1993 Benson and Hedges Cup

Thursday 25th June 2020

As Derbyshire County Cricket Club celebrates its 150th anniversary in 2020, we have asked the Club Heritage Officer, Photographer and Statistician, David Griffin, to write 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 sixth instalment takes a fond look back at the 1993 Benson and Hedges Cup campaign.

Reflecting on the period from 1978 to 1998 it can now be seen as a golden age for Derbyshire cricket.

Massive improvements in the late 1970s culminated in the NatWest Trophy win in 1981 which sadly heralded the break-up of that fine side; Mike Hendrick left immediately, as did David Steele, while Peter Kirsten and Barry Wood only had one further full season ahead of them with Derbyshire. John Wright and Michael Holding were forced to share the overseas berth between 1983 and 1988, and a rebuilding exercise had to take place as one more Test cricketer, Geoff Miller, departed at the end of 1986, while yet another, Bob Taylor had retired in 1984. The indefatigable Alan Hill retired at the end of 1986 and Colin Tunnicliffe two years earlier.

By the time Derbyshire reached their next final – in the 1988 Benson and Hedges Cup – only Kim Barnett, now captain, and Paul Newman remained of the 1981 winning side.

Replacements had been recruited gradually; John Morris and Peter Bowler would become outstanding Derbyshire batsmen, comparing favourably to the very best in the county’s history, while quick bowlers Ole Mortensen and Allan Warner – one exceptional at the start of an innings, the other equally good at the end – were recruited from Denmark and Worcestershire respectively.

Devon Malcolm and Bruce Roberts – from Jamaica and Zambia respectively – were also to become permanent fixtures in the side. Malcolm was a genuinely fast bowler, probably as fast as any Derbyshire bowler ever, while Roberts was a stylish batsman and useful medium pace bowler.

The side which reached that final had still to be graced by Chris Adams, Dominic Cork and Karl Krikken and was probably lacking in experience in the middle order as Hampshire, in the shape of Steve Jefferies who had previously played one first class match for Derbyshire, blew Derbyshire away after winning the toss and a total of 117 all out never challenged the more experienced southern county.

Nonetheless, Derbyshire had been undefeated on the way to Lord’s and it was clear that with more judicious recruitment and player development, winning days lay ahead.

The golden summer of 1990 saw Derbyshire deliver on that promise as Adams emerged as the real deal, a powerful stroke player and an outstanding fielder – perfect for limited overs cricket.

He was joined in the middle order by South African Adrian Kuiper, another powerful striker of the ball, and the pair perfectly complemented a superb batting unit led by Barnett and Bowler at the top of the order. Morris, now an England Test cricketer formed – with Adams and Kuiper – as dynamic a 3-4-5 as has ever taken to the field for Derbyshire.

Mortensen, Warner, Malcolm – and back for one season – Miller, plus Kuiper and the effective Simon Base were an excellent bowling unit and the RAL Sunday League title was due reward for this fine side.

The following summer saw Derbyshire finish third in the County Championship, and fifth the following year; not since the late 1950s had Derbyshire finished so high in the table in consecutive seasons.

There was a quarter final in the 1992 Benson and Hedges Cup – although Kent won that one at Canterbury – but when Derbyshire’s 1993 Bensons campaign got underway at Bristol in April 1993 there was a feeling that the side which had been carefully pieced together by Barnett, Coach Phil Russell and former captain Guy Willatt was now ready to claim more silverware.

Conditions were awful for that preliminary round game and the start was delayed before the hosts batted first with Chris Broad – back from a 9-year stint with Nottinghamshire – making a well-paced fifty. However, from 113-1 Gloucestershire subsided to 198-7 in 55 overs with wickets shared between Malcolm, Cork, Mortensen and Frank Griffith.

Barnett and Bowler, not for the first time, put on a century opening stand before Barnett departed for 40 with the score on 101. In one day matches this pair produced 16 century partnerships for the first wicket, easily a county best, and confirming their status as statistically the finest opening pair ever to play for the county.

Morris and Adams both fell for a single and at 117-3 the game was in the balance. O’Gorman made 34 and Bowler was run out for 92 and with 12 balls left thirteen runs were still needed with Karl Krikken and Griffith at the crease.

Derbyshire supporters, aware of their specialist ability at winning games having lost fewer wickets with the scores level, knew that 12 runs would suffice. So, when Krikken levelled the scores off the final ball of the game, Derbyshire triumphed having lost five wickets to Gloucestershire’s seven.

Bowler deservedly won the Gold Award.

The next game against Middlesex at Derby saw Ian Bishop return to the side and hopes were high that he would complement the already effective unit of Malcolm, Mortensen, Cork and Warner.

Derbyshire batted first after losing the toss and were happy with 253-8 with half centuries from Adams and Morris, although less so when Middlesex began with a flurry of boundaries, 26 coming from the first two overs.

The openers, Desmond Haynes and Mike Roseberry added an even 100 before Griffith removed the former and then Mark Ramprakash for nought with the next delivery.

Malcolm also took two wickets in consecutive balls and with good fielding producing two runouts, Derbyshire got home by 14 runs with Adams receiving the Gold Award for his 58 and excellent fielding.

Bishop, used as first change took 2-37 from 11 overs and bowled quickly if seemingly within himself. It was Bishop’s first game of the season and as he left the field few could have known that it was his last for Derbyshire. A serious back injury meant that he would never play for the county again, and, because of the TCCB regulations then in force, Derbyshire were not allowed to replace him.

Thus, it was that Derbyshire became the first county to win a major one-day trophy – other than Yorkshire who had a self-imposed ban on overseas players when they won the Gillette Cup in 1969 – without an overseas player.

Nonetheless, Bishop’s absence offered a further opportunity to Griffith, who, as we shall see, took it with both hands.

The quarter final tie was against Somerset at Taunton with two spare days set aside to cater for potentially inclement weather.

Two days earlier, Derbyshire had won a low-scoring Sunday League game against Essex at Chelmsford on a slow, flat pitch. Nick Knight had scored 54 for the hosts without registering a single boundary, and Barnett’s 42 in reply occupied 125 balls. Matthew Vandrau and Simon Base saw Derbyshire home by two wickets before they made their way westwards to Taunton.

The game began after a delayed start and Derbyshire reached 69-0 after 20.3 overs, but then the rain came, and no further play was possible. Both captains, Barnett and Chris Tavare debated – at times forcefully – the options for a restarted game, the umpires at this time not being the sole arbiters of conditions being fit or otherwise for play.

Agreement could not be reached and so it was decided that a bowl-out was the only way to determine the winners of the tie.

In 1991, Derbyshire had been the first county to suffer a bowl-out defeat at the hands of Hertfordshire at Bishop’s Stortford in a Nat West Trophy tie, but lessons had been learned from that disaster.

Instead of using specialist seam bowlers, who had bowled standard, just outside the top off stump deliveries at Bishop’s Stortford, Barnett turned to Vandrau (off spin), Adams, Bowler and himself, plus Cork to each deliver two balls.

A mixture of slow non-spinning deliveries and full tosses were the order of the day as Vandrau (1), Adams (2), Barnett (1), Cork (1) and Bowler (1) struck the unguarded stumps 6 times to win the bowl-out 6-3.

It was a wholly unsatisfactory way to decide a cricket match, but there was no alternative; three days had been scheduled to complete the game, but the rain simply didn’t relent long enough for the game to take its normal course. Even the bowl-out took place in terrible conditions.

By way of contrast, the semi final against Northamptonshire at Derby was played in tortuously hot and steamy conditions, in front of a crowd somewhere in the region of 5,000.

Northamptonshire had a strong side; Rob Bailey, Allan Lamb, Mal Loye and David Capel provided serious back-up to the openers Alan Fordham and Nigel Felton, Kevin Curran was an excellent all-rounder and a fine player to have coming in at number seven, with Paul Taylor, a former Derbyshire player who went on to play Test cricket for England, and the world class West Indian fast bowler Curtley Ambrose to open the bowling.

The Derbyshire way has often been to win against the odds – the final would demonstrate that – and often in a nail-biting fashion, but not on this occasion.

Barnett won the toss and Malcolm took early wickets before Bailey and Lamb rebuilt the innings with half centuries. Cork returned to remove both, and the innings ran out of steam ending on 210 all out with 10 balls unused.

Malcolm, a tearway with questionable radar in his early days, bowled 10 overs – three of them maidens – and took 3-23 and Warner took 1-19 off 9.2 overs; it was high class bowling by both openers, backed up by Cork (3-46) as Vandrau and Griffith took the other wickets, with one run out.

As the day grew hotter, spectators recognised that Ambrose was the likeliest threat to Derbyshire, and he tore in at Barnett and Bowler. All Northamptonshire’s bowlers were accurate and economical and although the opening pair put on 102, once they departed, 92 were still required from 15 overs.

Adams and Morris, however, batted as though they were playing in a benefit match. Their timing, shot selection and general approach to the task in hand was thrilling to watch. Ambrose held no fears for them, and the pair added 95 in 12 overs to take Derbyshire to a comfortable 8 wicket victory.

The crowd surged onto the outfield, Adams and Morris embraced, and Derbyshire supporters began to dream once more of silverware.

It was pre-Internet days, so queues formed outside the club offices when tickets went on sale to members just days later.

The uptake was good – Derbyshire sold out their 3,700-ticket allocation and the Supporter’s Club organised several coaches for the trip to Lord’s.

Lancashire were to be Derbyshire’s opponents and were lauded as the unofficial ‘One Day Cup Kings’ of domestic cricket. Their side included Michael Atherton, Neil Fairbrother, Phillip DeFreitas and the Pakistani great, Wasim Akram, and were clear favourites.

A little spice was added to the final by the events which took place when the two sides met in a championship match at Derby a fortnight earlier.

On the final day, Derbyshire were 243-2 and en route to a famous victory needing a further 145 as Morris (151) played one of his greatest innings for the county, before Akram produced a spell of 6-11 in 49 balls to demolish Derbyshire’s innings and secure victory for Lancashire, their last 8 wickets falling for 24 runs.

Derbyshire questioned the condition of the ball and when Ole Mortensen was the last man out, he chased the ball to the boundary and put it in his pocket. Derbyshire sent the ball to Lord’s with a request for it to be inspected. No action was taken by the TCCB, but it meant that emotions were running high for the next encounter between the two sides.

To top it all, in the Sunday League game sandwiched in the middle of the championship fixture, Derbyshire had been routed for 73 and lost by 161 runs.

They lost a further game – against Worcestershire in the NatWest Trophy on the Wednesday before the final – so hopes outside the camp weren’t particularly high.

On a fine morning, Fairbrother elected to field and Derbyshire’s innings was soon in tatters at 66-4 after an hours’ play. Derbyshire’s big four, Barnett, Bowler, Morris and Adams, arguably as good a top four as have ever played together for the county, were all out and it seemed another final was lost before it had begun. The animosity between the sides wasn’t helped when Adams was struck by a beamer from Akram who raised his hand by way of apology but was no balled by umpire Meyer.

However, for the first time with the bat, Dominic Cork announced himself to a television audience and a full house at Lord’s with an inspired innings of 92 not out.

Cork, apparently nerveless, and happy to play the dominant role alongside Tim O’Gorman and then Krikken, played a remarkable innings, with no shot better than the one off the final ball of the innings when he walked outside off stump and flicked an Akram in swinger down to fine leg. Cork clearly irritated the Lancashire players, talking, fidgeting, and generally playing outrageous shots, and with O’Gorman and Krikken took his side to a competitive total of 252-6 from 55 overs.

The bad blood continued to be spilt in the Lord’s dining room as Adams confronted Akram over the beamer, but calm was restored and when play resumed, it was in overcast conditions with a threat of showers.

Warner removed Steve Titchard for nought and Lancashire had reached 80 before the next wicket, of Nick Speak, fell to Mortensen, before Atherton and Fairbrother came together. Atherton batted slowly and when Krikken dropped him there were plenty of Derbyshire spectators gleefully announcing that the cunning Derbyshire plan was to keep Atherton at the crease.

Lancashire were 141-2 when rain began to fall, and the players left the field for a 70-minute break.

Barnett had kept plenty of Malcolm’s overs back specifically to target Fairbrother who was renowned as one of the best one-day finishers in the world, and for Lancashire to win it was probably essential that he remained at the crease. Atherton went for 54 but his innings had taken up more than 100 deliveries and while Lancashire never really got on top of Derbyshire’s attack, it was clear to everyone watching that the game was destined to go to the wire.

The dangerous Akram came and went, caught and bowled by the indefatigable Warner, but when the final over arrived, 11 were needed to win.

Barnett had gambled on using his best bowlers to remove Fairbrother, but the Lancashire left-hander was still there as young Frank Griffith ran in to bowl the final over of the match with destiny within touching distance.

Fairbrother and DeFreitas were in his sights and Griffith must have been nervous. The first ball was full and straight – no run, and Fairbrother scampered a single off the next. Nine to win off 4 balls.

Griffith’s next delivery was a full toss. Derbyshire supporters held their breath, this was surely going out of the ground…but DeFreitas skied a catch to Krikken although the batsmen crossed.

Ten were needed from three balls and Fairbrother managed two from the fourth ball despite an excellent piece of fielding from Cork who combined with Krikken to attempt a run out.

He managed another single off the fifth ball and so – barring a no ball or a wide – Lancashire required 7 off the final delivery which produced a dot ball.

Cue pandemonium. Derbyshire had won the 1981 Nat West Trophy with just two players on the pitch at the moment of victory. This time, all eleven players were out there and as thousands of Derbyshire supporters swarmed onto the outfield, players were dashing everywhere, leaping into each other’s arms amid a sea of smiling faces.

The trophy presentation took place on the balcony with Cork receiving the Gold Award for his wonderful innings as thousands of Derbyshire supporters looked up, clapping, cheering and singing songs.

Without an overseas player, Derbyshire had prevailed on the biggest domestic stage and esteemed cricket writer Christopher Martin-Jenkins wrote in the Daily Telegraph;

“It ought to be remembered as the game in which Derbyshire won deserved reward for building up a worthy county team under Kim Barnett’s intelligent and determined captaincy and for the performance of a young cricketer (Cork) of flair and character. Renewed hope, too, for all those people who have battled against the odds to galvanise cricketing life out of a part of the country surrounded by other major cricketing centres and steeped in the winter game.”

Cork’s 92 not out remains the highest ever score in a Lord’s final (there have been 99 finals including World Cups) by a number six and the unbeaten seventh-wicket partnership between Cork and Krikken of 77 is the highest for that wicket in any Lord’s final.

Barnett played in 9 Lord’s finals – four for Derbyshire and five for Gloucestershire – with only Neil Fairbrother and Derek Underwood (ten each) appearing in more.

For Barnett, and that master of recruitment, Phil Russell, the 1993 Benson and Hedges Cup triumph was their towering achievement and, as domestic Lord’s finals have now been consigned to history, this will remain Derbyshire’s last win there in a showpiece game.

Another final would follow in 1998 – once more Lancashire were the opponents in the NatWest Trophy – but a heavy defeat would signal the end of the last true golden period for Derbyshire.

Between 1978 and 1998 Derbyshire appeared in 17 quarter finals, six semi-finals and five finals – heady days.

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.

Principal Partner & Ground Sponsor
Official Partners