Derbyshire’s opening 2021 County Championship game is against Warwickshire at Edgbaston; Heritage Officer David Griffin previews the match and looks at the statistical highlights of the past.
This will be the 173rd first class meeting between these two counties who first met in 1894 at Edgbaston when Derbyshire won by ten wickets. Derbyshire’s first England Test cricketer, Bill Chatterton top-scored with 88 and George Walker took seven wickets in the match.
Derbyshire have won 42 matches, losing 49, with 81 drawn of which one was abandoned without a ball being bowled – in 1907 at Derby.
Derbyshire’s biggest victory was by an innings and 250 runs at Derby in 1902 when Charles Ollivierre and Albert Lawton both made hundreds before Arnold Warren – 3-56 and 6-33 – bowled Warwickshire out twice for 219 and 92.
Ollivierre’s innings of 167 took only 180 minutes – extremely fast by the standards of the days – and included three sixes and 27 fours, while Lawton’s 126 was even quicker taking 125 minutes and including two sixes and 14 fours.
Derbyshire’s 561 all out in that match remains their highest innings score against Warwickshire.
Derbyshire’s batsmen have scored 62 first class centuries against Warwickshire with Chris Rogers’ magnificent 248 not out at Edgbaston in 2008 leading the way. It remains the fourth highest individual score in Derbyshire’s history and – like Chesney Hughes in 2013 – had he not run out of batting partners would surely have gone past George Davidson’s club record of 274.
Levi Wright scored the most hundreds (six) in a productive period between 1903 and 1908, with four players registering 3 centuries, Kim Barnett, Peter Gibbs, Alan Hill, and Les Townsend.
Wright’s greatest match was arguably at Edgbaston in 1905 when he made 176 and 122, at the time only the second Derbyshire player to score a hundred in each innings of a match. It’s still only the 17th instance and no player has ever done it twice.
The most recent centurion is Wayne Madsen who made a defiant 144 in Derbyshire’s defeat at Birmingham in 2018.
The 15th highest partnership for any wicket in Derbyshire’s history is also a world record; Arnold Warren and John Chapman added 283 for the ninth wicket against Warwickshire in 1910, a total never since eclipsed. Warren scored 123 and Chapman 165, still a world record by a number 10 batsman.
There have been 109 instances of Derbyshire bowlers taking five wickets in an innings in these games with George Davidson’s 9-39 at Derby in 1895 at the top of the list. Davidson finished with 11-74 in the match, the first occasion a Derbyshire bowler took ten or more wickets in a game against Warwickshire.
It’s happened on a further 20 occasions, Les Jackson achieving the feat three times including, remarkably, twice in the same season – 12-123 at Coventry and 12-115 at Burton-on-Trent eight weeks later.
The best match figures, however, were achieved by Les’ namesake Brian, also at Coventry – 12-49 in 1966 including a magnificent 8-18 in the first innings.
One of Derbyshire’s many legendary fast bowlers, Bill Copson, had a record-breaking match against Warwickshire at Derby in 1937. The home side won by five wickets having bowled Warwickshire out for 28 on the first morning as Copson took 8-11 in 8.2 overs. Ten of the Warwickshire wickets were clean bowled – 6 of them by Copson who took four wickets in four balls, five wickets in six balls, seven wickets in 13 balls (all bowled) and seven wickets in 18 balls.
The last Derbyshire bowler to take five in an innings was Graeme Welch who took 5-53 against his former county at Edgbaston in 2001 although we have to go back to 1985 for the last ten-wicket match haul, when Michael Holding’s 10-118 helped Derbyshire to a win at Chesterfield.
Two divisions in the county championship have seen Derbyshire and Warwickshire parted for the majority of the 21st century having met just seven times in red ball cricket and Derbyshire will be looking to improve their recent record having not defeated Warwickshire since 1993.
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