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A tough day for batsmen: 39 wickets fall in a day

Saturday 9th May 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. 

Peter Bamford emailed us having read the article about the game completed in a single day at Chesterfield in 1947 which we brought to you a few weeks ago but mentioned another game at Burton which he attended in 1958.

Peter wrote; “That 1947 game reminded me of the day I believe I saw 39 wickets fall in a day at Burton. I think it was late 1950s so 60-plus years may have blunted my memory! I seem to recall 1 wicket fell on the first day and the remainder on the second. I think it was against Hampshire and it was on Ind Coope’s ground.

Our Heritage Officer, David Griffin, writes;

Peter is absolutely spot on – the years have definitely not blunted his memory!

Derbyshire went into this game on the back of an eight-game run which had brought five wins, two draws and just one defeat and this was their annual visit to the Ind Coope and Allsopps Ground, at Burton-on-Trent.

The game was scheduled for three days, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, 13, 14 and 15 August 1958 and saw Hampshire visit Burton for the first time. At this stage of the season they were top of the table and in with a good chance of taking the title; by the end of the scheduled second day, they have been party to one of the most outstanding games in the history of Derbyshire cricket.

The opening morning was overcast with rain in the air and when Hampshire’s captain, Colin Ingleby-Mackenzie won the toss, he asked the home side to bat first and Charlie Lee and Jim Brailsford opened for Derbyshire on a green but soft pitch.

Rain fell almost from the start, but play continued before Lee was caught at forward short leg in the fourth over. The rain continued to fall and after 23 minutes play, when seven overs had been bowled, the rain drove the players from the field. No further play was possible with a number of pools of water visible on the ground soon after lunch.

The scheduled second day, Thursday, August 14, was bright and warm. Without the hot sun the pitch may well have been unfit all day, although it proved to be a difficult surface to bat on. The bounce and pace were so variable as to be unpredictable, and in most overs one or more balls would kick viciously and there was movement off the seam all day.

David Green and Brailsford resumed at 11am and were soon parted. After just over an hour 6 wickets were down for 35 and a total of 74 all out in 32.4 overs put Hampshire firmly in the driving seat. Malcolm Heath took 6-35 and Derek Shackleton 4-36 as they bowled unchanged through the innings.

Hampshire’s innings began at 12.46pm and with his seventh ball Rhodes had Marshall brilliantly taken, one-handed, by George Dawkes who had to dive to his right. Five balls later Gray was bowled by a ball which moved from middle and leg to take the off stump. The third ball of Jackson’s next over was cut to the third man boundary by Horton, but Carr cut it off and Johnson threw it in to run out Pitman as the third run was being taken – 7 for 3.

In the following over Barnard was caught at short leg and just before lunch Horton was bowled – 17 for 5 in 44 minutes with 11.5 overs bowled. Ingleby-Mackenzie, who had had his fingers trapped on the bat handle three times by Rhodes (and had to retire for repairs) was caught by Lee at backward point off a powerful cut, immediately after lunch. The batsmen were now full of foreboding and there was some backing away which helped Jackson to take the last four wickets in 9 balls, all with the score at 23, after little more than an hour’s batting.

Just 23 all out – in 16.4 overs – was (and remains) the lowest total ever made against Derbyshire, and, not surprisingly, the bowling figures were exceptional, Jackson 8.5-5-10-5 and Rhodes 8-3-12-4, matching their Hampshire counterparts in bowling unchanged through the innings.

Derbyshire began their second innings at 2.48pm and somehow cobbled together 107 in 36.2 overs, mainly thanks to 46 by Derek Morgan who had been hit on the head by a lifting delivery from Shackleton early in his important knock.

Shackleton and Heath again bowled unchanged with Heath taking 7-52 to finish with match figures of 13-87 – match-winning figures on most days.

There were 90 minutes left in the day, plus a potential extra half hour and the entire third day for Hampshire to score 159 to win, or as appeared more likely, for Derbyshire to take 10 wickets.

The innings began at 5.30pm and Jackson had Marshall lbw with his fifth ball and Rhodes accounted for Gray, with his third.

At 6.50pm Barnard (who had batted for almost an hour) was caught and Derbyshire captain Donald Carr claimed the extra time when Jackson had Sainsbury caught behind at 7.01 pm. Morgan, who came on to bowl at 6.35pm – the first bowling change of the match – took the last three wickets as Hampshire were bowled out for 55.

The match ended with 17 minutes remaining, as well as the third day; Derbyshire winning by 103 runs. Jackson’s match figures were 23.4-13-26-9, and well as Shackleton and especially Heath bowled on a pitch tailor-made for quick bowlers, Jackson and Rhodes bowled as near to perfectly as possible, outperforming the Hampshire pair in both pace and accuracy.

Throughout the season Hampshire’s success had been centred on their bowling strength, but in this match Jackson, Rhodes and latterly Derek Morgan were in a different class.

While the game against Somerset at Chesterfield in 1947 ended in a single day, only 30 wickets fell as Derbyshire won by an innings. This game at Burton was arguably even more remarkable – 39 wickets in a day has only ever occurred four times anywhere in the world, the first three instances taking place in 1806, 1848 and 1880, and there has not been another since this game in 1958.

There have been 6 games which ended in a day when 40 wickets fell, but they occurred on relatively poor pitches between 1779 and 1827.

Hampshire’s aggregate in the two innings – 78 – is the lowest ever made against Derbyshire for two completed innings, the previous lowest being Somerset’s 106 at Chesterfield in 1947.

The four successive innings lasted 119, 68, 132 and 103 minutes, a total of 114.5 overs.

Attendance on this day of the match was approximately 3,000 with 2,204 paying £169 4s, 6d.

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