A famous victory after following-on

Tuesday 19th May 2020

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David Fisher, a lifelong supporter wrote to ask if we could recall a game at Trent Bridge over thirty years ago when Derbyshire won after following-on.

Our Heritage Officer, David Griffin, writes;

David mentions one of the most remarkable games in Derbyshire’s long history, and in the entire history of first-class cricket, there have only been 103 games in which a side has won after following-on, and Derbyshire have been involved in just five of them.

On two occasions, they lost after enforcing the follow-on, but on three glorious occasions, they won after having to follow-on.

The first win was against Sussex at Hove in 1883 when the hosts required a mere 104 to win in the fourth innings but subsided to 74 all out in the face of a superb spell of bowling by Joseph Marlow who bowled 46 overs in the Sussex second innings and took 6-27.

The Sussex innings of 74 occupied a remarkable 92 overs and one can only imagine what the pitch was like on that final day of the game.

The second win after following-on came at Buxton in 1976.

Derbyshire hosted Lancashire on the ground where the visitors had enjoyed a huge victory in the snow-affected game one year earlier, and on the opening day, Lancashire made 290 all out in 76.3 overs with Keith Stevenson taking 5-47. At the close, Derbyshire were in trouble at 72-5 and were dismissed for 139 early on the second day.

Following-on, Derbyshire batted much better with Alan Hill making 80 opening the batting, Geoff Miller scoring 37 and Harry Cartwright 48. However, it was Eddie Barlow, batting at number nine after picking up an injury while bowling, who gave Derbyshire a sniff of a chance with an explosive 73 including two sixes and ten fours, adding 100 with Fred Swarbrook for the eighth wicket in just over an hour.

Lancashire batted with the air of a side looking for a quick win – more than four an over throughout their second innings – but Miller (4-69) and Swarbrook (2-5) kept things tight when necessary as wickets fell at regular intervals. When Derbyshire took the final wicket, there were still 16 overs left of the final hour and a remarkable win had been secured by a mere 15 runs.

In August 1984, when Derbyshire arrived at Trent Bridge to face Nottinghamshire, they had a first-class playing record of won one, drawn 12 and lost six, and the home side looked strong, with Tim Robinson, Derek Randall, Clive Rice and Richard Hadlee their major players.

Nottinghamshire won the toss and batted losing Hassan for nought to Devon Malcolm before Robinson and Randall added 103 for the second wicket. Rice and Hadlee both scored half centuries and with Miller and Dallas Moir sharing all ten wickets, Nottinghamshire’s innings closed on 361, leaving Derbyshire a tricky six deliveries to face before the close.

In Derbyshire’s first innings, John Hampshire made a face-saving 53 not out as they were dismissed for 139 in 59 overs, of which 33 were shared by spinners Eddie Hemmings and Peter Such. With 20 wickets down, and 15 falling to spin, it was clear from the boundary that batting was not easy against slow bowling.

Derbyshire were asked to follow on and Barnett played one of his typically buccaneering innings, making 54 of the first 71 runs scored and scoring a superb 90. Miller and Roger Finney, coming together at 205-5 with Derbyshire still 15 runs adrift, added 135 in 28 overs for the sixth wicket, Miller scoring 86 and Finney 73. Bob Taylor added an unbeaten 20 and Nottinghamshire found themselves with a victory target of 160, but crucially, only 35 overs remaining in the match.

At 46-1 in the tenth over they were on course, but Derbyshire’s spinners, Miller and Moir asserted control as they bowled unchanged throughout the innings, Moir taking 6-60 and Miller 3-69 (Birch was run out).

Barnett had fielders around the bat for much of the innings, but also had to guard the deep field for the slog – not easy with such a low target to defend.

However, wickets fell steadily and although in the final analysis the margin was small – 28 runs – Derbyshire always seemed to be in control once the potentially dangerous Hadlee fell.

There were 16 balls of the game remaining, and with the shadows lengthening across Trent Bridge as the final wicket fell to Miller, there was joy unconfined amongst the Derbyshire players and the modest number of supporters gathered in the pavilion to welcome the side home.

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