The 2019 season saw Derbyshire’s players produce several record-breaking performances. Heritage Officer, David Griffin, takes a look back at the summer in numbers.
The sun set – or rather, the rains poured – on Derbyshire’s longest-ever season when umpires Blackwell and Taylor called a halt to proceedings at Lord’s on Thursday 26 September 2019, and Derbyshire’s final game of the summer against Middlesex petered out into a draw.
The season had begun six months earlier on 26 March – the first time Derbyshire have ever played first class cricket in March – and ran for 185 days.
Over the course of the summer, several players produced record-breaking performances, while the T20 team produced a series of excellent results which culminated in their appearance at Finals Day for the first time since T20 cricket began in the UK in 2003.
In terms of overall performances, the Specsavers County Championship saw a repeat placing of seventh position in Division Two, with the same number of wins as in 2018 (four), but with one defeat fewer. The total points accrued was almost the same too, 145 in 2019 compared to 147 in 2018.
In the Royal London Cup competition, Derbyshire managed three wins and a tie (against Yorkshire at Headingley), compared to four wins in the previous campaign.
Improvements had been evident over the two preceding seasons in T20 cricket, and Derbyshire’s third placing in the North group meant that they had won 20 group games in three years. Only Lancashire, Nottinghamshire and Somerset have won more group games over the same period.
Eight wins – seven in the group stages and one in the quarter final over Gloucestershire at Bristol – equalled the county record set in 2017, and the five defeats in the group stage was the lowest since 2007, when they lost four out of nine matches.
The leading run scorer across all three formats was Billy Godleman who scored 2,073 runs, including 1,087 in first class games. Godleman’s effort was truly exceptional, becoming the first player for a decade to score 2,000 runs for the county – Chris Rogers achieved the feat in 2009 – and the first Englishman to do it since Kim Barnett back in 1998.
Godleman, just the 14th player to score 2,000 runs for the club, therefore joins some of the county’s greatest batsmen in reaching that landmark. Barnett leads the way with eighth instances, while Peter Bowler managed it four times, with Peter Kirsten, John Morris and John Wright all doing it three times. To add further context to Godleman’s achievement, Wayne Madsen, who during the season passed the 16,000-run mark for the county, has never gone beyond 1,900 runs in a season.
Godleman scored seven centuries – four in the Championship and three in the Royal London One Day Cup, consecutively – and joined a very select group of just 11 batsmen who have scored seven or more in a single season for the county.
Madsen, denied top spot in the run-scorers list having topped it for six-consecutive seasons, nonetheless reached several landmarks.
By the end of the season he had played 365 games for Derbyshire placing him 18th on the all-time list as he became the first Derbyshire player to play 100 T20 games for the county. His current tally of 2,806 T20 runs for Derbyshire is more than twice as many as his nearest current challenger, Godleman.
In the field, he held onto 45 catches – a remarkable effort – the most since Mike Page took 49 in 1967 and the third most ever in a season for the county.
With the bat he scored 1,787 runs – his second best season, demonstrating that he is still at the top of his game and only overshadowed by Godleman’s incredible tally. He scored 1,000th runs in a season for the 10th consecutive year – he missed out in his debut season of 2009, having not made his debut until July. Only Kim Barnett who scored 1,000 runs in 17 consecutive seasons and Denis Smith (12) stand ahead of Madsen on this list.
He scored four hundreds in all formats, including a double century against Gloucestershire at Bristol, and has now made 35 hundreds with only Barnett (66) and John Morris (39) having scored more for the club.
He sits in seventh place on the all-time run-scorers list and if he delivers a similar aggregate in 2020 as his 2019 tally, he will move into the top four.
Luis Reece had an exceptional season with bat and ball scoring 1,553 runs and taking 70 wickets. Not since Graham Wagg – in 2008 – has a Derbyshire player scored 500 runs and taken 50 wickets in first class cricket. His 184 and 5-63 against Sussex at Derby was just the second instance of a Derbyshire player scoring 150+ in an innings and taking five wickets in an innings in the same match, the other being Garnet Lee in 1926.
Even more impressively, Reece became the first Derbyshire player to score 1,500 runs and take 70 wickets since the great Eddie Barlow scored 1,897 runs and took 80 wickets in 1976. It was also only the fifth instance in the club’s history.
Leus du Plooy marked his arrival at Derbyshire with over 1,211 runs across all formats in his debut season, including Championship hundreds against Middlesex at home and away, the first time a Derbyshire batsman had achieved this feat against Middlesex in the same season.
The ‘Big Four’ of Godleman, Madsen, Reece and du Plooy scored 6,624 runs between them in County Championship, Royal London One Day Cup and T20 matches, registered a combined 15 hundreds and 27 fifties and dominated the scoring charts in similar fashion to Derbyshire’s last great quartet at numbers one to four – Barnett, Bowler, Morris and Chris Adams.
Derbyshire’s 22 centuries in all formats was their highest tally since 1996 when they scored a record 29; and only in 1990 (28) and 1982 (24) have Derbyshire batsmen enjoyed a more productive summer in terms of reaching three figures.
Tom Lace enhanced his reputation around the circuit during his season-long loan from Middlesex, scoring 780 Championship runs at an average of 43.33 – topping Derbyshire’s averages – with three fine hundreds.
Alex Hughes played his 200th match for Derbyshire and again played a vital role in the T20 campaign, producing several crucial and economical spells of bowling, often in tandem with Matt Critchley. Hughes scored a century against Gloucestershire at Bristol and passed the 3,000 run mark in first class matches during the course of the season. He also took his 100th catch for the county, and will resume in 2020 on 49 T20 wickets, just two behind Tim Groenewald’s Derbyshire record.
Matthew Critchley played his 100th game for Derbyshire, scored his 2,000th first class run, and his 3,000th run overall. His 17 wickets in the T20 campaign has only been bettered by Ravi Rampaul, who took 23, also this summer.
Harvey Hosein had his most successful season with the gloves completing 44 dismissals behind the wicket and passing the 2,000-run mark in first class cricket.
Fynn Hudson-Prentice burst onto the scene with a debut innings of 99 before taking a wicket with his first ball against Middlesex at Derby, although of equal value to the side was his eighth consecutive maiden overs in the victory over Worcestershire at Kidderminster.
Ravi Rampaul was the leading bowler of the season with 80 victims across all formats, doubling his 2018 tally, and taking a record-breaking 23 in the T20 competition.
Tony Palladino again took wickets very cheaply and including his 165th wicket at Derby taking him into 19th position on the list of Derbyshire’s leading wicket-takers at HQ. Injury at the end of the season deprived him of the opportunity to take his 350th first class wicket for the county. He will go into the 2020 season on 347.
Sam Conners, Anuj Dal, Hamidullah Qadri, Mattie McKiernan, Dustin Melton, Boyd Rankin, Daryn Smit, Darren Stevens, Logan van Beek and Mark Watt all featured in first XI cricket in 2019, with Dal, van Beek, Smit and Watt all making contributions, particularly in the T20 campaign, with Dal missing out on a maiden century in the Championship game against Middlesex at Derby when Derbyshire’s first innings included two centuries and three nineties, a county record.
There were seven debutants in 2019 – Conners, du Plooy, Hudson-Prentice, Melton, Stevens, van Beek and Watt – the fewest since 2013, and three players, Critchley, Rampaul and Reece were awarded their County Caps, meaning that seven members of the squad have now been capped by Derbyshire.
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