Statistical Preview: Leicestershire

Thursday 6th August 2020
Photography by: David Griffin

Derbyshire continue their travels with another short journey within the East Midlands, down the M1 to Leicester for their second game of the Bob Willis Trophy. Heritage Officer, David Griffin, looks at the statistical background to the game.

Derbyshire and Leicestershire have met on 214 occasions in first-class cricket with Lancashire (220) the only county to provide the opposition on more occasions.

Derbyshire’s have recorded 61 wins and suffered 64 defeats in these games, with the most recent win coming at Leicester in 2019 when Wayne Madsen made the only half-century in a low-scoring match in which Tony Palladino took 5-29 in the hosts’ first innings.

The two counties first met in 1894 at Leicester when Derbyshire won a one-sided match by an innings and 36 runs, dismissing the home side for 92 and 81, George Porter taking 5-14 from 20 overs in the first innings and George Davidson 7-37 from 37.3 overs in the second.

Derbyshire’s highest innings total against Leicestershire came in the run-fest at Derby in 2017 when the visitors racked up 619 before Derbyshire replied with 533 in a game which unsurprisingly ended in a draw in hot and almost arid conditions.

Derbyshire’s highest fourth innings total – against all-comers – is their 396 all out at Leicester in 2007 when Leicestershire triumphed by 28 runs in a thrilling match which Derbyshire seemed on course to win when Simon Katich was making a masterful 167 supported by Travis Birt and Greg Smith with 74 apiece. Stuart Broad took 5-76 for Leicestershire, at the time his best figures in first class cricket.

Although most away fixtures have been played in Leicester, there have been trips to Ashby-de-la-Zouch, Coalville, Loughborough, and Oakham, with Derbyshire having a particularly good record at Ashby.

Leicestershire presumably wanted to attract spectators from south of Derbyshire to Ashby, the market town being just a mile outside the Derbyshire border, and any travelling supporters would certainly have enjoyed themselves as the two sides met 17 times on the Bath grounds with Derbyshire winning ten and drawing five between 1912 and 1964.

Derbyshire’s biggest wins over Leicestershire have occurred at Derby; by 10 wickets in 1935 and 1953, and by a record margin against any county of 408 runs in 2014.

That win in the final match of 2014 included a century in each innings by Ben Slater – the only time a Derbyshire batsman has performed this feat against Leicestershire – and a sublime unbeaten hundred by Cheteshwar Pujara who was dismissed in the first innings ‘handled the ball’, only the second time a Derbyshire batsman had ever been given out in this unusual manner.

Derbyshire’s narrowest win by wickets was the two-wicket win at Leicester in 1909.

In 1980 there was a very unusual outcome to the match at Leicester when the game was drawn with the scores level, the first and only time this has ever happened in Derbyshire’s history.

In a rain-affected game, Derbyshire made 198 in their first innings, Mike Hendrick surprisingly top-scoring with 33, before Leicestershire declared their first innings on 118-6 with Hendrick taking 4-35.

Derbyshire then subsided to 118 all out in their second innings leaving Leicestershire needing 199 to win the game in around two and a half hours. At one stage Leicestershire were 115-2 and later needed 21 to win from 7.2 overs of the last hour remaining.

With an over to go, the scores were level, Leicestershire needing one run to win with David Gower and Tim Boon at the crease and four wickets in hand.

A 20-year-old Kim Barnett bowled that final over to Boon, bowling five dot balls of leg spin before the batsmen attempted a run off the final ball of the game which saw Boon run out by Barnett.

Seven years later Derbyshire would tie their only first-class match at Bristol, but this draw with scores level is just as unique in Derbyshire’s history.

Another unusual occurrence took place in 1955 at Ashby when Derbyshire used 11 bowlers in Leicestershire’s second innings. This had happened once before – in 1902 v Worcestershire – but to date, never again.

Derbyshire’s batsmen have scored 101 first class centuries against Leicestershire – more than against any other side, with Barnett’s 239 not out at Leicester in 1988 being the highest of five double hundreds scored against them.

Mohammad Azharuddin’s 212 at Leicester in 1991 was arguably his finest innings for the club. Barnett, no slouch at the best of times, scored 8 runs while Azharuddin scored 100 at the other end.

Unsurprisingly, Barnett scored seven hundreds against Leicestershire – more than any player – with Donald Carr making six; of the current squad, Wayne Madsen’s four centuries lead the way, with Billy Godleman having made two, while both players scored hundreds at Leicester in the 2015 defeat.

The record partnership for Derbyshire against Leicestershire is 316 and is the county’s seventh highest of all time and the record third-wicket partnership, which was shared by Kim Barnett and Adrian Rollins at Leicester in 1997.

Derbyshire’s bowlers have enjoyed significant success against Leicestershire, with Tommy Mitchell’s innings analysis of 10-64 at Leicester in 1935 being the most outstanding. This remains only the second instance of a Derbyshire bowler taking ten wickets in an innings.

George Walker took 9-68 – also at Leicester in 1895 – while Bill Bestwick took 8-36 on the same ground in 1924. Still in Leicestershire, Cliff Gladwin took 8-56 at Ashby in 1948 and Geoff Miller 8-70 at Coalville in 1982.

Bill Bestwick took five Leicestershire wickets in an innings on 18 occasions – only 26 Derbyshire bowlers have taken more five wicket innings in their entire careers. The modern equivalent is Mark Footitt with a more modest four five-fors, the best of which was 7-71 at Derby in September 2015.

There have been 28 occurrence of a Derbyshire bowler taking ten wickets in a match against Leicestershire, Mark Footitt’s 10-155 in 2015 being the most recent.

Bestwick again leads the way in this category, taking ten in match on no less than seven occasions with a best of 13-98 at Ashby in 1923, although the honours for best match figures go to Les Jackson who took 13-73 at Derby in 1962.

Derbyshire bowlers have taken three hat-tricks against Leicestershire; Ole Mortensen at Derby in 1987 and Kevin Dean (2000) and Tony Palladino (2012) both at Leicester.

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