2020 Fixtures Preview

Tuesday 26th November 2019
& News
Written by Stephen Martin

Heritage Officer and Statistician, David Griffin takes a look at Derbyshire’s 2020 fixtures and previews the season ahead.

Despite reports around the counties over the latter half of the 2019 season that the 2020 season might be extended into October, it’s notable that the fixture list actually shows a reduction in the length of the cricket season. In 2019, Derbyshire’s season began on 26 March and ran for 184 days, the longest summer in the club’s history.

As the county enters the 150th year of its existence, however, supporters can look forward to a 164-day season, containing 82 scheduled days of cricket

Things get underway with a three-day friendly against Durham MCCU at The Pattonair County Ground starting on 14 April. Games against the MCCU sides will no longer be first class after 2020, but Derbyshire’s players will still want to impress in their first outing of the season as the Specsavers County Championship campaign begins with a home fixture against Leicestershire beginning on 19 April.

This game is the first of six consecutive championship fixtures played over a 36-day period and sees the side travel to Lord’s to play Middlesex and then to Trent Bridge to face their neighbours, Nottinghamshire. Durham then visit Derby before Cardiff welcomes Derbyshire for the first time since 2017, when the visitors prevailed by 39 runs in a day/night pink ball game.

The six-game run concludes with the visit of Sussex to Derby when the home side will be looking for a repeat of the 181-run win at the end of the 2019 season.

Having reached the Vitality Blast T20 Finals Day for the first time in 2019, Derbyshire will be looking forward to another successful run in the shortest form of the game, and the tournament gets underway with three home games, all at Derby, and all of which are sure to attract large crowds.

Leicestershire Foxes are the first visitors, followed two days later by Lancashire Lightning, before Notts Outlaws arrive for the traditional Friday night showdown.

Over the last three seasons, only Lancashire, Nottinghamshire and Somerset have won more T20 group games than Derbyshire, and with judicious winter recruitment allied to the experience gained in reaching the semi final in 2019, this is a competition which offers great opportunities for Derbyshire.

Derbyshire’s following three games are all away from home in the space of six days, with trips to Northampton, Leeds and Manchester before a return to four-day cricket and a championship game against Worcestershire at Chesterfield.

This will be Worcestershire’s first visit to Queen’s Park since 2008, when Derbyshire won by an innings and 95 runs in a game memorable for James Pipe’s superb 71-ball century.

Saturday 20 June will see the first of two visits by Yorkshire to Chesterfield in 2020 and, as in previous seasons, it’s likely to be an all-ticket sell-out occasion as Derbyshire will be seeking a remarkable seventh-consecutive win against Yorkshire in T20 cricket.

The following day sees Derbyshire in action at Emirates Riverside against Durham before another pair of back-to-back games against Worcestershire Royals at Derby and Birmingham Bears at Edgbaston.

Championship cricket then makes a return as Derbyshire take their longest journey of the season to Arundel to play Sussex followed by another two T20 games before Nottinghamshire make the short journey to Derby in early July, with Derbyshire making the return journey at the end of the same week to play their rivals in another Friday evening Vitality Blast game. It’s then back to headquarters to complete the group stages with a Saturday fixture against Northamptonshire Steelbacks.

The game at Arundel, one of the loveliest settings in the domestic game, will be just Derbyshire’s fifth at this venue. The first visit was back in 1975 for a John Player League which was abandoned without a ball being bowled, and it was another 26 years before Derbyshire returned to Arundel – in 2001 – for a county championship game alongside a Norwich Union League List A fixture, both of which were lost.

2003 saw a happier visit, however, as Derbyshire triumphed in a National League List A game, winning by six wickets with Chris Bassano making a superb, undefeated 126.

After a 17 year gap, Derbyshire’s regular away visitors will be looking forward to visiting this splendid outground.

There’s an 11-day break before the Royal London One-Day Cup competition begins, although Derbyshire will play Shropshire in a non-List A game at a venue still to be determined.

Derbyshire have played Shropshire once before; in a 60-over Nat West Trophy match at Chesterfield in 1990. The game was scheduled to start at 10.45am, and both teams were ready to begin play when the umpires asked for a box of match balls, only to be told that there were none on the ground.

A car was despatched from Derby, another from Chesterfield, and the two met somewhere near Alfreton where the ball handover took place, and the game began an hour late.

Derbyshire managed to capitalise on the incident, producing T-shirts which went on sale in the Club Shop displaying the words; “Derbyshire v Shropshire – 27th June 1990 – The Day Derbyshire Had No Balls”

The Royal London Cup eight-game group stages are notable for a return to a non-regionalised format, previously discarded after 2015. Whilst local derbies against Nottinghamshire and Yorkshire remain on the fixture list, many will welcome the matches against Glamorgan, Somerset and Surrey.

The opening game sees Glamorgan visit Derby for the first time in white ball cricket since the two sides met in a Nat West Pro 40 game in 2009, while the second game offers Derbyshire and their supporters a rare opportunity to experience a new ground.

Grantham – in Lincolnshire – will host Nottinghamshire’s game against Derbyshire on Friday 24 July, the first new ground for Derbyshire since the same two sides met at Welbeck in 2016. Grantham will become the 159th ground on which Derbyshire have played a competitive game in at least one of the three formats, and the eighth new venue this century, following Arundel, The Rose Bowl, Whitgift School, Schiedam, Deventer, Wormsley and Welbeck.

Derbyshire were also scheduled to play a non-first-class game at Weetwood in 2018 against Leeds Bradford MCCU but the game was abandoned with a ball being bowled.

Two days later Yorkshire will be welcomed to Chesterfield once more for the 22nd scheduled clash between these two sides in List A cricket at this famous old ground. The last two games which saw a result ended in victories for Derbyshire, by six wickets in 2011, and by three wickets a year later.

The side then travels to Northampton and Taunton for the next two games with the visit to Taunton being Derbyshire’s first since they won an extraordinary Royal London Cup game there in 2015.

Heavy rain overnight and during the morning meant that the game was reduced to 14 overs per side, and many observers questioned whether Derbyshire had scored enough runs as they totalled 134-7 off their allocation of overs, Wayne Madsen top-scoring with 45.

However, Somerset were completely outplayed as they subsided to 74 all out in just 10 overs, with the wickets shared by Footitt, Cotton, Thakor, Cork and Alex Hughes.

Mid-August has a two-week period during which the knock-out stages of both the Vitality Blast and Royal London One Day Cup take place and Derbyshire will be hoping to be present in these latter stages before the county championship resumes with a trip to Emirates Riverside to play Durham.

Glamorgan are the visitors to Derby over the August Bank Holiday weekend and Derbyshire supporters will be hoping for a return to Edgbaston on the following Saturday for T20 Finals Day.

Derbyshire will travel to Worcester hoping that conditions allow the game to take place at New Road, having had to play the corresponding fixture in 2019 at Kidderminster following heavy rain, before hosting Middlesex in the final home fixture of the summer at Derby.

The Royal London Cup Final is scheduled for Saturday 19 September – at Trent Bridge for the first time – before the season concludes with the short trip down the M1 to face Leicestershire.

Fixture lists always attract comment, criticism and approval and the 2020 list will be no exception, but there is a welcome return to a balanced and fair set of county championship fixtures where every side plays each other twice – at least in the second division – and the Royal London One Day Cup, despite the loss of many players to The Hundred, sees a similarly welcome shake-up of the groups to offer supporters the opportunity to watch different teams. Also, the group games are scheduled to be played in a block between 22 July and 9 August, when one hopes that the weather will be significantly better than it was at certain points during the 2019 competition.

The six games of four-day cricket which open the season will give sides an opportunity to focus on just one format of the game for five weeks, before T20 cricket arrives. The Vitality Blast does feature an element of stop-start, but this is out of necessity if the festival grounds are to host four-day cricket at the height of summer.

For the regular travellers, most will look forward to the trips to Lord’s, Cardiff, Chester-le-Street, Arundel, Grantham, Taunton and Worcester, as well as the local visits to Nottingham, Leicester and Northampton.

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