As cricket followers across the UK will have noticed, it seems as if the game changes with the wind, although change has been part of the domestic game for decades.
As Derbyshire approach the 2022 season with renewed optimism following the appointment of Mickey Arthur as Head Coach, our Heritage Officer, David Griffin, is going to examine five cricket seasons – 1972, 1982, 1992, 2002 and 2012 – over the course of the close season, looking at how the game was structured, where Derbyshire played, how the team performed, the standout individual achievements, and even how much it cost to be a Derbyshire member.
This concluding part examines the 2012 season and a long-awaited taste of silverware under the guidance of Head Coach Karl Krikken.
Having been bottom of the second division in 2010, then fifth out of nine in 2011, very few people outside the dressing room expected a promotion push, never mind winning the title. But, as we shall see, a great start to the season combined with crucial wins at the end saw Derbyshire picking up silverware for the first time since 1993.
Despite the exhortations from the ECB when two divisions were created ahead of the 2000 season that there would be ‘…three-up, three-down…in perpetuity’, that promise had already been broken with just two places up for grabs in the promotion race. The County Championship was sponsored by Liverpool Victoria and known as The London Victoria County Championship.
In one day cricket, the traditional knock-out competition had been consigned to history with the Clydesdale Bank 40-over tournament being the longest format limited overs game available. The 18 counties were joined by Netherlands, Scotland and Unicorns, the latter a side consisting of players who did not have first class contracts.
The 21 sides were split into three random divisions with each winner and the leading second-best side progressing to the semi-finals.
Twenty20 cricket was sponsored by Friends Life and counties played 10 matches in their regionalised groups of six.
The West Indies and South Africa both toured the UK, playing three Test matches apiece against England, as well as ODIs and IT20s. In between these two tours, the Australians played five ODIs in what was a very busy international summer.
Derbyshire met the South Africans in a non-first-class two-day game at Derby while earlier in the year the Australia A team also visited Derby for a first class 3-day match, most notable for a splendid hundred by Tony Palladino.
Championship cricket offered little for those in regular work as all 16 fixtures began on Tuesdays, Wednesdays or Thursdays, although the 40-over competition did offer seven Sunday matches with the other five played during mid-week.
T20 matches were spread across the middle of the summer between mid-June and mid-July with the quarter finals at the end of July.
The daily overs allocation in the County Championship – 110 in 1992 and 104 in 2002 – was now 96. In the space of 20 years, four-day matches had shrunk from a potential 440 overs to 384 overs.
Chesterfield had thankfully returned to the fold in 2006 and would host a four-day match against Yorkshire as well as two CB40 matches, one against Yorkshire and the other against Unicorns.
Derby hosted the remainder of the home cricket and in general Derbyshire’s away games were at headquarters grounds with two exceptions.
A rain-affected CB40 game took place at Horsham where Sussex were the hosts, and – despite bone-numbing cold – the away fixture against Unicorns took place at the delightful Wormsley ground, created by Sir Paul Getty. That match was graced by two fine centuries from Martin Guptill and Wes Durston, plus a five-wicket haul for Chesney Hughes.
Developments at Derby since 2002 had combined the permanent and the semi-permanent. The Gateway was constructed in 2003/4 and opened in late 2004. Using a combination of Sport England funding with a significantly larger chunk of money from the government’s New Deal for Communities, over £4.5 million was spent on creating a building designed to provide 21st century cricketing facilities alongside commercial-use rooms expected to increase income. The site of the former Grandstand Hotel was now occupied by a modern building, although the architectural merits of it continue to be debated to this day.
Floodlights appeared at a cost of £217,000 in 2004 with a marquee – designed to be for summer-use only – and a temporary 1,804 seat stand erected at the Racecourse End of the ground.
However, despite these significant changes, the rotation of the cricket square was arguably the biggest of them all. Unless spectators had watched cricket at Derby before 1964, then they would only have seen cricket played on an east-west axis. Sun stopping play in floodlit games had energised the committee to bring about the changes and at the start of the 2010 season, cricket returned to its rightful north-south axis.
Membership across the county game had taken a tumble during the first decade of the new century; a result of many changes in the leisure activities of large swathes of the population, but also because cricket – especially the four-day game – was not as accessible as it had once been. No scheduled starts on Fridays, Saturdays or Sundays left the County Championship consigned to the middle of the week and therefore only available for the retired, or absolute diehards, willing and able to take time off work.
Derbyshire’s membership was now just 1,200, a far cry from almost 4,000 a generation earlier, even if crowds for the CB40 and T20 matches were largely good.
Membership prices for Full Members had broken through the three-figure barrier with tickets now costing £120 and a season car parking pass £60.
The 21st century has brought more changes in playing personnel than at any other period in the club’s history. In the first 21 years of the century, 186 players have made their debut, more than 25% of all Derbyshire cricketers. For comparison, during the last 21 years of the 20th century, Derbyshire only fielded 88 new players.
By the time 2012 came around a lengthy list of fine Derbyshire cricketers had left in the preceding decade; Dominic Cork, Kevin Dean, Karl Krikken, Luke Sutton, Steve Stubbings, Michael Di Venuto, Chris Rogers, Tom Lungley, Graeme Welch, Hassan Adnan, Ant Botha, James Pipe, Steffan Jones, Graham Wagg, Greg Smith, Simon Katich, Ian Harvey, Rikki Clarke, Charl Langeveldt and Wavell Hinds had all gone (or arrived and gone in some cases), and a rebuilding job had been carried out, principally under the guidance of John Morris, Head of Cricket between August 2007 and May 2011.
Morris’ recruitment was exceptional; name the best players in Derbyshire’s recent past, and he was responsible for the arrival of most of them – Wayne Madsen, Jon Clare, Tim Groenewald, Chesney Hughes, Mark Footitt, Wes Durston, Tony Palladino, Usman Khawaja and Martin Guptill – all were recruited and given debuts by Morris, who also promoted from within the Academy in the shape of Tom Poynton, Ross Whiteley, Dan Redfern, Paul Borrington and Alex Hughes.
Madsen took over the captaincy from the departed Sutton while Poynton would replace Sutton behind the wicket.
Keith Loring was Chief Executive, to be replaced by Simon Storey later in the year, and Chris Grant was Chairman of Committee. Neil Godrich was still Head Groundsman, while Derek Morgan, one of the county’s greatest cricketers, held the position of President.
John M Brown remained as Scorer.
In 2010 Derbyshire finished bottom of the second division and very early in 2011 sought a change of direction as Karl Krikken was promoted from the Academy to replace John Morris who had been at the helm since August 2007.
The summer of 2011 was one of consolidation and improvement as Krikken gave more game time to Dan Redfern (13 matches out of 16) and Ross Whiteley (11) both of whom had prospered under the tutelage of Krikken in the Academy and were part of a wider group of locally-produced young players who emerged around this time, including Borrington, Tom Knight, Matt Lineker and Poynton.
A final placing of 5th in 2011 was a welcome improvement, and it was with confidence, but no great expectation outside of the squad, that the side began the 2012 season in miserable conditions against Northamptonshire at Derby.
The game was won by Derbyshire, but without the floodlights which were on for much of the four days, the match would never have reached a positive conclusion.
With Madsen leading the side and Poynton behind the wicket, Martin Guptill, a tall and powerful New Zealander had arrived to open the batting and David Wainwright – a slow left armer recruited during the close season from Yorkshire – would prove his worth from the outset.
Borrington opened the batting with Guptill, as Madsen and Durston followed, with Redfern and Whiteley at five and six. Experience, youth, power, stroke makers – the top six looked to have a good blend, but at 21-3 and 50-4 on the first morning, things didn’t start too well.
Redfern and Whiteley, the former with his maiden first class hundred (110) added 160 for the 5th wicket as Derbyshire reached 280 from 80.3 overs.
Northamptonshire almost reached parity – 264 all out – on first innings as they too recovered from a dodgy start (16-3), with Palladino claiming 3-60.
Derbyshire’s openers then changed the course of the game as Guptill smashed 137 and Borrington 98 in adding 224 for the first wicket allowing Madsen to declare on 314-3 from only 88 overs.
This would remain Borrington’s highest score for Derbyshire and few present would have begrudged him the two extra runs as he left the field.
Northamptonshire were left to negotiate a handful of overs before lunch as they set off in pursuit of 335 to win in around 75 overs but quickly lost Peters, lbw to Footitt and Coetzer caught at slip off Palladino.
After lunch, Wainwright and Durston were used almost constantly as the light faded, and the two spinners attempted to coax some turn out of a greenish April pitch.
Rob Newton made 58, but the visitors never threatened their target, allowing Madsen to attack with fielders around the bat.
Wainwright – 6-33 from 26 immaculate overs was the match-winner, his debut first class figures only bettered by Dove Gregory’s 6-9 in Derbyshire’s first ever match against Lancashire at Old Trafford in 1871, but there were only a handful of overs remaining as Durston bowled Daggett to secure a huge 202 runs victory and send Derbyshire’s players running around the outfield as if they had won the championship.
That win brought Derbyshire 20 points and a position at the top of the table, and another win in even more desperate conditions at Cardiff would cement their position at the summit.
Jon Clare came into the side for Groenewald and had the match of his life, although after Derbyshire had been dismissed for 130 in their first innings – former Derbyshire favourite Graham Wagg doing most of the damage with 6-44 – not many observers gave Derbyshire much hope.
By the close of Day 1, however, Glamorgan were 34-4 and subsided to 95 all out before lunch on the following morning. Five of the wickets were clean bowled, 3 were lbw, with one caught at slip and the other caught and bowled. The pitch was green, and the bowlers prospered.
Clare, bowling first change after Palladino and Footitt had taken the new ball, returned figures of 8-4-17-5 as Derbyshire took an unlikely lead of 35 into the second half of the game.
Derbyshire’s second innings got off to an awful start – they were 37-5 in no time, Henriques doing the damage – but Whiteley (39), Wainwright (51 not out) and Clare (43) took their side to a respectable total. Wainwright, having impressed with the ball in the opening game, batted for seven minutes short of four hours in gloomy conditions to make a maiden fifty for his new county.
Glamorgan’s target of 233 was never likely to be threatened although nobody had told their openers, Rees and Walters, as they set off at a canter, adding 59 for the first wicket in under 16 overs.
However, Clare, again bowling first change, trapped Rees leg before and bowled Walters and removed six of the top eight batsmen as the hosts were dismissed for 102 in 31.3 overs.
Clare ended with 6-40 off 12.3 overs to give him superlative match figures of 11-57. It was the first time a Derbyshire bowler had taken 11 wickets in a match since Paul Aldred (13-184) against Lancashire at Derby in 1999.
Admittedly on a helpful pitch, it was an outstanding effort from Clare, who produced one of the great all-round match performances for the county.
One other statistic emerged from this game – there were 16 dismissals adjudged LBW – the most ever in a match involving Derbyshire.
Played two, won two, and Derbyshire consolidated their position atop the table with three drawn games; a rain-affected match against Leicestershire at Derby, a high-scoring affair against Gloucester also at Derby, and another run-fest against Hampshire at Southampton.
In a damp summer, these latter two games at least gave Derbyshire’s batsmen an opportunity to spend some time at the crease; Madsen scored 101 against Gloucestershire with Durston and Redfern both making fifties, but as Gloucestershire amassed 409-4 declared in their second innings, Derbyshire used 10 bowlers with just ‘keeper Poynton not given a go.
The game at Southampton again saw Redfern make a century (133) and he and Durston (121) added 178 for the fourth wicket after Derbyshire had been in a tricky spot on 37-3.
A home win against Glamorgan – Guptill and Madsen both scoring hundreds in a comfortable 8 wicket win, with Wainwright claiming another five-wicket haul – saw them maintain their lead at the head of the table, and the following game, an almost perfect performance, made their position – seemingly – unassailable.
It was 23rd May when Derbyshire took on Essex at Chelmsford, in glorious conditions, and on a ground where their last first-class victory had come in May 1937. This was not a happy hunting ground.
James Foster won the toss and decided to bat, a decision he probably later regretted as his side were bowled out for 182 shortly after tea. Pettini made 56, but it was the bowlers who again impressed, Wainwright taking 5-51 as Palladino, Groenewald, Clare and Whiteley kept things quiet at the other end.
Clearly, the weight of history didn’t affect the Derbyshire batsmen as they made 323 in 88.5 overs, Durston scoring a splendid 116 with support from Madsen (50) and Poynton (50 not out). The young wicketkeeper batted in enterprising fashion making his 50 from only 35 balls with seven fours and two sixes.
The deficit was 141 and Groenewald soon made things worse for Essex as he reduced them to 3-2 in the evening session on day two.
The third morning saw some outstanding batting from James Foster (96) and Owais Shah (75), but with 7 Essex batsmen recording single figure scores, Derbyshire were left with a victory total of 94 and the only question in the minds of spectators – and presumably the players – was, could this game be finished off inside three days?
Enter Guptill and Borrington. With sensible batting from Borrington and aggressive stroke play from Guptill, Derbyshire eased to victory with 96 runs coming from only 18 overs in slightly over one hour. Guptill struck seven fours and three sixes in his 52-ball unbeaten 66, and Derbyshire consigned their terrible run at Chelmsford to the dustbin, as they triumphed by 10 wickets inside three days.
As players and supporters moved on to Bristol for the game against Gloucestershire which would signal the halfway mark in the campaign, there was growing confidence around the club that this was their year.
Batting first after winning the toss saw Derbyshire dismissed for 95 and as the hosts built a first innings lead of 199 runs, it was clear that the bubble was about to burst.
Derbyshire’s second innings saw an improvement as Madsen (72), Redfern (77) and Clare (43 not out) hinted at a recovery, but the damage had been done in the first innings and Gloucestershire reached their victory total of 85 in a little over 21 overs to record a seven-wicket win.
It was, therefore, a chastened Derbyshire side which arrived at Grace Road for a third successive game on the road, but, knowing that the T20 tournament was about to start, and therefore a break would ensue in the championship, they were still top of the table with much to be positive about.
Rain, unfortunately, was the winner in this game, although Derbyshire could claim the honours, bowling the home side out for 177 in 70.4 overs, as Groenewald took 5-29 and Palladino 3-58, including a magnificent hat trick. It was the first Derbyshire hat trick in a first-class game since Kevin Dean had performed the feat 12 years earlier at the same ground.
Derbyshire, with Redfern making a stylish, unbeaten 81, scored freely, but had to be content with 259-4 with no play at all on the final day.
As Derbyshire entered the business end of the season, it was clear that their main rivals for both promotion and the title were Yorkshire.
Thus, it was a typically large and noisy crowd which gathered at Queen’s Park, Chesterfield in mid-July for the first of two games between the sides. Yorkshire batted first after winning the toss and Derbyshire were happy with a total of 219 all out, Groenewald, Mark Turner and Durston all claiming three wickets.
The game had moved on by the end of the first day as Derbyshire – with Richard Johnson making his debut behind the wicket – were 135-7, Matt Lineker top-scoring with 33. However, constant and heavy rain meant that there was no further play in the match and both sides had to settle for six points apiece.
Although there were still six games to play, many observers – including this one – and players, considered the two-wicket win over Kent at Derby in the next game, to be the season-defining win.
It was a great and close game; attritional, with some fine batting and bowling, and one which seemed to ebb and flow right up until the final, winning runs were struck.
Derbyshire elected to field and dismissed Kent for 265 early on the second day after the first had been truncated by rain and bad light.
Five bowlers shared the wickets, but the batsmen then failed to capitalise as Derbyshire were bowled out for 132 before tea on the second day.
Charlie Shreck took the honours for Kent, taking 5-41, with six Derbyshire batsmen failing to reach double figures.
When Kent batted a second time, Rob Key, with a masterful 81 – and the ninth man out – was the sole batsman to impose himself on the Derbyshire bowlers with Palladino recording career-best figures of 7-53 off 23.5 overs. Bowling almost unchanged, he took wickets at important times and ensured that his side were still in the game.
Nonetheless, a fourth innings chase of 295 appeared to be at least 50 too many. Only 7 times in the club’s history had they successfully chased a fourth innings total of more than 295.
Derbyshire began well, however, as Madsen (30) and Lineker (45) put on 83 for the first wicket and Usman Khawaja – the Australian left-hander who had replaced Guptill as the overseas player – was still at the wicket alongside Durston when play ended on the third day with the home side on a very promising 168-2.
The final day dawned with a good crowd and Derbyshire needing 127 runs with 8 wickets in hand.
Shreck took four more wickets to add to his five in the first innings and England off-spinner James Tredwell was expected to pose the main threat on the final morning. Khawaja fell to Shreck for 56 and Durston for 55 to the same bowler and when Johnson and Wainwright fell cheaply, Derbyshire were 215-6, still 80 short of their target.
Redfern, playing arguably his finest innings – if not his highest – for Derbyshire, made a superb, unbeaten half century, and it was his partnership with Groenewald (20 not out) for the ninth wicket which saw them home. Every run was cheered by the partisan crowd as Derbyshire inched towards the winning post, and from the reaction of the crowd, it was clear that everyone present saw this as a critical result for Derbyshire.
Next came another rain-affected draw at Headingley in which Derbyshire were required to follow-on but Usman Khawaja’s unbeaten 110 in over four hours saved the day for Derbyshire, before they headed to Northampton with four games remaining.
The home side chose to bat first and made 400 in 123 overs, with Rob Newton making the first of two centuries in the match. Palladino took 5-82 off 30 overs and Wainwright took another three, before several rain breaks took the players to and from the field. Derbyshire never really got into the game as wickets fell steadily, ending the second day on 163-5 with Madsen unbeaten on 37.
When the close of the next day’s play arrived, Madsen was still unbeaten – on 223 – as Derbyshire made a magnificent recovery and Tom Poynton registered his maiden first class hundred.
Having been in real danger of defeat, the eventual ninth wicket partnership of 261, took Derbyshire to safety and with an outside chance of winning.
That 261-run partnership is still the third-highest anywhere in the world, but only the second-highest for Derbyshire; Warren and Chapman holding the world record of 283 set in 1910 against Warwickshire at Blackwell.
Madsen finished with an undefeated 231 and batted for over eight hours, facing 400 balls, hitting 31 fours. It remains his highest score in first class cricket.
Northamptonshire were faced with a deficit of 169 and Derbyshire sensed victory as the home side stumbled to 37-4 with Palladino, Groenewald and Wainwright all taking wickets, but Newton’s second hundred of the game, and Sales’ half century ensured their side drew the game.
This was another defining game as defeat might have seen Derbyshire struggle to raise themselves for the run-in, but a high-scoring draw was acceptable after the first two days play had been dominated by their opponents.
A draw at Derby against Essex in another rain-affected game wasn’t the worse result for Derbyshire; Essex had the better of the match and set the home side 316 to win. Again, as at Northampton, the top order had failed, and Derbyshire were 210-7 in their first innings before fifties from Poynton and Whiteley helped them to reach a respectable total.
Chasing more than 300 successfully was never realistic and Derbyshire were glad of more rain when the game ended with the home team over a hundred runs short of their target with only three wickets in hand.
A heavy defeat by 222 runs at Canterbury in the penultimate match was a huge setback for Derbyshire. They were 65 runs behind after two innings, before Sam Northeast batted Derbyshire out of the game with a fine 165 leaving the visitors with an unlikely victory total of 404.
There were to be no heroics to match the corresponding game at Derby as only Khawaja passed fifty and Derbyshire returned to headquarters knowing that they probably had to win to earn promotion.
The first division title had been decided a week earlier so the Sky television cameras were at Derby as Derbyshire welcomed Hampshire for the final game of the season.
Madsen asked Hampshire to bat and most observers thought their total of 272 in 75.4 overs was a par score. Palladino and Wainwright both took 3 wickets, but everyone knew that Derbyshire’s hopes probably rested on how well, or otherwise, they batted in their first innings.
They began nervously, 14-2 off 8 overs, but Khawaja and Palladino, the latter as night-watchman, both passed fifty adding 88 for the fourth wicket. Whiteley made 57 not out batting at number seven as Derbyshire ended with a modest three-run lead.
Thus, began what was essentially a one-innings game after lunch on the third day.
Derbyshire used six bowlers, all of whom took wickets, and Hampshire’s wickets fell regularly with only Shafayat (81) making more than 26.
A victory target of 196 on a good pitch, at home, with a crowd which grew to almost 3,000 on the final day, was as much as Derbyshire could hope for. A win would seal promotion, and the title.
However, Derbyshire knew at the close of Day 3 that they had earned promotion as a result of what was happening elsewhere in the other games, but the title was what everyone wanted.
Derbyshire’s run chase began shortly before lunch with Madsen and Borrington making steady progress before both fell with the score on 45. Nerves jangled but Khawaja did what all good overseas players do and batted for almost two hours in making 72 not out to ensure that victory was secured.
Durston and Redfern came and went, but Whiteley arrived clearly intent on having fun. With Khawaja secure at the other end, he scored 38 not out including five sixes, the final one of which was deposited onto the Grandstand Terrace to take Derbyshire to victory by six wickets.
Spectators ran onto the outfield, Sky cameras followed them, and joyous celebrations took place in front of the Pavilion as – roundly booed by some Derbyshire supporters – the Chairman of Nottinghamshire handed the trophy to captain Wayne Madsen.
That was the cue for champagne, singing, photographs and a party which continued well into the evening.
Sky Sports loved it, and Mike Atherton, who had once proclaimed in an article for The Times; “What do Derbyshire exist for” praised the set-up at Derbyshire, highlighting the use of locally-produced players in the title-winning side.
Derbyshire took the title with 194 points, the lowest tally of any side winning the second division, although Yorkshire also managed 194 points. First place was secured on the basis of having won six matches, with Yorkshire winning just five.
Interestingly, the first division was won by Warwickshire who also won 6 games – in fact, Derbyshire and Warwickshire were the only two counties to win six games in that damp summer.
The performances in white ball cricket were largely forgotten amidst the joy of gaining promotion; four wins out of 12 in the CB40 competition and just two wins from ten in the T20 tournament were nothing to write home about, but for all concerned, the focus had been on the championship, and rightly so after the excellent start to the summer.
In a damp season no player reached 1,000 runs, but Madsen (885), Durston (801) and Redfern (792) were the mainstays of the batting, while the combined tally from Guptill and Khawaja of 1,009 runs at an average of 45.86 was more than acceptable. The two overseas players registered three hundreds and 6 fifties and made runs at crucial times.
Poynton kept – and batted – well in his 14 games, with 43 dismissals, and Durston, Madsen, Redfern and Wainwright were all ever-present during the campaign.
The leading wicket-taker was Palladino with 56 at 24.14, while his opening partner, Groenewald took 42 at under 26.
Clare, who was injured towards the end of the season took 30 at just 21.40 and Wainwright took 44 at 31.36, while Durston (22) and Whiteley (20) took important wickets.
County Champions: Warwickshire
County Champions Division Two: Derbyshire
CB40 Winners: Warwickshire (Derbyshire: Group Stage)
T20 Friends Life: Hampshire (Derbyshire: Group Stage)
On reflection, the 2012 success, much like 1981 when the team won the Nat West Trophy or 1993 when they won the Benson and Hedges Cup, seemed like it could be the precursor to greater things. The judicious recruitment of players like Durston, Groenewald, Madsen, Palladino and Wainwright had been successful, and the young guns had proved their worth.
The two overseas players did all that was asked of them, and the future looked rosy.
However, as with 1981 and 1993, for a variety of reasons, the side didn’t kick-on, and over the course of the next decade it remained a challenge for Derbyshire to compete and, critically, to retain players.
Nonetheless, as Derbyshire’s players find themselves just days away from the 2022 season, at least two of them – Wayne Madsen and Alex Hughes – will be able to remind their colleagues that with a new Head Coach at the helm, a good start to the summer, and a fit, well-balanced squad, closely aligned to a desire to compete and to win, anything is possible.
2022 Membership – One Club, Our County
2022 Membership is on sale now, with supporters able to attend a full season of Derbyshire home cricket for the first time since 2019, along with a host of other great benefits.