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Moments of the decade

Tuesday 31st December 2019
& News
Written by Stephen Martin

Club photographer and Statistician, David Griffin has watched every single day of every game played by Derbyshire’s first XI over the past decade. As the decade comes to an end, he selects some memorable moments from those years.

The 1930s and 1990s are generally considered to be the two finest decades in Derbyshire’s history.

The county championship-winning season came in 1936 and incorporated a run of six consecutive seasons in which Derbyshire’s finishing positions were sixth, third, second, first, third and fifth; while the 1990s saw the county win two trophies – the RAL Sunday League in 1990 and the Benson and Hedges Cup in 1993. There was another Lord’s final in 1998, and in the championship the county achieved placings of second, third and fifth.

The second decade of the 21st century has not produced anything like that level of achievement, but within a much-changed game there have still been some highlights between 2010 and 2019, by the team and by individuals.

2010

The 2010 season featured one of the most remarkable games in Derbyshire’s history. On a bright morning at Bristol in late August, Gloucestershire’s bowlers took just 16.1 overs to dismiss Derbyshire for 44. Robin Peterson (15) was the sole batsman to reach double figures as James Franklin took 7-14 in only 6 overs.

Gloucestershire’s first innings 156 looked like being a winning total, although Chesney Hughes played perhaps his finest innings for the county, making an unbeaten 96 on what was clearly a testing pitch with Wayne Madsen and Chris Rogers both making thirties, but the home side only required 125 runs to win.

By tea on the second day, however, the match was won by Derbyshire. They bowled their hosts out for 70 with Tim Groenewald the pick of the bowlers with 4-22 from 10 overs.

Well before lunch on the opening day, Derbyshire spectators were grumbling that the batting performance had been as woeful as anything they’d ever had the dubious pleasure of watching. A little over 24 hours later and they stood open-mouthed, incredulous, as a victorious Derbyshire side left the field.

2011

This was a season of promise and offered a hint of what was to come in 2012.

Wes Durston and Wayne Madsen were firmly established in the top three, while supporters got their first glimpse of overseas players Martin Guptill and Usman Khawaja. Karl Krikken had taken over as Head Coach and under his management, players like Jon Clare, Chesney Hughes, Dan Redfern and Ross Whiteley came to the fore. John Morris had been responsible for much of this judicious recruitment, with Mark Footitt, Groenewald and Tony Palladino brought in to beef up the bowling attack.

One of the games which highlighted the improvements came against Kent at Derby in September. Derbyshire hadn’t beaten Kent at HQ since 1986 and despite being asked to bat first, amassed 535 with centuries for both Whiteley and Durston and seventies for Clare and Matt Lineker.

Kent replied with 419 as Tony Palladino took the third five wicket haul of his debut season with the county – 5-84 from 24 overs.

Derbyshire batted with some urgency – some thought they took too many chances – and were bowled out for 181 in 43.1 overs, Madsen top-scoring with 73.

Setting the visitors 298 for victory, Palladino struck with the second ball of the innings and although Joe Denly made 68, Kent were never really in the hunt, and subsided to 196 all out, Clare and Durston taking four wickets apiece.

This win demonstrated that Derbyshire were developing in the four-day format, with a good pace attack, an improving top six, and several players showing good all-round ability.

2012

After the improvements of 2011, it still surprised some when Derbyshire topped the Division Two County Championship table at the end of September 2012, securing promotion to the first division for the first time.

Highlights were many, but it was the all-round contributions which were most telling. No-one scored 1,000 championship runs in a damp summer, but Durston, Guptill, Madsen, Redfern and Khawaja all batted consistently, while the seam bowlers, Clare, Groenewald and Palladino all took their wickets cheaply.

David Wainwright, in his first season, took 44 championship wickets with his slow left armers, and Durston added 22 with his off spin.

Tom Poynton was one of 8 players to play at least 14 of the 16 games and kept wicket to a high standard and scored a maiden first class hundred.

The absolute highlight was the final flurry of sixes from Ross Whiteley on that overcast Friday afternoon of 14 September, as Hampshire were put to the sword and Derbyshire secured promotion and the title. As Wayne Madsen held the trophy aloft, and a crowd of close on 3,000 cheered their team on the outfield, it was a moment to savour for all involved in Derbyshire cricket.

2013

After the success of 2012, it was always going to be difficult to survive in the first division against so many well-established sides.

Three wins late in the season did much to rally the side and the supporters, but it was too little too late, after a number of heavy defeats earlier in the season.

A highlight, though, was Chesney Hughes’ superb 270 not out at Headingley in late April.

Since George Davidson scored 274 at Old Trafford against Lancashire in 1896, there have been a number of fine batting efforts in the intervening years, but none have managed to surpass Davidson’s efforts. Derbyshire greats like Adams, Barnett, Kirsten, Wright, Rogers, Madsen, Azharuddin, Bowler, Worthington, Di Venuto, Katich, Morris, Hamer, Smith, Barlow and Jones had all passed the 200-run mark, but nobody had managed to overtake Davidson.

Yorkshire won the toss and Derbyshire batted first, Hughes losing his opening partner Godleman for two. Hughes and Madsen then added 258 for the second wicket, with the latter scoring 93. The next highest score was Poynton’s 27 as the lower order tried in vain to support Hughes.

His 100 took 160 balls and his 200 arrived after 328 balls and when Palladino was ninth out, Hughes’ score stood on 269.

Groenewald was the last man in, and although Hughes took another single, his partner was adjudged lbw to Rashid before he add another run. Hughes sunk to his knees at the non-striker’s end (he knew what the record was) and trudged off slowly having missed overtaking the record by a mere 5 runs.

He scored 40 fours and three sixes in his 544-minute innings and was warmly – and sympathetically – applauded by the Headingley crowd as he left the field.

His unbeaten 96 at Bristol in a winning cause three years earlier was a better innings, but for sheer determination, skill and endurance, Hughes’ 270 not out was a magnificent effort.

2014

The 2014 season saw a mixture of good and bad results. Twenty20 cricket was the bad – 12 defeats in 14 games – but in the county championship, a splendid run of five wins in the last six games of the season again showed some real promise. The wins were against Gloucestershire at Cheltenham, Glamorgan and Worcestershire at Derby, Surrey at The Oval, and against Leicestershire at Derby.

The penultimate game of the season was at The Oval and Surrey batted first after Derbyshire won the toss, making 181 with future Derbyshire player, Gary Wilson top scoring with 70.

Mark Footitt, taking 6-69 was the standout bowler, but it was debutant wicket-keeper Harvey Hosein who impressed most of all, with a record 11 dismissals on debut, including seven catches in the Surrey first innings.

Derbyshire secured a modest first innings lead, Madsen top-scoring with 63, before Surrey made 279 in their second innings, Jason Roy impressing with 81 from 86 balls batting at number six.

Most Derbyshire supporters considered a victory target of 251 to be on the high side, but Billy Godleman, with 104 not out, and Indian international Cheteshwar Pujara with a sublime, unbeaten 90, saw Derbyshire win comfortably by 8 wickets inside three days.

The surprise on the faces of Surrey players and supporters as Godleman and Pujara left the pitch, bats raised, was all too evident. Surrey had anticipated winning, and Derbyshire had well and truly upset the applecart.

Mention should be made of Mark Footitt’s 106 wickets across all formats in 2014. Since 1967 only Geoff Miller and Kevin Dean had passed the 100-wicket mark, and to do so bowling at high pace for the majority of the time was a great achievement. When Footitt got it right – as he especially did during most of 2014 and 2015 – he was a sight to behold for Derbyshire supporters, if not for batsmen.

2015

Bristol was once again the venue for another one of the highlights of the decade.

There may have only been a smattering of spectators there in mid-April to witness Martin Guptill’s assault on the Gloucestershire bowlers, but it ranks as one of the most powerful and majestic innings ever played by a Derbyshire batsman.

Guptill had impressed during his previous stints with Derbyshire and was only with the county for a brief time in 2015. Tall and strong, in almost every innings he played, there was always a hint of his power and striking range.

Derbyshire had lost the season opener at Derby to Lancashire by 250 runs and needed a quick  response. The hosts were dismissed for 275 and at the close of play on Day 1, Guptill had yet to arrive at the crease.

On Day 2, Godleman was dismissed with the score on 88 and Guptill made his way to the middle. While Guptill was at the crease, 369 runs were added, of which he made 227. He struck 29 fours and 11 sixes, beating the record of eight sixes in a first-class innings jointly held by Garnet Lee and John Morris.

His hundred arrived in 101 balls and his 150 in 147 balls. He then took a mere 18 balls to score his next 50, with his final total of 227 coming off 176 balls. Wherever the Gloucestershire bowlers put the ball, Guptill was equal to it; front foot, back foot, offside, leg side, along the ground, over the top – he was merciless against anything but the most accurate of deliveries.

His 165-ball double century is currently ranked as the 19th fastest in the history of the game.

One again dared to dream that Davidson’s 274 was finally about to be surpassed, but it was not to be.

Guptill added an unbeaten 31 – off 20 balls – to see Derbyshire home in their second innings by seven wickets.

2016

The summer of 2016 will not go down as one of the most memorable for the county. For the first time since 1920 they didn’t win a first-class match, but throughout that summer one player maintained the high standards of batsmanship which made him Derbyshire’s outstanding cricketer of the decade.

During 2016 Wayne Madsen joined a select band of batsmen – Adams, Barnett, Bowler, Kirsten, Morris, Rogers, Townsend and Wright  – in scoring six first class hundreds in a single season.

Recruited by John Morris and bursting onto the county scene with a memorable and record-breaking 170 not out at Cheltenham in July 2009, it was abundantly obvious that Madsen was a seriously talented cricketer. In 2013 he produced one of the great innings at Chesterfield against Yorkshire when his second innings 141 was the only highlight in a very heavy defeat, and across all three formats of the game he has achieved an aggregate in excess of 1,000 runs in each of the last 10 seasons.

To put that into context, only Barnett (17) has scored 1000-plus runs in more consecutive seasons in the county’s history.

Madsen’s six hundreds in 2016 were made at Bristol, Derby (three), Leicester and Worcester, with the first of the summer taking 276 balls, while the final one came in just 122 balls. Adapting to conditions, the state of the game, and the bowling, Madsen has always found a way to score heavily in all forms of the game.

Madsen has now scored 16,604 runs for Derbyshire putting him in seventh place on the all-time list and it’s looking increasingly likely that he will break into the top three before much longer.

Only four players have scored more than his 29 first class hundreds, and just two – Barnett and Morris – can better his 35 centuries in all cricket.

An outstanding fielder and a useful bowler, and a player who has produced remarkable performances with the statistics to match in all forms of the game, Madsen is undoubtedly Derbyshire’s leading player of the decade.

2017

The summer of 2017 saw Derbyshire reach the Twenty20 quarter final stage for the first time since 2005, a performance that would be bettered in 2019.

But other events at Derbyshire that year probably outshone much of the county’s cricketing output.

The Pattonair County ground, Derby was a host venue for the Women’s World Cup, with eight games including the opening game (and opening ceremony) plus a semi-final. The event, memorably won by England at Lord’s, was a huge success, with excellent crowds. The atmosphere at Derby, with national costume worn by the supporters of the majority of the participating teams very much in evidence at most of the games, was tremendous throughout the tournament and both the city and county fully engaged with the competition.

The newly-completed Media Centre was utilised in full throughout the Women’s World Cup, offering the media – for the first time ever at a Derbyshire ground – fit for purpose, top class facilities.

A major concert was staged on the outfield at Derby for the first time when superstar Elton John appeared in front of almost 15,000 people, and subsequent events have seen Little Mix and – in 2020 – Michael Bublé, appear at the ground.

Not everyone likes the idea of pop concerts on a cricket ground, but diversification is the way forward for so many counties and the revenues are very welcome.

2018

Tony Palladino joined Derbyshire for the 2011 season and immediately made an impact with 52 first class wickets, followed by 56 in the Division Two championship-winning season in 2012. He was fast-medium when he first arrived at Derbyshire, and nowadays while settling for slightly lesser pace remains a highly effective bowler.

In many ways, Palladino is an archetypal Derbyshire seamer. He bowls all day, he begrudges giving runs away, he bowls at the top of off stump, he takes wickets. To date he has 347 first class wickets for Derbyshire and in 2018 after a return of 25 in the previous season, took 51 wickets at an average of just 19.72. Only Footitt and Dominic Cork had managed to take wickets at an average below 20 in the 21st century.

Derbyshire may not produce their own fast and fast medium bowlers anymore, the lineage died out – for now – with Cork and Dean – but Palladino is much like Ole ‘Stan’ Mortensen a generation earlier. Neither cricketer heralded from Derbyshire, but in their approach to the game, their determination and their willingness to bowl, they both give the appearance of being from traditional Derbyshire stock.

2019

A first appearance at Twenty20 Finals Day was a pleasurable way to end the decade.

The domestic showpiece at Edgbaston saw Derbyshire face Essex in a losing semi-final which was the county’s first semi final since 2003 and all the more welcome after such a long period of time.

John Wright, a former county great, backed up by Dominic Cork had been given the job of improving Derbyshire’s hitherto woeful T20 performances

They achieved much in in their first season together in 2017 when Derbyshire had threatened to break into the T20 elite winning 8 group games before falling at the quarter final stages to a Shahid Afridi-inspired Hampshire.

2018 saw moderate returns before Cork was asked to run the show alone in 2019.

The campaign began with a wonderful win over Yorkshire at Chesterfield but a run of three defeats and an abandoned game left Derbyshire in need of urgent wins. The televised game at Northampton did the trick with a superb all-round performance, before another win over Yorkshire at Leeds – their 6th in a row in T20 cricket against them – and a victory over Worcestershire at Derby.

The last three group games were all won – the first two by nine wickets and the final game at Old Trafford where Derbyshire generally struggle, by 11 runs, and a place in the quarter finals was assured.

Contributions came from all quarters – Godleman, Madsen, Luis Reece and Leus du Plooy made 14 scores of 50-plus between them, Ravi Rampaul took a record 23 wickets, Matt Critchley took 17, Critchley, van Beek and Watt all produced four-wicket returns, while Alex Hughes, Daryn Smit and newcomer Fynn Hudson-Prentice all delivered when required.

Derbyshire’s emergence as a T20 force had been long overdue, and their 20 group stage wins over the course of the last three seasons has been bettered during that period by only Lancashire, Nottinghamshire and Somerset.

Gloucestershire were put to the sword in the quarter final at Bristol in front of a large and boisterous crowd as Derbyshire – their supporters barely able to believe it – secured a place at Finals Day.

The result – a heavy defeat to Essex – was disappointing, but to see Derbyshire supporters in the stands, cheering their side on, beer in hand and T-shirts from a bygone era worn proudly, was also to see Derbyshire, finally, back at the top table of domestic cricket.

Now, if they could just go one better in 2020…

Leading Players 2010 to 2019

Most Runs All Formats

Wayne Madsen 15,795

Most Hundreds All Formats

Wayne Madsen 32

Most Wickets All Formats

Tony Palladino 374

Most 5 Wicket Inns All Formats

Tony Palladino 15

Mark Footitt 14

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