2012 County Championship Season

Saturday 11th April 2020
& News
Photography by: David Griffin

As Derbyshire County Cricket Club celebrates its 150th anniversary in 2020, Heritage Officer, Photographer and Statistician, David Griffin, is writing a series of articles covering some of the county’s greatest moments and players.

The series will include accounts of the 1936 County Championship-winning season, the 1981 Nat West Trophy-winning campaign, as well as the triumphs of 1990, 1993 and 2012 in the RAL Sunday League, the Benson and Hedges Cup, and the County Championship Second Division, respectively.

Also, there will be a focus on Derbyshire’s England Test Cricketers, their finest batsmen, bowlers and wicketkeepers, and a feature looking at Derbyshire’s overseas players.

Finally, with a rich history of playing at a multitude of home venues, there will be an article covering the history of Derbyshire grounds.

This fourth article in the series looks back at the summer of 2012, when Derbyshire won the County Championship Division Two title.

In 2010 Derbyshire finished bottom of the second division and very early in 2011 sought a change of direction as Karl Krikken was promoted from the Academy to replace John Morris who had been at the helm since August 2007.

Morris had recruited judiciously during his tenure, with Jon Clare, Wes Durston, Mark Footitt, Tim Groenewald, Chesney Hughes, Wayne Madsen and Tony Palladino all going on to make significant contributions during their Derbyshire careers.

The summer of 2011 was one of consolidation and improvement as Krikken gave more game time to Dan Redfern (13 matches out of 16) and Ross Whiteley (11) both of whom had prospered under the tutelage of Krikken in the Academy, and were part of a wider group of locally-produced young players who emerged around this time, including Paul Borrington, Tom Knight, Matt Lineker and Tom Poynton.

A final placing of fifth in 2011 was a welcome improvement, and it was with confidence, but no great expectation outside of the squad, that the side began the 2012 season in miserable conditions against Northamptonshire at Derby.

The game was won by Derbyshire, but without floodlights, which were on for most of the game, the game would never have reached a positive conclusion.

Luke Sutton had departed and was replaced as captain by Wayne Madsen and behind the wicket by Tom Poynton. Martin Guptill, a tall and powerful New Zealander had arrived to open the batting and David Wainwright – a slow left-armer recruited during the close season from Yorkshire – would prove his worth from the outset.

Borrington opened the batting with Guptill, as Madsen and Durston followed, with Redfern and Whiteley at five and six. Experience, youth, power, stroke-makers – the top six looked to have a good blend, but at 21-3 and 50-4 on the first morning, things didn’t start too well.

Redfern and Whitely, the former with his maiden first-class hundred (110) added 160 for the fifth wicket as Derbyshire reached 280 from 80.3 overs.

Northamptonshire almost reached parity – 264 all out – on first innings as they too recovered from a dodgy start (16-3), with Palladino claiming 3-60.

Derbyshire’s openers then changed the course of the game as Guptill smashed 137 and Borrington 98 in adding 224 for the first wicket allowing Madsen to declare on 314-3 from only 88 overs.

This would remain Borrington’s highest score for Derbyshire and few present would have begrudged him the two extra runs as he left the field.

Northamptonshire were left to negotiate a handful of overs before lunch as they set off in pursuit of 335 to win in around 75 overs but quickly lost Peters, LBW to Footitt and Coetzer caught at slip off Palladino.

After lunch, Wainwright and Durston were used almost constantly, as the light faded, and the two spinners attempted to coax some turn out of a greenish April pitch.

Rob Newton made 58, but the visitors never threatened their target, allowing Madsen to attack with fielders around the bat.

Wainwright – 6-33 from 26 immaculate overs was the match-winner; his debut first-class figures only bettered by Dove Gregory’s 6-9 in Derbyshire’s first ever match against Lancashire at Old Trafford in 1871, but there were only a handful of overs remaining as Durston bowled Daggett to secure a huge 202-run victory and send Derbyshire’s players running around the outfield.

That win brought Derbyshire 20 points and a position at the top of the table, and another win in even more desperate conditions at Cardiff would cement their position at the summit.

Jon Clare came into the side for Groenewald and had the match of his life, although after Derbyshire had been dismissed for 130 in their first innings – former Derbyshire favourite Graham Wagg doing most of the damage with 6-44 – not many observers gave Derbyshire much hope.

By the close of Day One, however, Glamorgan were 34-4 and subsided to 95 all out before lunch on the following morning. Five of the wickets were clean bowled, three were lbw, with one caught at slip and the other caught and bowled. The pitch was green, and the bowlers prospered.

Clare, bowling first change after Palladino and Footitt took the new ball returned figures of 8-4-17-5 as Derbyshire took an unlikely lead of 35 into the second half of the game.

Derbyshire’s second innings got off to an awful start – they were 37-5 in no time, Henriques doing the damage – but Whitely (39), Wainwright (51 not out) and Clare (43) took their side to a respectable total. Wainwright, having impressed with the ball in the opening game, batted for seven minutes short of four hours in gloomy conditions to make a maiden fifty for his new county.

Glamorgan’s target of 233 was never likely to be threatened although nobody had told their openers, Rees and Walters, as they set off at a canter, adding 59 for the first wicket in under 16 overs.

However, Clare, again bowling first change, trapped Rees leg before, bowled Walters and removed six of the top eight batsmen as the hosts were dismissed for 102 in 31.3 overs.

Clare ended with 6-40 off 12.3 overs to give him superlative match figures of 11-57. It was the first time a Derbyshire bowler had taken 11 wickets in a match since Paul Aldred (13-184) against Lancashire at Derby in 1999.

Admittedly on a helpful pitch, it was an outstanding effort from Clare, who produced one of the great all-round match performances for the county.

One other statistic emerged from this game – there were 16 dismissals adjudged LBW – the most ever in a match involving Derbyshire.

Played two, won two, and Derbyshire consolidated their position atop the table with three drawn games; a rain-affected match against Leicestershire at Derby, a high-scoring affair against Gloucester also at Derby, and another run-fest against Hampshire at Southampton.

In a damp summer, these latter two games at least gave Derbyshire’s batsmen an opportunity to spend some time at the crease; Madsen scored 101 against Gloucestershire with Durston and Redfern both making fifties, but as Gloucestershire amassed 409-4 declared in their second innings, Derbyshire used ten bowlers with just ‘keeper Poynton not given a go.

The game at Southampton again saw Redfern make a century (133) and he and Durston (121) added 178 for the fourth wicket after Derbyshire had been in a tricky spot on 37-3.

A home win against Glamorgan – Guptill and Madsen both scoring hundreds in a comfortable eight-wicket win, with Wainwright claiming another five-wicket haul – saw them maintain their lead at the head of the table, and the following game, an almost perfect performance, made their position – seemingly – unassailable.

It was 23 May when Derbyshire took on Essex at Chelmsford, in glorious conditions, and on a ground where their last first-class victory had come in May 1937. This was not a happy hunting ground.

James Foster won the toss and decided to bat, a decision he probably later regretted as his side were bowled out for 182 shortly after tea. Pettini made 56, but it was the bowlers who again impressed, Wainwright taking 5-51 as Palladino, Groenewald, Clare and Whiteley kept things quiet at the other end.

Clearly, the weight of history didn’t affect the Derbyshire batsmen as they made 323 in 88.5 overs, Durston scoring a splendid 116 with support from Madsen (50) and Poynton (50 not out). Poynton batted in enterprising fashion making his 50 from only 35 balls with 7 fours and 2 sixes.

The deficit was 141 and Groenewald soon made things worse for Essex as he reduced them to 3-2 in the evening session on Day Two.

The third morning saw some outstanding batting from James Foster (96) and Owais Shah (75), but with seven Essex batsmen recording single figure scores, Derbyshire were left with a victory total of 94 and the only question in the minds of spectators – and presumably the players – was, could this game be finished off inside three days?

Enter Guptill and Borrington. With sensible batting from Borrington and aggressive stroke play from Guptill, Derbyshire eased to victory with 96 runs coming from only 18 overs in slightly over one hour. Guptill struck seven fours and three sixes in his 52-ball unbeaten 66, and Derbyshire consigned their terrible run at Chelmsford to the dustbin, as they triumphed by ten wickets inside three days.

As players and supporters moved on to Bristol for the game against Gloucestershire which would signal the halfway mark in the campaign, there was growing confidence around the club that this was their year.

Batting first after winning the toss saw Derbyshire dismissed for 95 and as the hosts built a first innings lead of 199 runs, it was clear that the bubble was about to burst.

Derbyshire’s second innings saw an improvement as Madsen (72), Redfern (77) and Clare (43 not out) hinted at a recovery, but the damage had been done in the first innings and Gloucestershire reached their victory total of 85 in a little over 21 overs to record a seven-wicket win.

It was, therefore, a chastened Derbyshire side which arrived at Grace Road for a third-successive game on the road, but, knowing that the T20 tournament was about to start, and therefore a break would ensue in the Championship, they were still top of the table with much to be positive about.

Rain, unfortunately, was the winner in this game, although Derbyshire could claim the honours, bowling the home side out for 177 in 70.4 overs, as Groenewald took 5-29 and Palladino 3-58, including a magnificent hat trick. It was the first Derbyshire hat trick in a first class game since Kevin Dean had performed the feat 12 years earlier at the same ground.

Derbyshire, with Redfern making a stylish, unbeaten 81, scored freely, but had to be content with 259-4 with no play at all on the final day.

As Derbyshire entered the business end of the season, it was clear that their main rivals for both promotion and the title were Yorkshire.

Thus, it was a typically large and noisy crowd which gathered at Queen’s Park, Chesterfield in mid-July for the first of two games between the two sides. Yorkshire batted first after winning the toss and Derbyshire were happy with a total of 219 all out, Groenewald, Mark Turner and Durston all claiming three wickets.

The game had moved on by the end of the first day as Derbyshire – with Richard Johnson making his debut behind the wicket – were 135-7, Matt Lineker top-scoring with 33. However, constant and heavy rain meant that there was no further play in the match and both sides had to settle for six points apiece.

Although there were still six games to play, many observers – including this one – and players, considered the two-wicket win over Kent at Derby in the next game, to be the season-defining win.

It was a great and close game; attritional, with some fine batting and bowling, and one which seemed to ebb and flow right up until the final, winning runs were struck.

Derbyshire elected to field and dismissed Kent for 265 early on the second day after the first had been truncated by rain and bad light.

Five bowlers shared the wickets, but the batsmen then failed to capitalise as Derbyshire were bowled out for 132 before tea on the second day.

Charlie Shreck took the honours for Kent, taking 5-41, with six Derbyshire batsmen failing to reach double figures.

When Kent batted a second time, Rob Key, with a masterful 81 – and the ninth man out – was the sole batsman to impose himself on the Derbyshire bowlers with Palladino recording career-best figures of 7-53 off 23.5 overs. Bowling almost unchanged, he took wickets at important times and ensured that his side were still in the game.

Nonetheless, a fourth innings chase of 295 appeared to be at least 50 too many. Only seven times in the club’s history had they successfully chased a fourth innings total of more than 295.

Derbyshire began well, however, as Madsen (30) and Lineker (45) put on 83 for the first wicket and Usman Khawaja – the Australian left-hander who had replaced Guptill as the overseas player – was still at the wicket alongside Durston when play ended on the third day with the home side on a very promising 168-2.

The final day dawned with a good crowd and Derbyshire needing 127 runs with eight wickets in hand.

Shreck took four more wickets to add to his five in the first innings and England off-spinner James Tredwell was expected to pose the main threat on the final morning, and Khawaja fell to Shreck for 56 and Durston for 55 to the same bowler and when Johnson and Wainwright fell cheaply, Derbyshire were 215-6, still 80 short of their target.

Redfern, playing arguably his finest innings – if not his highest – for Derbyshire, made a superb, unbeaten half century, and it was his partnership with Groenewald (20 not out) for the ninth wicket which saw them home. Every run was cheered by the partisan crowd as Derbyshire inched towards the winning post, and from the reaction of the crowd, it was clear that everyone present saw this as a critical result for Derbyshire.

Another rain-affected draw at Headingley saw Derbyshire required to follow-on but Usman Khawaja’s unbeaten 110 in over four hours saved the game for Derbyshire, before they headed to Northampton with four games remaining.

The home side chose to bat first and made 400 in 123 overs, with Rob Newton making the first of two centuries in the match. Palladino took 5-82 off 30 overs and Wainwright took another three, before several rain breaks took the players to and from the field. Derbyshire never really got into the game as wickets fell steadily, ending the second day on 163-5 with Madsen unbeaten on 37.

When the close of the next day’s play arrived, Madsen was still unbeaten – on 223 – as Derbyshire made a magnificent recovery and Tom Poynton registered his maiden first class hundred.

Having been in real danger of defeat, the eventual ninth wicket partnership of 261, took Derbyshire to safety and with an outside chance of winning.

That 261-run partnership is still the third highest anywhere in the world, but only the second-highest for Derbyshire; Warren and Chapman holding the world record of 283 set in 1910 against Warwickshire at Blackwell.

Madsen finished with an undefeated 231 and batted for over eight hours, facing 400 balls, hitting 31 fours. It remains his highest score in first-class cricket.

Northamptonshire were faced with a deficit of 169 and Derbyshire sensed victory as the home side stumbled to 37-4 with Palladino, Groenewald and Wainwright all taking wickets,  but Newton’s second hundred of the game, and Sales’ half century ensured their side drew the game.

This was another defining game as defeat might have seen Derbyshire struggle to raise themselves for the run-in, but a high-scoring draw was acceptable after the first two days play had been dominated by their opponents.

A draw at Derby against Essex in another rain-affected game wasn’t the worse result for Derbyshire; Essex had the better of the match and set the home side 316 to win. Again, as at Northampton, the top order had failed, and Derbyshire were 210-7 in their first innings before fifties from Poynton and Whiteley helped them to reach a respectable total.

Chasing more than 300 successfully was never realistic and Derbyshire were glad of more rain when the game ended with the home team more than a hundred runs short of their target with only three wickets in hand.

A heavy defeat by 222 runs at Canterbury in the penultimate match was a huge setback for Derbyshire. They were 65 runs behind after two innings, before Sam Northeast batted Derbyshire out of the game with a fine 165 leaving the visitors with an unlikely victory total of 404.

There were to be no heroics to match the corresponding game at Derby as only Khawaja passed fifty and Derbyshire returned to headquarters knowing that they probably had to win to earn promotion.

The first division title had been decided a week earlier so the Sky television cameras were at Derby as Derbyshire welcomed Hampshire for the final game of the season.

Madsen asked Hampshire to bat and most observers thought their total of 272 in 75.4 overs was a par score. Palladino and Wainwright both took three wickets, but everyone knew that Derbyshire’s hopes probably rested on how well, or otherwise, they batted in their first innings.

They began nervously, 14-2 off eight overs, but Khawaja and Palladino, the latter as night-watchman, both passed fifty adding 88 for the fourth wicket. Whiteley made 57 not out batting at number seven as Derbyshire ended with a modest three-run lead.

Thus began what was essentially a one-innings game after lunch on the third day.

Derbyshire used six bowlers, all of whom took wickets, and Hampshire wickets fell regularly with only Shafayat (81) making more than 26.

A victory target of 196 on a good pitch, at home, with a crowd which grew to almost 3,000 on the final day, was as much as Derbyshire could hope for. A win would seal promotion, and the title.

However, Derbyshire knew at the close of Day Three that they had earned promotion as a result of what was happening elsewhere in the other games, but the title was what everyone wanted.

Derbyshire’s run chase began shortly before lunch with Madsen and Borrington making steady progress before both fell with the score on 45. Nerves jangled but Khawaja did what all good overseas players do and batted for almost two hours in making 72 not out to ensure that victory was secured.

Durston and Redfern came and went, but Whiteley arrived clearly intent on having fun. With Khawaja secure at the other end, he scored 38 not out including 5 sixes, the final one of which was deposited onto the Grandstand Terrace to take Derbyshire to victory by six wickets.

Spectators ran onto the outfield, Sky cameras followed them, and joyous celebrations took place in front of the Pavilion as Wayne Madsen was handed the second division title-winners’ trophy.

That was the cue for champagne, singing, photographs and a party which continued well into the evening.

Sky loved it, and Mike Atherton, who had once proclaimed in an article for The Times; “What do Derbyshire exist for” praised the set-up at Derbyshire, highlighting the use of locally-produced players in the title-winning side.

In a damp season no player reached 1,000 runs, but Madsen (885), Durston (801) and Redfern (792) were the mainstays of the batting, while Guptill’s and Khawaja’s combined tally of 1,009 runs at an average of 45.86 was more than acceptable. The two overseas players registered three hundreds and six fifties and made runs at crucial times.

Poynton kept – and batted – well in his 14 games, with 43 dismissals, and Durston, Madsen, Redfern and Wainwright were all ever-present during the campaign.

The leading wicket-taker was Palladino with 56 at 24.14, while his opening partner, Groenewald took 42 at under 26.

Clare, who was injured towards the end of the season took 30 at just 21.40 and Wainwright took 44 at 31.36, while Durston (22) and Whiteley (20) took important wickets.

Derbyshire took the title with 194 points, the lowest tally of any side winning the second division, although Yorkshire also managed 194 points. The title was secured on the basis of having won six matches, with Yorkshire winning just five.

Interestingly, the first division was won by Warwickshire who also won six games – in fact, Derbyshire and Warwickshire were the only two counties to win six games in that damp summer.

On reflection, the 2012 success, much like 1981 when the team won the NatWest Trophy or 1993 when they won the Benson and Hedges Cup, seemed like it could be the precursor to greater things. The good recruitment of players like Durston, Groenewald, Madsen, Palladino and Wainwright had proved successful, and the young guns had proved their worth.

The two overseas players did all that was asked of them, and the future looked rosy.

For a variety of reasons, the side didn’t kick-on in four-day cricket, but for those who watched that 2012 season with a host of dramatic and tense finishes, it remains a memorable summer.

Together, We Are All Derbyshire. Share memories, favourite moments and engage with fellow supporters. Get in touch on social media, at [email protected], or call 01332 388 101.

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