Statistical Preview: Essex

Wednesday 12th May 2021
Photography by: David Griffin

Derbyshire’s fifth LV= County Championship game of the season means a trip to the south-east to face the country’s leading first-class side, Essex, at the CloudFM County Ground, Chelmsford.

Heritage Officer David Griffin previews the match and looks at the statistical highlights of the past.

Derbyshire last played at Chelmsford in 2016 when Nick Browne scored 255 for the home side in a drawn match. Browne also scored a double hundred – 229 not out – at Derby in the return fixture, the only instance of a batsman scoring two double centuries against Derbyshire in the same season.

This will be the 183rd meeting of these two sides, one of which was abandoned without a ball bowled at Buxton in 1953.

Derbyshire have won 31 times, Essex 78 times with 72 draws.

This is only the 25th time that Chelmsford will have staged this fixture; a plethora of outgrounds in Essex meant that Derbyshire didn’t play there between 1938 and 1951, or between 1952 and 1973, and their record there is poor, with just three wins, in 1936, 1937, and 2012.

The win in 2012 was a crucial one in Derbyshire’s second division title-winning season; in glorious late May weather, a fine 116 by Wes Durston, after David Wainwright had taken 5-51 in Essex’ first innings, put Derbyshire on course for a win.

And on the third evening when Derbyshire required 96 to win in the fourth innings, Martin Guptill and Paul Borrington strolled to victory, requiring only 18 overs, Guptill scoring 66 from 52 balls with seven fours and three sixes.

That first win in 1936 was when Derbyshire were at the height of their powers, a season which brought their one and only county championship title.

Nonetheless, when they were bowled out for only 80 and saw Essex secure a first innings lead of 139, their hopes of a win – and the title – would have been in the balance in this early August clash. However, Albert Alderman’s 79 in Derbyshire’s second innings of 240 gave his side something – if not much – to bowl at.

Essex, needing 102 to win the game, collapsed to the leg spin of Tommy Mitchell who took 6-25 in only five overs as Derbyshire prevailed by 20 runs.

Derbyshire largest margin of victory was by an innings and 227 runs at Chesterfield in 1967 when Derek Morgan scored 52 and took 11-66, and David Smith made 114. Morgan’s feat of scoring a half century and taking ten wickets against Essex, matched the effort of Les Townsend a generation earlier when he scored 85 and took 11-65, on the same ground.

Their biggest margin by runs was 202 at Ilkeston in 1927, largely thanks to Garnet Lee who scored 65 and took eight wickets in the match.

Essex’ largest win by an innings came at Chelmsford in 1989 when they made a massive 552-3, bowling Derbyshire out for 113 and 197 to win by an innings and 212 runs.

Their biggest win by runs was at Derby in 1910 when 271 runs was the margin of victory.

Derbyshire’s players have scored 62 hundreds against Essex, the first coming back in 1896 when William Chatterton, Derbyshire’s first England Test cricketer, made 111 at Leyton.

Harry Storer and Arthur Morton made the most centuries – four apiece – with Storer’s 232 at Derby in 1933 being the highest individual score, while Ian Harvey’s 136 in 2007 is the highest individual score at Chelmsford. Harvey’s hundred came on his debut, at the time only the ninth Derbyshire player to register a ton in his first match.

Derbyshire’s most recent centurion is captain Billy Godleman who made 100 at Derby in 2016.

Ernest Needham is the sole Derbyshire batsman to score a hundred in each innings of a match against Essex, making 107* and 104 at Leyton in 1908, and yet still ending on the losing side.

On only 15 occasions have both opening batsmen scored a century in the same innings of a first-class match, with Harry Storer (209) and Jospeh Bowden (120) performing the feat while adding 322 runs for the 1st wicket at Derby in 1929. This remains the highest partnership for any wicket in matches against Essex.

Matt Critchley recently became the latest (17th) Derbyshire cricketer to score a hundred and take 5 wickets in an innings in the same match, and the feat has been performed twice against Essex, by Sam Cadman – 103 and 5-33 at Leyton in 1911 – and Graeme Welch – 112 and 5-63 at Chelmsford in 2005.

The highest individual score made against Derbyshire is 343 not out by Percy Perrin at Chesterfield in 1904. In one of the most remarkable games in the history of the county championship, Derbyshire won that match despite Perrin’s massive innings, largely thanks to Charles Ollivierre, who scored 229 and 92 not out as Derbyshire won by nine wickets.

There have been four tenth wicket partnerships of 50 or more against Essex with 80 being the highest between Thomas Forrester and Fred Bracey at Leyton in 1913. Bracey’s share of the partnership was eight not out.

Derbyshire’s batsmen have made 31 scores in the nineties in matches against Essex with Harry Bagshaw, David Smith and Kim Barnett all making 99.

In the game at Colchester in 1968, both opening batsmen were dismissed in the 90s, while in 1970, at Leyton, Chris Wilkins was dismissed twice in the 90s as Fred Swarbrook also made a 90.

And just to demonstrate that he was human, the great Peter Kirsten scored 95 and 90 in the game at Derby in 1981, while Barnett made 99 twice against Essex with a further 91 too.

There have been four instances of a Derbyshire batsman carrying his bat through a completed innings, three of which were before WWI – Levi Wright (twice) in 1899 and 1903 both at Leyton, and Ernest Needham at the same ground in 1908.

More recently, Peter Bowler scored a superb 159 out of 340 at Chesterfield in 1988.

Aside from Harvey, three players have made a score of 50 or more on debut against Essex; Richard Kenward, 56 in 1899, William ‘Fatty’ Foulke, 53 in 1900, and Tony Borrington 70, in 1971.

The highest match aggregate between these two sides is 1,429 runs at Derby in 2009 when Chris Rogers led the way with 222, as Garry Park, Tom Westley and Ryan ten Doeschate also scored centuries.

The most wicket-keeping dismissals in a match against Essex is eight, by George Dawkes in 1958 at Westcliff-on-Sea, and twice by Luke Sutton at Derby in 2002 and 2011.

Derbyshire’s bowlers have taken five Essex wickets in an innings 110 times, George Davidson being the first to perform the feat at Leyton in 1895 when he took 5-33. Those two legendary fast bowlers, Cliff Gladwin and Les Jackson, both took 5 in an innings 11 times with Gladwin’s 8-50 at Chesterfield in 1954 being the best individual analysis, while the most recent instance was 6-93 by Tom Milnes at Derby in 2016.

Mitchell’s 6-25 remains the best innings analysis at Chelmsford, while the most recent at that venue was Wayne White’s 6-113 in 2015.

On 15 occasions Derbyshire’s bowlers have taken ten wickets in the match, with Joe Hulme, Arnold Warren and Les Jackson all performing the feat twice; Dominic Cork was the last to do it, taking 8-53 before lunch on his 20th birthday at Derby in 1991 and ending the match with 10-78. At the time, Cork was the youngest player to take ten wickets in a match for Derbyshire, a record since beaten by Conor McKerr.

In 1949, at Westcliff-on-Sea, three Derbyshire bowlers took five wickets in the match – Bill Copson, Gladwin and Les Jackson; this was only the second time this had happened in the county’s history and it has only happened three times since.

In 1896 Henry Curgenven became the first Derbyshire bowler to take a wicket with his first ball in county cricket, dismissing Essex batsman Frederick Fane. This is a rarity, occurring only four further times in the club’s history.

Derbyshire bowlers have taken two hat tricks against Essex; AEG ‘Dusty’ Rhodes at Colchester in 1948, and Tim Groenewald at Chelmsford in 2014, the last hat trick taken by a Derbyshire bowler.

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