Following the Royal London One-Day Cup Final, Heritage Officer and Statistician, David Griffin, takes a look back at Derbyshire’s varying experiences in Lord’s finals.
It’s been some years since Lord’s was full for a domestic cup final, so it probably comes as no surprise that the ECB has decided that future one-day finals will take place at Trent Bridge, Nottingham.
As fine a ground as Trent Bridge is, developed over the past two decades and with good-sized crowds for domestic one-day and Twenty20 fixtures, it’s got a tough act to follow.
Lord’s, not for nothing known as the Home of Cricket, was a simply wonderful place to be on the day of a final in the heyday of domestic knockout cricket, always attracting sell-out crowds, with huge swathes of partisan supporters cheering on their own county.
Between 1963, when Lord’s hosted the first Gillette Cup Final, and the early 21st century, when Gloucestershire dominated Lord’s finals, the ground was always full to capacity and played host to some remarkable cricket.
Derbyshire featured in six Lord’s finals, winning two of them, as follows;
1969 v Yorkshire Gillette Cup Lost by 69 runs
1978 v Kent Benson and Hedges Cup Lost by 6 wickets
1981 v Northamptonshire Nat West Trophy Won by losing fewer wickets
1988 v Hampshire Benson and Hedges Cup Lost by 7 wickets
1993 v Lancashire Benson and Hedges Cup Won 6 runs
1998 v Lancashire Nat West Trophy Lost by 9 wickets
It’s undeniable that all four defeats were heavy ones, and the two wins were close-run; the 1981 final was the first to be decided by virtue of the scores being level, Derbyshire having lost fewer wickets, but to various extents, inexperience certainly played a part in all the losing finals.
In 1969, few sides had really come to grips with the new format of limited overs, only introduced in 1963 as the Gillette Cup. Sides still opened with their usual batsmen and bowlers, and it was quite normal to see three slips and a gulley in the opening 10-20 overs. Yorkshire were full of experience and easily won a one-sided final.
In 1978, Derbyshire were playing exceptional one day cricket; in the first 15 games of that summer, they won 13, lost one and had one rained off – the best sequence of successful one-day cricket in the club’s history. They also had some quality players; captained by Eddie Barlow, and including Test cricketers, Bob Taylor, Mike Hendrick and Geoff Miller, plus a future Test player and Derbyshire great, Peter Kirsten, but they were also inexperienced in certain areas. Bob Wincer, for example, only came into the side on the morning of the game when Colin Tunnicliffe withdrew with an injury. It was only Wincer’s second List A game and although he actually performed admirably, it was always going to be a struggle for a Derbyshire team up against a Kent side which included seven current or future Test cricketers, and which was one of the pre-eminent sides in county cricket at the time.
By contrast, by the time Derbyshire next reached a Lord’s final – in 1981 – they were prepared and ready to win. The side had been bolstered by recruits Barry Wood (a serial winner with Lancashire) and David Steele. Kirsten and his overseas batting partner, John Wright were at or approaching their batting peaks, Hendrick, Miller and Taylor were all successful Test cricketers, while Alan Hill, Paul Newman and Colin Tunnicliffe (the only three of the 11 not to play Test cricket) were all fine county cricketers. The final member of the eleven was future captain and Test batsman, Kim Barnett.
Derbyshire had all bases covered – pace, spin, attack, defence and the best ‘keeper of them all in Taylor.
The game had everything and it took every ball of the 120 overs to separate Derbyshire and Northamptonshire. The winning run was a leg bye, and Derbyshire won their first trophy for 45 years with the scores level having lost fewer wickets. How fitting that the Derbyshire-born pair of Miller and Tunnicliffe were at the crease when the victory came.
The 1988 final saw Derbyshire take on Hampshire with a strong bowling unit, but probably lacking enough strength in the batting.
Derbyshire’s pace attack of Michael Holding, Devon Malcolm, Ole Mortensen, Paul Newman and Allan Warner, was as good as most in the country, but the attack lacked a spinner, or a left-armer, and the tail was long – Holding coming in to bat at number seven.
The toss was arguably crucial – Hampshire won it, put Derbyshire in and bowled them out for 117, with Stephen Jefferies taking 5-13, having previously played one first class match for Derbyshire. One can only speculate as to how Derbyshire might have bowled had they won the toss, but it’s hard to imagine that the Hampshire batsmen would have enjoyed making first use of the pitch against Holding et al.
The 1993 final saw Derbyshire’s side restored to a similar strength to that which won in 1981. Full of seasoned professionals, Barnett, Peter Bowler, John Morris and Chris Adams was a powerful and experienced top four, with Tim O’Gorman, Dominic Cork and Karl Krikken following. The bowlers, with Malcolm, Mortensen and Warner leading the way, was experienced and skilled and would have been complemented by Ian Bishop had the extremely fast West Indian Test bowler not been sidelined by injury earlier in the season.
In one of those quirks of the rules which sometimes only sport can throw up, Derbyshire were not allowed to replace Bishop, despite his departure from the club being the result of an injury, and so the final spot at Lord’s went to Frank Griffith, a young and uncapped all-rounder.
Griffith’s name went down in Derbyshire cricketing folklore after he bowled the dramatic final over against a star-studded Lancashire, known as the One Day Cup Kings in the 1990s, and secured a thrilling win in the gathering gloom at almost 8.45pm. Captain Kim Barnett, who played in four finals for the county, reckoned this was Derbyshire’s greatest triumph during his time at the club – becoming the only county to win a domestic final without an overseas player.
The last final, also against Lancashire, in 1998, saw Derbyshire again fielding an inexperienced side, despite the presence of Barnett, Michael Slater, the Australian Test opener, plus Cork and Philip DeFreitas. Lancashire were able to call upon players of the calibre of Wasim Akram, Michael Atherton, Neil Fairbrother, John Crawley, Andrew Flintoff and Glen Chapple and the result was a one-side final with Derbyshire dismissed for 108 in a 2-day game interrupted by rain. Barnett and Slater had opened with a partnership of 70 but slumped to 92-7 at the end of the first day. There was no coming back from that and Lancashire prevailed by nine wickets.
Over the course of the six finals, Derbyshire fielded 49 different players, with Barnett appearing in four of them, captaining the side on two occasions. Bob Taylor played in three finals and a further 12 players featured in two finals – Bowler, Cork, Hendrick, Hill, Kirsten, Krikken, Malcolm, Miller, Morris, Mortensen, Newman and Warner.
Of the 49 participants, 21 came away from Lord’s with a winners medal, and just five players – Adams, Griffith, O’Gorman, Steele and Tunnicliffe – left Lord’s as winners without experiencing a defeat in a final.
Only one player recorded more than 100 runs for Derbyshire in finals – Peter Kirsten making 104 in his two games, with Cork, Wright and Barnett next in the order.
Amongst the bowlers, Allan Warner leads the way with four wickets, while Bob Taylor is the only Derbyshire player to take more than one catch in Lord’s finals, securing three behind the wicket.
Dominic Cork is the one Man of the Match winner – the 1993 Benson and Hedges Gold Award for his wonderful 92 not out, while Eddie Barlow, Barnett (twice) Cork, Derek Morgan and Barry Wood captained Derbyshire in their 6 finals.
And so, an era stretching back to 1963 comes to an end, and whatever tournament is introduced in 2020 will see the final staged at Trent Bridge. Doubtless, reaching the final there will be a wonderful achievement – winning it even more so – but one cannot believe that the experience, for players and spectators, will be as thrilling as it was at Lord’s.
The full list of 49 players who have represented Derbyshire in a Lord’s final:
4 Kim Barnett 1981, 1988, 1993, 1998
3 Bob Taylor 1969, 1978, 1981
2 Peter Bowler 1988, 1993
2 Dominic Cork 1993, 1998
2 Mike Hendrick 1978, 1981
2 Alan Hill 1978, 1981
2 Peter Kirsten 1978, 1981
2 Karl Krikken 1993, 1998
2 Devon Malcolm 1988, 1993
2 Geoff Miller 1978, 1981
2 John Morris 1988, 1993
2 Ole Mortensen 1988, 1993
2 Paul Newman 1981, 1988
2 Allan Warner 1988, 1993
1 Chris Adams 1993
1 Eddie Barlow 1978
1 Tony Borrington 1978
1 Ian Buxton 1969
1 Harry Cartwright 1978
1 Matt Cassar 1998
1 Vince Clarke 1998
1 Kevin Dean 1998
1 Philip DeFreitas 1998
1 Peter Eyre 1998
1 Peter Gibbs 1969
1 Steve Goldsmith 1988
1 Frank Griffith 1993
1 John Harvey 1969
1 Ashley Harvey-Walker 1978
1 Michael Holding 1988
1 Bernie Maher 1988
1 Derek Morgan 1969
1 Tim O’Gorman 1993
1 Mike Page 1969
1 Harold Rhodes 1969
1 Bruce Roberts 1988
1 Adrian Rollins 1998
1 Fred Rumsey 1969
1 Phil Russell 1978
1 Michael Slater 1998
1 David Smith 1969
1 Ben Spendlove 1998
1 David Steele 1981
1 Colin Tunnicliffe 1981
1 Alan Ward 1969
1 Robin Weston 1998
1 Bob Wincer 1978
1 Barry Wood 1981
1 John Wright 1981
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