Derbyshire’s final group game in the Bob Willis Trophy is against Lancashire at Aigburth with more to play for than has been the case in recent seasons. Heritage Officer, David Griffin, looks at the statistical background to the game.
In all three formats of the game, Lancashire have provided the opposition for Derbyshire more often than any other county including 220 scheduled first-class matches.
This will be the tenth first-class game between the two sides at Aigburth, and the first since they drew in 1990. Both sides have won twice, with Derbyshire winning most recently by an innings and 63 runs in 1957.
They met at Old Trafford in 1871 in Derbyshire’s first ever first-class match and triumphed by an innings and 11 runs with Dove Gregory taking 6-9 in Lancashire’s first innings of 25 all out. Gregory’s debut innings analysis has never been improved upon.
Generally, however, Lancashire have tended to get the better of Derbyshire, winning 100 matches with Derbyshire gaining the upper hand on just 32 occasions and having not beaten their north west neighbours since 1997 when they won by an innings and 37 runs at Derby. Their last away win was at Old Trafford a year earlier when Jason Gallian’s 312 was not enough to prevent an inspired Derbyshire side winning by two wickets.
1996 was the summer when Derbyshire appeared on course to win the County Championship, actually topping the table on 30th August, but subsequently finishing second to the eventual champions Leicestershire. Dean Jones’ side, with Kim Barnett, Chris Adams, Dominic Cork, Philip DeFreitas, and Devon Malcolm to the fore, produced some of the county’s best first-class cricket in decades.
Derbyshire’s highest innings total of 577 all out at Old Trafford in 1896 included 274 by George Davidson, an innings which included 37 fours and remains the highest individual score in the county’s history, although two players, Barnett and Peter Bowler have both scored more hundreds (four) against Lancashire than any other player.
Both scored hundreds in the first innings at Aigburth in 1990, with Barnett making 90 not out in the 2nd which ended a run of four consecutive first-class innings in which he scored 107, 123, 109 and 90 not out; the closest a Derbyshire batsman has come to making 4 hundreds in successive innings.
Aside from Barnett and Bowler, Derbyshire’s other centurions at Aigburth are Arnold Hamer, John Morris, and John Wright with Morris’ 153 in 1986 being the highest.
Billy Godleman is the only current player with a hundred against Lancashire – 111 at Old Trafford in 2019.
Amongst the bowlers Bill Mycroft (11) and Cliff Gladwin (10) took five wickets in an innings most often, although Les Jackson’s 9-60 at Manchester in 1952 are the best innings figures.
The most recent instance of a bowler taking five wickets in an innings came in the match at Derby in 2019 when Luis Reece took 6-58 in Lancashire’s first innings.
The best innings figures at Aigburth are 6-45 by Arthur Morton in 1922, while George Pope is the only bowler to take ten wickets in a match there when he produced figures of 10-94 in Derbyshire’s 216-run win in 1938.
Davidson and Bill Copson both took hat tricks against Lancashire, at Derby and Burton-on-Trent, respectively.
Derbyshire’s record partnership against Lancashire is 321 for the second wicket in the second innings at Old Trafford in 1981 when John Wright and Peter Kirsten both scored hundreds; the highest at Aigburth was 200 for the first wicket between Barnett and Bowler in 1990.
Derbyshire go into this game with an opportunity to reach the Bob Willis Trophy Final at Lord’s. They are unbeaten after four matches and if they avoid defeat at Aigburth it will be only the second time in the club’s history that they have gone through a first-class season without losing. The only other occasion was in 1874 when they played four games.
Of course, if they are undefeated – and qualify for the final – they will have the opportunity to stay unbeaten and win a trophy.
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