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Together, We Are All Derbyshire: Barlow & Moir

Saturday 18th April 2020

During these challenging times for all, we want to help keep everyone associated with the club and wider community positive and engaged. We’re in this together and Together, We Are All Derbyshire. 

Brian wrote to us about two memorable innings, by two very different cricketers, Eddie Barlow and Dallas Moir.

Brian wrote; “Dallas Moir won a game in the Sunday League against Kent from an impossible position with an innings 30 years ahead of its time. It was possibly the most remarkable comeback in any game of one day cricket up to that time. And Eddie Barlow’s 217 v Surrey at Ilkeston, possibly the greatest innings ever by a Derbyshire batsman.”

Our Heritage Officer, David Griffin, writes;

If there is one cricketing memory which I’m happy to write about above all others, it’s Eddie Barlow’s 217 at Ilkeston in 1976, so, much more of that later.

However, Dallas Moir’s innings against Kent in the John Player Special League on midsummer’s day, 1984, also lingers long in the memory. In fact, for years afterwards, whenever a game drifted towards the point of no return, where Derbyshire had no hope of winning, seasoned watchers would caution anyone in earshot with; “…remember Dallas Moir against Kent…”

Dallas Moir was born in Malta in 1957 but moved shortly afterwards to Norway where he lived for four years. His parents were Scottish, and the family subsequently moved back to their homeland and he first played cricket at Aberdeen Grammar School.

At 6 feet 8 inches tall, he was instantly recognisable on the field, and he was spotted by Derbyshire during the 1980 Benson and Hedges Cup campaign when he played all four group games for Scotland including a game against Derbyshire when he bowled seven very tidy overs for just 19 runs.

He made his Derbyshire debut in 1981 and there was subsequent speculation on a yearly basis about whether he would return from Scotland after spending his winters in Aberdeen. There was even a farewell to him in the 1983 Derbyshire Yearbook, but he returned anyway. Then in his final season he received his county cap and was then released. Chairman of Cricket Guy Willatt explained that Moir had been capped in an effort to encourage him to improve his output; a plan which didn’t materialise.

He bowled slow left armers well enough to take 76, 40 and 65 first-class wickets in consecutive seasons, 1982-1984, and he also scored a first-class hundred, but his most memorable day in a Derbyshire shirt was during that mid-season one day game against Kent at Derby.

Derbyshire had lost three consecutive Sunday League games and the Kent match came between days one and two of a three-day championship game against the same opponents.

Kim Barnett won the toss and invited Kent to bat and although Laurie Potter went cheaply, stands of 88 for the second wicket and 96 for the fourth wicket saw the visitors make an imposing 255-6 off 40 overs.

Chris Cowdrey (59), Derek Aslett (58), Neil Taylor (46) and Richard Ellison (43) were the main contributors to Kent’s highest-ever one day score against Derbyshire up to that point. More crucially, Derbyshire needed their highest-ever score against all-comers to win a one-day game batting second.

Ian Broome, who only played 6 List A games (and two first-class games) for Derbyshire, held his nerve to bowl eight overs and take 1-21, and Paul Newman went for 36 off his 8, but Geoff Miller (0-50), Bruce Roberts (2-76) and Moir (3-54) were all expensive.

The Kent bowling attack included Ellison, who would play a significant part in England’s Ashes triumph in 1985, plus Kevin Jarvis and the Australian, Terry Alderman. Cowdrey and Chris Penn were their other bowlers.

In front of a large crowd, Derbyshire’s reply saw Barnett (1) leg before to Ellison in the first over, and Alan Hill (8) went soon afterwards with wickets falling at regular intervals despite Bill Fowler’s 41. At 142-8, the match was as good as over, and the familiar PA announcement came from Ken Roe who advised early leavers that the St Marks Road gate was open. Dozens of spectators took up the option and a steady stream of vehicles drove out of the ground via the track at the rear of the grassed bank.

Moir, batting at number nine, was joined by Bob Taylor, with only Broome still to bat, and began to add runs at a steady rate and with the occasional boundary which brought ironic cheers from the remaining crowd, although there can have been nobody in the crowd who thought they were watching anything but the last rites.

However, as the runs continued to come, and at a good rate, the running between the wickets became more hurried – the diminutive Taylor scampering up and down, while the giant Moir seemingly needing just a handful of strides to get up and down the pitch.

Moir’s principal shot was the heave into the leg-side after planting his front leg down the pitch, and suddenly Derbyshire found themselves within distance of victory. The general feeling around the ground was still that Kent were favourites because one wicket would surely be enough for them. But Moir reached his fifty and then the pair brought up the hundred partnership – which remained the highest-ever for the ninth wicket in domestic one-day cricket in England until 2006.

The running was desperate, and a mix-up resulted in Moir’s dismissal for 79 – off 50 balls – and brought an end to the partnership which had realised 105 runs.

There were still nine runs required off 6 balls when Moir was dismissed, and once again the game had swung in Kent’s favour.

Not renowned for big hitting, Taylor smashed the fourth ball of the final over of the match for six, leaving the bowler Ellison standing in mid-pitch, hands on hips as the ball sailed into the crowd, scarcely believing what had happened.

In those days, players and spectators retired to the upstairs of the pavilion at the close of play – especially after Sunday League games – and this game was no exception. There must have been 200 spectators waiting as a red-faced and still perspiring – but smiling – Moir entered the room to a huge roar and round of applause.

Suffice to say, the beer flowed, and Moir’s dramatic innings got better as the evening wore on.

In 1976, Derbyshire, having never been in a position to pay top salaries, decided that the signing of a world-class all-rounder would improve the county’s fortunes, and that breaking the bank to do it was worthwhile.

Garry Sobers was reputedly earning £5,000 to £7,000 at Nottinghamshire and was by some distance the highest earner in county cricket. Depending on the source of the information, Barlow either demanded or Derbyshire offered the unheard-of sum of £10,000 to come to Derbyshire.

The arrival of a player with a fine record – a batting average of 46 in Tests for South Africa in the 1960s was not to be sniffed at – was eagerly anticipated, although after a sluggish start, the wisdom of signing a 35-year-old who had hitherto never played county cricket was being questioned.

But not by Barlow.

He scored a century against Nottinghamshire at Ilkeston in May 1976, and on the same ground in July he came up against a Surrey side with a bowling attack which included four Test match bowlers, Geoff Arnold, Robin Jackman, Intikhab Alam and Pat Pocock.

At this stage of the season, Bob Taylor was still Derbyshire’s captain – Barlow would take over from him in the next game against Yorkshire at Chesterfield – and Surrey batted first having won the toss.

Their total of 253-8 declared off 99.4 overs appeared to be about par – this was the era of the 100 overs limit on first innings – with Graham Roope scoring 100 not out. Barlow took 4-53 and Mike Hendrick 3-47.

Derbyshire began the second day on 5-0 and on a hot and sunny day, Barlow arrived at the crease when Sharpe was out with the score on 22.

He batted circumspectly to reach his first 50 in two hours, with his second fifty taking one hour. His second hundred runs came in 73 minutes, with his last fifty taking just 26 minutes. He never gave a chance and the next highest score was Alan Hill’s 35. Barlow’s share of the third wicket partnership of 84 with Tony Borrington was 59, and Harry Cartwright made just 20 of the 90-run fifth wicket partnership.

He struck 26 fours and six sixes, with the most thrilling sequence coming when he struck Intikhab for 6, 4, 4, 6 off successive balls.

Barlow’s usual strengths – powerful strokes square of the wicket – were in evidence throughout, and his straight driving was immaculate.

He was finally dismissed by Pat Pocock when Roope caught what would have been Barlow’s seventh six with his feet almost on the rope at deep mid-wicket.

As Barlow walked to the pavilion, the entire crowd stood to applaud him, as did the Surrey fielders.

It was a privilege to see batting of such quality and many observers rated this innings as the finest-ever for Derbyshire, and this writer still regards it as the most memorable innings witnessed in almost 50 years of cricket watching. Barlow’s timing and precision were of the highest class and at the age of almost 36, Barlow proved that he could still be ranked with any player in the world.

Derbyshire went on to win the game by 4 wickets, Barlow adding 30 more runs in the second innings, and at the end of the game the man from Pretoria took over the captaincy from Taylor.

Barlow scored 1,897 runs and took 80 wickets that summer; one had to go as far back as 1933 to find a player who scored more runs and took more wickets in the same season for Derbyshire (Les Townsend 1,966 runs and 90 wickets). His batting was still high-class and he was a fine change bowler, and he was to work further magic on his adopted county as a hugely motivating captain in 1977 and 1978.

But that’s another story.

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