their season on 29 April at Fenner’s against Cambridge University – the first time the county started a first-class match in April in its history.
Fast forward 60 seasons and we are about to face the prospect of first-class cricket being played by Derbyshire for the first time ever in March, and even before the clocks go forward.
With the season expected to close at Lord’s on 26 September, it means the season will last for a scheduled six months, or 184 days. This will therefore be the longest season in Derbyshire’s history, beating the 178 days of the 2014 season.
For purposes of comparison, in 1979, Derbyshire played 96 days of cricket in a season which lasted just 130 days; while in 1999, the county played 87 days of cricket in a season lasting 152 days.
In 2019, there are 84 scheduled days of cricket to be spread over those 184 days.
Derbyshire begin their first-class season with a game at The Pattonair County Ground, Derby, against Leeds/Bradford MCCU on 26 March.
It may surprise some to know that this will be the inaugural first-class match between the two sides, as all the four previous meetings at Derby – in 2001, 2003, 2009 and 2011 – were not first-class matches. The two teams were also scheduled to play at Weetwood, Leeds in 2018, but the three-day (non-first class) game was abandoned without a ball being bowled.
A significant match landmark will occur in 2019 when, on 19 April, Derbyshire’s 1,000th scheduled List A limited overs game will take place at Derby against Northamptonshire, the first having taken place on 22 May 1963 against Hampshire at Bournemouth in what was then a brand new competition, played over 65 overs per side, and known as the Gillette Cup.
The breakdown of results in the first 999 matches is as follows;
No Result 48
Derbyshire’s most successful seasons in limited overs cricket were in 1981 when they won the NatWest Trophy, in 1990 when they won the RAL Sunday League, and in 1993, when they won the Benson and Hedges Cup.
The best consecutive run of wins was seven in 1978 under the captaincy of Eddie Barlow when they county reached the Benson and Hedges Cup Final but were beaten by Kent. The run to the final in the group and knockout stages, plus matches in the John Player League and Gillette Cup actually saw Derbyshire win 13 of their first 15 one-day games that season with one defeat – by two wickets – and the other game ending as a ‘no result.’
Derbyshire have reached 24 quarter-finals in this form of the game, nine semi-finals, and six finals, winning two.
One of the great benefits of playing limited overs cricket, especially in the last quarter of the 20th century, was the opportunity to play at venues which rarely staged top class cricket. Derbyshire have played their 999 List A games on 101 grounds, but have visited the following grounds for just one fixture;
Aberdeen, Basingstoke, Bath, Bishop’s Stortford, Bletchley, Brentwood, Bristol (Ironmould Lane), Chester, Coventry, Darley Dale, Deventer (Netherlands), Dudley, Durham, Exmouth, Finedon, Forfar, Hamilton Crescent (Glasgow), Guildford, Hastings, Hull, Ilford, Jesmond, Kendal, Lakenham, Lincoln, Liverpool (Aigburth), Luton, March, Newport, Nuneaton, The Parks (Oxford), Pontypridd, Repton School, Schiedam (Netherlands), Bramall Lane (Sheffield), Shrewsbury, Southport, Stone, Sutton, Uxbridge, Watford, Welbeck, Wellington, Whitgift School, Wisbech, Worksop and Wormsley – a remarkable 47 grounds on which the county has played just a single List A fixture.
Player milestones are also looming, especially for Wayne Madsen, currently the county’s longest-serving player. He requires just 231 runs to become only the ninth player to reach 15,000 in all forms of the game for Derbyshire, and 261 to pass the 10,000-run mark in first-class matches. He should become the 21st player to appear in 350 matches for Derbyshire across all forms of the game, and whilst Kim Barnett’s 53 first-class centuries record looks a little too distant, John Morris’ total of 33 and Denis Smith’s 30 are both within sight for Madsen. Finally, with the final game of the 2018 Vitality Blast having been washed-out against Durham, the opening fixture of the 2019 campaign, against Yorkshire at Chesterfield, will see Madsen become the first player to play 100 Twenty20 games for the county.
Tony Palladino, following on from a successful 2018, will start the season on 347 wickets for Derbyshire in all formats so will doubtless have an eye on 400, and if he does so would become the 38th Derbyshire bowler to reach that landmark.
Captain, Billy Godleman should breeze past 7,000 runs in all forms of the game for Derbyshire – he will begin the season on 6,686, and with 782 runs in T20 cricket, he should become just the fourth Derbyshire batsman to reach 1,000 runs in that format, following Madsen, Wes Durston and Chesney Hughes.
Alex Hughes has now played 181 matches for the county in all formats, so should pass the 200 mark by mid-season, and with 39 career T20 wickets – and a record-equalling 17 in the 2018 season – will have an eye on Durston (44) and Tim Groenewald (51) who are the only bowlers with more T20 wickets for the county.
Matt Critchley, who produced several splendid performances in 2018, should reach the 100-game landmark (currently on 96) and pass the 100-wicket mark (currently on 87).
Vitality Blast is back! Derbyshire Falcons host seven Twenty20 games this summer. Purchase your tickets in advance and save. Buy online or call 01332 388 101.