Derbyshire’s final four matches of the County Championship season will be played in Division Three of the restructured competition with the opening game taking place against Middlesex at Lord’s.
Heritage Officer David Griffin previews the match and looks at the statistical highlights of the past.
Although Derbyshire began playing first class cricket in 1871, and Middlesex in 1864, the two counties didn’t meet in a first-class game until 1929. It’s been well-documented that the reason for this arose from Middesex’s refusal to play Derbyshire in the years prior to 1929 when fixtures were arranged by the counties themselves, and they simply would not organise any games with Derbyshire. The hierarchy at Middlesex believed that Derbyshire were a team of ruffians, and it’s true that, over the years, several Derbyshire players lived what could be described as turbulent lifestyles, but it seems strange that between 1876 and 1928, MCC played Derbyshire at Lord’s, while over the same time period Middlesex couldn’t bring themselves to play Derbyshire anywhere.
And not just Middlesex avoided Derbyshire; after 1910 Derbyshire did not meet Kent until 1925, and from 1911 to 1930 they played Surrey twice, in 1924.
However, the forthcoming match will be the 101st scheduled fixture between the two counties, Derbyshire having won 24, Middlesex 35, with 40 draws including the last game of the 2019 season. One match was abandoned without a ball bowled, at Lord’s in 1931.
This will be Derbyshire’s 35th appearance in a first-class match at Lord’s against Middlesex, although they also played there 27 times in games against the MCC.
Derbyshire’s highest innings total against Middlesex came at Derby in 2019 when they amassed 557-6 having been asked to bat first. Luis Reece (96), Billy Godleman (102), Fynn Hudson-Prentice (99), on his Derbyshire debut, Leus du Plooy (118) and Anuj Dal (92) dominated proceedings for a day and a half before Dawid Malan’s 199 ensured a draw was the only likely outcome.
This was only the second instance of Derbyshire players scoring three nineties in the same match, but the first instance of this occurring in the same innings. Needless to say, five scores of 90+ in the same innings is also a Derbyshire record.
Hudson-Prentice also marked his debut with a first-ball wicket, only the fifth player to perform the feat for Derbyshire, and the first since John Wright in 1980.
Middlesex’ highest innings total is 545 at Derby in 1994, Ramprakash, Gatting and Carr making hundreds, although the headlines were reserved for Richard Johnson who took 10-45 in Derbyshire’s second innings.
Derbyshire’s lowest all out total is 60, at Lord’s in 2013, while Middlesex recorded a low of 29, at Chesterfield in 1957 when Derbyshire won by an innings and 22 runs despite scoring just 153 in their only innings. Les Jackson and Cliff Gladwin took 14-52 between them from 56.2 overs.
Derbyshire players have scored 31 first class hundreds against Middlesex, with Michael Di Venuto’s 192 not out at Lord’s in 2002 being the highest. Di Venuto also scored 113 in the second innings of that match. The only other player to record two centuries in a match was Chris Adams, who made 125 and 136 not out in the game at Derby in 1996.
Five current members of the Derbyshire squad have scored centuries against Middlesex, Matt Critchley (1), Billy Godleman (2), Leus du Plooy (2), Wayne Madsen (2) and Luis Reece (1).
Derbyshire batsmen have scored 12 hundreds at Lord’s with Critchley and Godleman both registering tons in the game there in 2018, while Leus du Plooy’s 100 not out at Lord’s in 2019 meant that he became the first Derbyshire player to score hundreds against Middlesex at home and away in the same season.
Godleman’s 105 not out at Lord’s in 2018 was just the third instance of a Derbyshire player carrying his bat through a completed innings against Middlesex; Di Venuto (192 out of 414) at Lord’s in 2002, and Charlie Lee (96 out of 211) at Chesterfield in 1956 making up the trio.
Four Middlesex batsmen have scored double centuries against Derbyshire; Mike Gatting (215 not out at Lord’s in 1991), Denis Compton (214 not out at Lord’s in 1939), Bill Edrich (208 not out at Chesterfield in 1956) and Owais Shah (203 at Southgate in 2001).
There have been nine instances of Derbyshire bowlers taking 10 wickets in a match, with both Les Jackson and Tommy Mitchell performing the feat twice. Mitchell’s 13-113 at Derby in 1934 remains the best match analysis and the most recent is the 10-125 by Kevin Dean at Derby in 2002.
Special mentions go to Cliff Gladwin (11-41 at Chesterfield in 1957) and his long-time bowling partner, Les Jackson (10-56 at Burton-on-Trent in 1960).
There have been 51 instances of bowlers taking five wickets in an innings for Derbyshire – Les Jackson leading the way with eight occurrences and a best of 8-44 at Burton in 1960, which remains the best innings analysis.
The most recent was Tony Palladino’s 5-39 at Derby in 2011, while Liam Wharton was the last to take five wickets at Lord’s, taking 6-62 to spin Derbyshire to a 204-run victory in 2002.
Eddie Gothard took a hat-trick against Middlesex at Derby in 1947 – and somehow persuaded his three victims to be photographed alongside him – while Tom Poynton became the sixth youngest player to appear in a championship game for Derbyshire when he made his debut at Southgate in 2007.
Last 10 results between Derbyshire and Middlesex:
2010 Lord’s Middlesex won by an innings and 35 runs
2010 Derby Drawn
2011 Derby Middlesex won by three wickets
2011 Lord’s Middlesex won by seven wickets
2013 Lord’s Middlesex won by nine wickets
2013 Derby Derbyshire won by 56 runs
2018 Derby Derbyshire won by 101 runs
2018 Lord’s Middlesex won by 117 runs
2019 Derby Drawn
2019 Lord’s Drawn