Heritage Officer and Statistician, David Griffin, looks back over some record-breaking performances in the group stages of the Royal London One Day Cup.
Derbyshire began the campaign with a landmark statistic – the opening game against Northamptonshire was the county’s 1,000th in List A cricket – and ended it with a record runs-aggregate in the final game against Worcestershire.
One-Day cricket has changed dramatically over the course of the last 57 seasons, with batsmen being the principal beneficiaries.
For example, in 1979, Derbyshire scored their List A runs at an average of 21.65 per wicket, while their bowlers took wickets at an average of 23.69.
Fast forward 40 years and Derbyshire’s List A runs came at 44.06 per wicket, while the bowlers took their wickets at an average of 45.48.
Heavier bats, flatter pitches, different cricket balls, the influence of Twenty20 cricket – all are reasons and explanations as to why this change has come about, and what is certain is that the battle for one-day cricketing supremacy has ended with batsmen being the victors.
The Derbyshire batsman who has made the biggest impact over recent seasons is captain, Billy Godleman, who proved that his 500-plus runs at an average of over 70 in 2018 was no fluke as he recorded a career-best 521 runs at an average of 74.42 including 3 successive centuries.
Godleman became the first Derbyshire batsman to score hundreds in three successive one-day innings, and also registered one of the fastest hundreds in any form of the game for the county in reaching three figures off just 59 balls against Yorkshire in the tied game at Leeds. This was Derbyshire’s 9th tied game in List A cricket, and their first against Yorkshire.
Godleman passed the 1,000-run mark in List A games at Derby during this campaign, taking his tally to 1229, the 12th Derbyshire batsman to score 1,000 List A runs at headquarters. His average of 55.86, however, is well ahead of the other 11 players in the list with Wayne Madsen standing second with an average of 45.79.
Godleman also passed the 7,000-run mark in all formats for the county during this competition, putting him in the top 50 run-scorers of all-time for Derbyshire.
Wayne Madsen again performed well with two centuries and over 400 runs at an average of 58.00. This was the 3rd time that Madsen had passed the 400-run mark in a one-day campaign for Derbyshire, while his two hundreds took him to 6 in List A cricket.
Alongside Madsen and Godleman, who both have six List A hundreds, are John Morris and Dean Jones, with only Kim Barnett (13), Chris Adams (10) and Michael Di Venuto (8) having scored more for the county.
Luis Reece scored his first List A century, a fine 128 against Worcestershire, the highest one-day innings for Derbyshire against them, which took him to a career-best 310 runs in the competition, at an average of 38.75, and also took five wickets.
Matthew Critchley produced some typically explosive batting, scoring 208 runs and averaging 69.33, and making a maiden List A fifty against Northamptonshire, and also took five wickets.
The most disappointing outcome for the batsmen was the injury to Leus du Plooy who, before injuring his hand in attempting to take a return catch against Durham at Chester-le-Street had scored 222 runs at an average of 55.50 and made back-to-back half centuries against Leicestershire and Yorkshire. His 75 at Headingley was quite a remarkable innings, if somewhat overshadowed by Godleman’s 59-ball hundred. His fifty came from 23 balls, the fastest for Derbyshire in List A cricket and only bettered in any form of the game by Wes Durston’s 20-ball Twenty20 fifty against Warwickshire in 2011 and Madsen’s 21-ball fifty in the same competition at Headingley in 2018.
For the bowlers, life seems to be getting harder as batsmen prosper. Nonetheless, Madsen, Ravi Rampaul, Tony Palladino and Mark Watt all ended the campaign with economy rates under six runs per over, with Rampaul the leading wicket-taker with eight victims, the second season running that he’s headed the List A wicket-taking table for the county.
And despite the dominance of bat over ball, Mark Watt (2-32 off ten overs) produced the most economical ten-over spell of bowling for Derbyshire since Alex Hughes took 3-31 in 2015 against Leicestershire at Derby.
The final game of the competition brought about a feast of runs at Derby as the home side amassed 351-9 – their fifth highest-ever total in a List A game, only for Worcestershire to overtake it with 353-6. The match aggregate of 704 runs created a new one-day record for Derbyshire matches, overtaking the 656 scored in the NatWest Trophy game with Sussex, also at Derby, in 1997.
The two sides produced four centurions – Madsen, Reece, Rikki Wessels and Callum Ferguson – the most in a one-day game involving Derbyshire. Indeed, only once had three been scored in the same game, in 1990.
Wessels scored his hundred from 47 balls, the fastest-ever in List A cricket at Derby, and the second fastest in all forms of the game, bettered only by Shahid Afridi’s 42-ball effort in the Twenty20 quarter-final for Hampshire in 2017. Wessels 11 sixes were a record for any batsman in an innings at Derby.
And so, for Derbyshire, the Royal London One-Day Cup is put to rest for another season. No-one is quite sure what the 2020 season will bring for this format of the game, but it’s almost certain that the trend of batsmen dominating the game will continue.
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