Derbyshire play Middlesex at Derby in their latest Specsavers County Championship fixture starting on Sunday 30 June 2019.
Heritage Officer and Statistician, David Griffin, looks at the statistical background to the game.
This will be the 99th 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 Lancashire and Leicestershire on more than 200 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.
The hierarchy at Middlesex believed that Derbyshire were a team of ruffians, and it’s true that, over the years, several Derbyshire players lived what could be described as turbulent lifestyles, but it seems strange that between 1876 and 1928, both London County and MCC played Derbyshire – mainly at Lord’s – in a total of 38 first class fixtures while Middlesex couldn’t bring themselves to play Derbyshire at all.
However, once the county championship became formalised, with county fixtures organised at the centre by the game’s ruling body, Middlesex and Derbyshire began to meet on a regular basis with their first game taking place at Lord’s on 20th July 1929, and the return fixture one week later at Derby.
Of the 98 games to date, Derbyshire have won 24, Middlesex 35, with 38 draws and one match abandoned at Lord’s in 1931. Honours were shared in 2018, when both sides secured a win in their respective home fixture.
The highest innings score for Derbyshire is 414 all out at Lord’s in 2002, and their lowest in 60 all out, also at Lord’s, in 2013.
Middlesex’ highest team total is 545 all out at Derby in 1994, and their lowest is 29 all out at Chesterfield in 1957. Derbyshire won that game by an innings and 22 runs, a margin only bettered by the innings and 177 runs victory at Ilkeston in 1977 when Middlesex were dismissed on the first day for 54, Mike Hendrick taking 6-19 and Colin Tunnicliffe 4-22.
Derbyshire players have scored 28 first class hundreds against Middlesex, with Michael Di Venuto’s 192 not out at Lord’s in 2002 being the highest. Di Venuto also scored 113 in the 2nd innings of that match. The only other player to record two centuries in a match was Chris Adams, who made 125 and 136 not out in the game at Derby in 1996.
Four current members of the Derbyshire side have scored centuries against Middlesex, Matt Critchley, Billy Godleman, Wayne Madsen and Luis Reece.
No Derbyshire batsman has scored a century on debut against Middlesex, although Michael Dighton, Chesney Hughes and Bob Stephenson all made fifties in their first appearance.
Godleman’s 105 at Lord’s in 2018 was just the third instance of a Derbyshire player carrying his bat through a completed innings against Middlesex; Di Venuto (192 out of 414) at Lord’s in 2002, and Charlie Lee (96 out of 211) at Chesterfield in 1956 making up the trio.
Four Middlesex batsmen have scored double centuries against Derbyshire; Mike Gatting (215 not out at Lord’s in 1991), Denis Compton (214 not out at Lord’s in 1939), Bill Edrich (208 not out at Chesterfield in 1956) and Owais Shah (203 at Southgate in 2001).
There have been 9 instances of Derbyshire bowlers taking ten wickets in a match, with both Les Jackson and Tommy Mitchell performing the feat twice. Mitchell’s 13-113 at Derby in 1934 remains the best match analysis and the most recent is the 10-125 by Kevin Dean at Derby in 2002.
Special mentions go to Cliff Gladwin (11-41 at Chesterfield in 1957) and his long-time bowling partner, Les Jackson (10-56 at Burton-on-Trent in 1960).
There have 51 instances of bowlers taking five wickets in an innings for Derbyshire – Les Jackson leading the way with 8 and a best of 8-44 at Burton in 1960. That remains the best innings analysis, although Bill Copson leads the way at Derby with his 7-39 in 1939. The most recent was Tony Palladino’s 5-39 at Derby in 2011.
Eddie Gothard took a hat-trick against Middlesex at Derby in 1947 – and somehow persuaded his three victims to photographed alongside him – while Tom Poynton became the sixth-youngest player to appear in a championship game for Derbyshire when he made his debut at Southgate in 2007.
Finally, Derbyshire were on the receiving end of one of the rarest feats in cricket when Richard Johnson took 10-45 against Derbyshire for Middlesex at Derby in 1994. He had taken 1-65 in 20 overs in Derbyshire’s first innings of 344 all out and although Middlesex replied with 545 all out, few envisaged what would happen over the course of the 40 overs of Derbyshire’s 2nd innings, especially from a bowler with a previous career-best of 4-64. Johnson subsequently played international cricket for England, but this was unarguably one of his most memorable days in cricket.
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