In reaching Finals Day in the T20 Vitality Blast competition, Derbyshire have qualified for a semi-final for the first time since 2003.
Heritage Officer, David Griffin, takes a look at Derbyshire semi-final history.
The semi-final game against Essex at Edgbaston on Saturday 21st September 2019 will be Derbyshire’s 11th appearance at this stage of a competition, and their first since they qualified for the same stage of the Cheltenham and Gloucester Trophy in 2003.
Their first appearance in a quarter final was one of their most memorable. Derbyshire played Sussex at Chesterfield in 1969 in the Gillette Cup – at the time, the only limited overs knock-out competition in domestic cricket – in front of a crowd estimated in excess of 8,000.
On a very difficult pitch, Derbyshire were dismissed for 136 in 56.4 overs, Peter Gibbs scoring 44 and Derek Morgan making an unbeaten 26. Morgan batted for almost half the innings and was barracked by sections of the crowd for batting too slowly.
Morgan later recounted that he knew that his armoury of fast bowlers would be too much for Sussex on that pitch but needed his side to at least make in excess of 100 runs in their innings.
He was proved right – Sussex were blown away for 49 in 35.2 overs, Peter Eyre taking 6-18. Alan Ward (8-5-11-2), Harold Rhodes (7-6-4-0) and Fred Rumsey (9-3-13-2) were virtually unplayable, with many observers recalling that they had never seen anyone bowl as fast as Rhodes did on that occasion. Now the Derbyshire President, Rhodes bowled seven overs and conceded just four runs – an edge through third man.
Rhodes’ bowling speed was timed at just over 95mph during this game, admittedly using less technically able methodology than is used today but gives an indication of how quickly he could bowl.
The next semi-final was also played at Chesterfield in the same competition, but Middlesex were too strong in 1975, boasting an array of high-quality players – 8 Test cricketers – winning by 24 runs, despite half centuries for Derbyshire from Ron Headley and Phil Sharpe.
Eddie Barlow’s revitalised side were the next to appear in a semi-final, against Warwickshire in the Benson and Hedges Cup at Derby in 1978.
This rain-affected game was played over two days, Derbyshire making 203-9 in their 55 overs, with Tony Borrington making 77 at the top of the innings. Derbyshire were then truly inspiring in the field, producing an outstanding fielding performance, with Borrington, Peter Kirsten and Harry Cartwright, in particular, to the fore.
Barlow took 3-26 and Phil Russell 2-46, but it was Mike Hendrick’s outstanding opening burst which set the game up for his colleagues. When he ended his spell, his figures were 8-6-2-2; overall, he finished with 2-14 from 11 overs.
Despite Geoff Humpage’s 78, Derbyshire prevailed by 41 runs.
One year later, Surrey were the visitors to Derby in the same competition in a game which goes down as one of the great lost opportunities for Derbyshire.
Surrey were restricted to 166-8 off their 55 overs, Hendrick, Geoff Miller and John Walters sharing the wickets and when the sides went into tea (those were very different playing conditions) Derbyshire were 114-2, with Peter Kirsten unbeaten on 70, requiring just 53 from 25 overs with eight wickets in hand.
This writer completed the tear-off slip in his membership card requesting a ticket for the Lord’s final during the tea interval.
Unfortunately for the home side, Surrey captain, Roger Knight, handled his attack skilfully, bringing Sylvester Clarke and Hugh Wilson back on to bowl at just the right time, as Derbyshire fell six runs short.
There was a stunned silence around the ground at the conclusion of the game; Derbyshire had become a force to be reckoned with in limited overs cricket during the late 1970s and were expected to defeat their southern opponents.
The next semi-final appearance came in the inaugural Nat West Trophy in 1981, again at Derby, this time against Essex.
Derbyshire won another low-scoring encounter by the narrowest of margins, with the scores level by virtue of having lost fewer wickets.
Essex only scored 149 in their 60 overs, the wickets shared between Colin Tunnicliffe, Hendrick, Paul Newman and Geoff Miller, but at 30-4, with John Wright, Peter Kirsten, David Steele and Geoff Miller all out, Derbyshire supporters feared the worst.
For the first time in his fledgling career, 21-year-old Kim Barnett stepped forward, scoring a fearless 59 and taking his side to the brink of victory. Bob Taylor and Newman were left to try and see Derbyshire home, and had Norbert Phillip walked to the stumps to affect a run out, rather than throw the ball, Essex would have won.
Seven years later, and after a run of five consecutive home semi-finals, Derbyshire were drawn away to Glamorgan in the Benson and Hedges Cup. This game ran to three days after Derbyshire had made 217-8 off their 55 overs on the opening day. Bruce Roberts made 44 and Barnett 43, and the feeling was that Derbyshire’s bowling attack would probably be too strong for Glamorgan.
Michael Holding was the chief destroyer, taking 5-27 from 10.2 immaculate overs, including the dramatic moment when he struck Matthew Maynard on the helmet with a rising delivery. Maynard’s helmet was dislodged and fell onto his wicket, removing the bails.
Shortly afterwards, the rain came, and it was left until late on the third day before Derbyshire won the game.
For just a handful of seasons, between 1988 and 1992, the Test and County Cricket Board added an extra element to the one-day league, played on Sundays.
The winners of the league were crowned champions – and in 1990 it was Derbyshire, of course – and then an additional pair of semi-finals were played by the top four teams in the table, followed by a final – the Refuge Assurance Cup Final.
Derbyshire played Nottinghamshire at Derby in their semi-final and defeated their local rivals by 22 runs after scoring 255-4 in 40 overs, Barnett (83), Adrian Kuiper (74) and Peter Bowler (59) being the main run-scorers. Derbyshire’s bowlers delivered as they had done throughout that summer and restricted their opponents to 233-8.
Arguably, Derbyshire most comprehensive semi-final performance came in 1993, against Northamptonshire in the Benson and Hedges Cup at Derby.
On a scorching hot day, Derbyshire won the toss and inserted their opponents. Northamptonshire’s side boasted Rob Bailey, Allan Lamb, Mal Loye, David Capel, Kevin Curran, Paul Taylor and Curtly Ambrose, but were dismissed for 210 in 53.2 overs, Devon Malcolm and Dominic Cork taking three wickets each.
Derbyshire’s reply was emphatic, Barnett (61) and Bowler (45) adding 102 for the first wicket, before John Morris (48*) and Chris Adams (53*) produced some spectacular hitting, to take their side to a comfortable 8-wicket win.
If the 1993 game was emphatic, then the 1998 semi-final of the Nat West Trophy at Leicester was the polar opposite.
Derbyshire scored 298-7 in 60 overs with Robin Weston, Ben Spendlove and Cork all registering half centuries and Phil Defreitas scoring a belligerent 40 late in the order.
The West Indian, Phil Simmons, scored a splendid 90, and with support from Ben Smith and Aftab Habib, took Leicestershire to the brink of victory.
However, in typically dramatic fashion, captain, Dominic Cork, racing in from the Pavilion End in front of a huge crowd and the television cameras, produced a masterful delivery to bowl Simmons as Derbyshire won an absolute thriller by three runs.
Derbyshire’s last, and most recent semi-final came in the Cheltenham and Gloucester Trophy against Gloucestershire at Bristol in 2003.
Derbyshire, again led by Cork, mustered 219 all out in 49.3 overs with the Indian Test batsman, Mohammad Kaif making a fine 72, and when the home side were 78-4, Derbyshire looked favourites. Shoaib Malik scored 74 before Cork removed him, and from 193-5, Gloucestershire found themselves on 217-9 with three runs still needed for victory.
In a thrilling atmosphere, on another hot day, Cork strained every sinew to try and get his side over the line, but Gloucestershire’s last wicket pair of Averis and Smith saw them home by one wicket.
And so, Derbyshire re-acquaint themselves with semi-final cricket at Edgbaston against Essex on T20 Finals Day – here’s hoping they emerge triumphantly and make it to what would be their eighth final.
|1969||SUSSEX||CHESTERFIELD||GILLETTE CUP||WON BY 87 RUNS|
|1975||MIDDLESEX||CHESTERFIELD||GILLETTE CUP||LOST BY 24 RUNS|
|1978||WARWICKSHIRE||DERBY||BENSON AND HEDGES CUP||WON BY 41 RUNS|
|1979||SURREY||DERBY||BENSON AND HEDGES CUP||LOST BY 6 RUNS|
|1981||ESSEX||DERBY||NAT WEST BANK TROPHY||WON BY LOSING FEWER WICKETS|
|1988||GLAMORGAN||SWANSEA||BENSON AND HEDGES CUP||WON BY 14 RUNS|
|1990||NOTTINGHAMSHIRE||DERBY||REFUGE ASSURANCE CUP||WON BY 22 RUNS|
|1993||NORTHAMPTONSHIRE||DERBY||BENSON AND HEDGES CUP||WON BY 8 WICKETS|
|1998||LEICESTERSHIRE||LEICESTER||NAT WEST BANK TROPHY||WON BY 3 RUNS|
|2003||GLOUCESTERSHIRE||BRISTOL||CHELTENHAM AND GLOUCESTER TROPHY||LOST BY 1 WICKET|
|2019||ESSEX||EDGBASTON||VITALITY T20 BLAST|
Finals Day! Derbyshire reach their first Vitality Blast Finals Day on Saturday 21 September. They take on Essex Eagles in the second semi-final at Edgbaston. Good luck, lads!