videocam
Derbyshire
Northamptonshire
menu
close

Year Book, Statistics & Media throughout club history

Tuesday 12th 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. 

Adam Oakley wrote to us about several subjects, including the Derbyshire Yearbook.

Adam said; “A history of the Derbyshire yearbook and how the media coverage of the club has changed would be of interest. Also, something about how club statisticians have kept records down the years would be interesting”

Our Heritage Officer, David Griffin, writes;

Derbyshire Year Book

In 1885 The Derbyshire Cricket Annual was first published with Mr E Elliott and Mr T Thornhill carrying out the role of joint-Editors.

They edited the book until 1896 when they handed over the editorship duties to Walter Piper and Levi Wright. Wright, a Derbyshire great, scored 14,800 first-class runs for Derbyshire in 317 games between 1883 and 1909, a tally of runs only bettered by six players in the county’s history.

The change of editors brought a change of title – the book became known as The Derbyshire Cricket Guide – and was published every year until 1914, and then after World War I, from 1919 until 1939.

The end of World War II saw a resumption of first-class cricket in 1946, but the Derbyshire Cricket Guide failed to reappear and nothing replaced it, although there were a number of handbooks which were devoted to the recreational game in Derbyshire.

However, in 1954, two gentlemen, (Alfred) Frank Dawn and Frank Peach jointly edited the first edition of The Derbyshire Yearbook on behalf of the Supporters’ Club.

Dawn was a founder committee member of the Supporters’ Club – set up in 1952 – and remained on the committee until 1981, while Peach, a chemist at Celanese in Derby, was a keen cricket statistician and served on the county’s general committee for many years.

Dawn’s speciality was club cricket, while Peach concentrated on the county club.

Peach virtually started from scratch in creating his statistical records. The information from matches was contained within the scorecards in the Wisden Almanack and in the county scorebooks, but the data had to be transcribed and put into usable records.

As a successor to Peach, I can confirm that the role of Club Statistician is both never-ending and requiring accuracy with double and triple-checking of data. But at least the modern databases can be searched and sorted, amended and updated using fast processors and an assortment of software programmes. Frank Peach had pen and paper.

The earliest year books contained 140 pages and much of the layout and contents remained the same for decades. Farewells, arrivals, obituaries, fixtures, match reports with scorecards, and photographs all featured in the earliest editions, and by the time Dawn and Peach ended their joint role with the publication of the 1982 year book, the contents included an array of articles by guest contributors about all aspects of Derbyshire cricket, past and present.

The two Franks had produced 29 editions of the Derbyshire Yearbook and the Supporters’ Club appointed the Club’s Honorary Scorer, Stan Tacey as the new editor.

Frank Peach continued to supply the statistics and the book had grown, by 1997 – the 44th edition – to 264 pages. By this time, the book was featuring more than 100 pages of content relating to the game in general before on page 104 the match reports and scorecards of the previous season began.

As usual, the records section was detailed and by now being compiled by David Baggett following Frank Peach’s death earlier in the year. Frank Dawn had died in 1984.

The book continued through until 2006 when the final edition to be printed on B6 sized paper – 210 pages long – was published.

The general committee accepted a request from the Chief Executive to discontinue the format of the book, and to create a new A4-sized book, incorporating both the year book and the Annual Report.

The reasoning behind the move was cost-based; copies were printed and never purchased, meaning that costs were rarely covered by sales. Even in the 1990s when members’ subscriptions included a ‘free’ year book (the cost was included in an annual subscription increase), countless books remained unsold and despite plenty of disappointment at the move, there was another logical reason for the change.

The yearbook, now edited by David Baggett, had always included a mammoth amount of statistics – the 2006 book devoted 25% of space to statistics – but with the advent of the Internet, statistics could be checked more readily and, critically, online statistics were updated as they happened. The year book simply couldn’t match that.

For six seasons, the club produced a joint yearbook / Annual Report which in fairness was never as in-depth as the original books. Add the fact that it was larger than the pocket-sized original books, and that it contained significantly less statistical information than before, and it became a publication which most supporters had no desire to carry with them to matches.

In 2014, therefore, the club reverted to a stand alone year book, but reduced it to less than 40 pages and only included the averages and match reports from each game of the previous season, alongside some photographs. It provided a record of the previous year, but no longer included the articles and statistical section and so became of lesser interest to members.

Ultimately, costs and the competition of readily available information online saw the end of the traditional year book.

Many mourn the loss of the traditional book and for supporters of a certain vintage it was one of the great features of the season to hear Alan Flintoff doing the rounds at Derby shouting; “Derbyshire Yearbook…not many left.”

Media

The irony of building a new media centre which opened in 2016 was that while it was full for the 2017 ICC Women’s World Cup, it was never likely to house the number of journalists and other media contributors who were regular attendees at county cricket in that golden period after World War II through the early part of the 21st century.

Post-war, a cricket correspondent would cover each county; in Derbyshire people like Mike Carey, Gerald Mortimer, Neil Hallam and Nigel Gardner were ever-present at home fixtures, with Mortimer – in his role with the Derby Telegraph – travelling to all the away games too. His successor, Mark Eklid, kept up that tradition until 2015.

However, in additional to the local journalists (Hallam, although local was, for example, writing for a national newspaper, The Daily Telegraph) there would be a reporter following the visiting county, plus an assortment of journalists usually from The Times, The Daily Express, The Guardian and The Independent.

Back in 1976 when Eddie Barlow scored his superlative 217 against Surrey at Ilkeston, Pat Gibson, one of the most esteemed cricket writers on the circuit, covered the game for the Daily Express and there were numerous other journalists in the press tent to describe that innings to the nation.

This was the period when cricket was always headlining on the back pages of most newspapers and so there tended to be blanket coverage of the game with photographers also present, albeit usually from agencies rather than individual newspapers.

The latter half of the twentieth century saw a host of outground cricket played and so local reporters and photographers would be dispatched to Heanor and Ilkeston, for example, sometimes looking for a local angle on the game and a shot of the townsfolk watching the cricket on their home ground.

As sports coverage transitions from traditional newspaper print to the more dominant and widespread forms of online media, Nigel Gardner, a freelance journalist covering Derbyshire since the early 1980s still writes for the Press Association, covering home games for The Cricket Paper and the ECB Reporters Network online.

Despite the reduction in print-based reporting on cricket, the changes and improvements in radio coverage are to be welcomed.

Sport in general – especially on radio and television – was always popular, but with a limited number of stations, output was limited.

Saturday afternoons would offer second half live coverage of a Division One football match on BBC Radio 2, and a similar 45-minute broadcast on European nights in the 1970s, with just the FA Cup Final and England v Scotland Home International granted permission to be broadcast live on television.

Cricket coverage was excellent on the BBC – Sunday League cricket every week, Test matches, knockout matches, finals – but it began to be pushed to the margins as it was forced to share airtime with other sports and when Sky came along to offer live coverage without having to switch to the news or horse racing, it was an offer which couldn’t be refused.

Test Match Special on BBC Radio had always been popular, and in the mid-2000s, the idea was mooted about covering county cricket.

Initially, counties went their own way with Derbyshire, thanks to Supporters’ Club sponsorship, able to ensure that BBC Radio Derby could send a broadcaster to every game, home and away.

Ian Hall was probably the best-qualified of the broadcasters who took on the role – he knew Derbyshire cricket inside out having played for them and served on the committee, but others followed and the ECB formalised the arrangement with the BBC to ensure that every county now benefits from ball-by-ball coverage of every game in all three formats, home and away. Dave Fletcher, the present cricket correspondent at Radio Derby won the Broadcaster of the Year Award in his first season, 2016.

So, while the newspaper element of cricket coverage has virtually disappeared at Derbyshire, the live radio broadcasting has never been as comprehensive. Allied with the live stream which is managed by the club, plus the never-ending updates on social media by sources ranging from official club accounts, to people sitting on the boundary, it actually means that instant updates on Derbyshire cricket have never been more readily available.

Statistics

Many years ago, I was asked what the lowest individual score never made for Derbyshire was.

The statistical element of Derbyshire County Cricket Club was always of huge interest going back to my formative years in the game when I used to pore over the national batting and bowling averages in the newspapers, read the Derbyshire Year Book from cover to cover.

However, despite the work carried out by numerous people over the years at Derbyshire, with the exception of the records contained in the Derbyshire Year Book, accessing the full statistical records was impossible. There was a huge amount of data online but that didn’t include the more obscure records.

I therefore decided to start my statistical databases from scratch in 2006. By then, the Internet was featuring serious statistical information and Cricket Archive and the ACS (Association of Cricket Statisticians) websites were providing huge amounts of invaluable information. Moreover, I was computer literate by then!

Frank Peach, Derbyshire’s first statistician, utilised the only resources available to him – Wisden, yearbooks, handwritten notes, pen and paper and a calculator. This brought together some invaluable statistical data, but the use of it was limited by the lack of powerful computer processing.

A prime example is the list of every match Derbyshire have played, all 4000+ of them. With pen and paper, it was possible to compile a list of every game but it was impossible to sort the columns within that list  – date, opponent, venue, who won the toss, who batted first, each innings score, who captained Derbyshire, who kept wicket, the result, the margin of victory. That could only be done using a computer.

So, my initial task back in 2006 was to create that database. It took over two years but by then, at a glance, so much searchable information was at my fingertips.

Another example is five-wicket hauls. There is no definitive list anywhere of all the instances of bowlers taking five wickets in an innings in first class, List A and Twenty20 matches for Derbyshire.

What is available are the career records for all 715 players who have played for Derbyshire and they indicate the number of five-wicket innings they’ve achieved.

Using the number of five-wicket innings per player – obviously nowhere near all 715 have taken a five-fer – I then went through every scorecard of every game to find each individual five-wicket analysis.

That information was then inputted into a database which, critically, I can now search by name, analysis, opponents, season, innings, and venue. Such is the power of the processor; information which my predecessors could not even find can now be located and more importantly, be called up at the press of a few keys. The only thing that hasn’t changed, is the time spent finding the information and inputting it. But retrieving it is simple.

The task of taking all relevant Derbyshire statistics and putting them into usable databases took almost ten years and is still ongoing. I use more than 200 different tables or databases which cover the topics one would expect – name of every player to have played for Derbyshire, birthplaces, games played in each format, runs, wickets and catches etc.

Then there are the more obscure records; most 100s in each batting position (Barnett scored 45 batting at number one), centuries in first-class cricket for Derbyshire and against Derbyshire (22 players have done it), the number of last wicket partnerships which have accrued 50 or more runs, individual players who have made two scores in the nineties in the same match, most sixes in T20 cricket…the list goes on.

And with the advent of social media, in particular Twitter, there’s rarely a week goes by when I don’t get asked a statistical question, which – if I don’t already know the answer – leads me off in search of it and potentially the creation of a new table of data.

By the way, the lowest individual score never made for Derbyshire is 183.

Get involved!

Our Members, supporters and stakeholders are vitally important to the club and we want to give back where we can – whether that be providing you with new and exclusive interviews, re-living the club’s greatest moments, or hearing about your favourite moments.

Join in on social media, tag friends and contact the club via the form below and we’ll aim to feature as many of the discussion points as possible.

If you would like to remain anonymous, please let us know in the body of the message.

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.

Sponsors
Principal Partner & Ground Sponsor
Official Partners