Derbyshire’s travels in 2019 begin with a trip down the M5 to Bristol to play Gloucestershire in the Specsavers County Championship.
Heritage Officer, David Griffin, looks at the statistical background to the game.
Derbyshire last played Gloucestershire at Bristol in the final game of the 2017 season, when they triumphed by 157 runs. This is the largest margin of victory by runs at Bristol by Derbyshire, although they won by 185 runs at Cheltenham in 2009 and by 158 runs at Gloucester in 1922.
In that fixture, Imran 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 sides have met on 131 occasions in first class cricket, with an additional game abandoned at Bristol in 1980, and to date, Derbyshire have won 32 games, Gloucestershire 49, with 49 draws and one game tied – the only one in Derbyshire’s history.
That tied game at Bristol in 1987 featured a fine all-round performance from 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 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 two. 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.
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 17 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 seven 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.
The highest match aggregate between these sides at Bristol is 1444 in 2006.
Travis Birt took a liking to Gloucestershire during his tenure as an overseas player in 2006 and 2007, playing four games against Gloucestershire, batting 6 times and scoring 614 runs at an average of 102.33, including three hundreds and a 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, while two of Alex Hughes’ five first class hundreds have been scored against Gloucestershire.
Derbyshire have scored more than 300 runs in the fourth innings against Gloucestershire on three 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.
Six bowlers have taken ten 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 3rd instance in the club’s history of a Derbyshire player scoring a hundred and taking ten wickets in a match.
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 ten 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.
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