Derbyshire’s third game of the season takes them a short distance across the border to the Uptonsteel County Ground to face Leicestershire.
Heritage Officer David Griffin previews the match and looks at the statistical highlights of the past.
Derbyshire have played Leicestershire 216 times in first class cricket, with only Lancashire (221 games) being their opponents more often and will be looking for a hat-trick of wins at Leicester having prevailed there on the last two visits, in 2019 and 2020.
Derbyshire have won 62 times, there have been ninety draws, including the abandoned game at Chesterfield in 1926, with Leicestershire winning sixty-four times.
The counties first met in 1894 when Derbyshire won by an innings and thirty-six runs at Leicester. George Davidson, who died tragically aged just thirty-two, was Derbyshire’s outstanding all-rounder of the age, and his thirty-seven runs and match figures of 59.3-36-53-7 contributed greatly to the win, with another fine bowler from that era, George Porter taking 9-38 across both innings.
The most recent win at Leicester was behind closed doors in 2020 when Wayne Madsen’s 103, well-supported by half centuries from Luis Reece, Leus du Plooy and Harvey Hosein laid the foundations for Derbyshire’s nine-wicket win. Matt Critchley starred with the ball taking 6-73 in the hosts’ second innings.
The highest innings total for both sides came in the same match, at Derby in 2017 when Leicestershire batted first and made 619 as Derbyshire replied with 533. In stifling hot conditions, on a very dry and dusty pitch, it might have been a match for statisticians, but not for purists.
Derbyshire’s overseas player, Jeevan Mendis, a Sri Lankan leg spinner, took 6-204 in Leicestershire’s first innings thus earning the unwanted distinction of conceding the greatest number of runs by any bowler in an innings in the county’s history. The previous record, Arnold Warren’s 4-200, had stood for 113 years.
Both sides’ lowest all out total is thirty-six; Derbyshire’s coming at Chesterfield in 1905, and Leicestershire’s at Loughborough in 1965.
Derbyshire players have scored more first-class centuries against Leicestershire than against any other county. The tally stands at 111, with Nottinghamshire their second-favoured opponents against whom they have registered eighty-four three figure scores.
Kim Barnett’s 239 not out at Grace Road in 1988 stands as the highest although the best, certainly in modern times, has to be Mohammad Azharuddin’s 212 on the same ground in 1991. Barnett, no slouch with the bat, scored eight runs while the gifted Indian went from 100 to 200.
Barnett scored seven tons against Leicestershire, with Donald Carr and Wayne Madsen having made six apiece, and Stan Worthington and Billy Godleman five.
The most recent hundreds came in the game at Derby in 2021 when Brooke Guest (116) and Anuj Dal (106) made their maiden centuries in adding 227 for the sixth wicket, a record against all-comers.
The highest partnership for any wicket against Leicestershire came at Leicester in 1997 when Adrian Rollins and Barnett added 316 for the third wicket.
One of the most memorable Derbyshire hundreds against Leicestershire came in the match at Leicester in 1922 when Derbyshire were in a spot of trouble on 71-7 in their first innings before Wilfred Carter scored 145, the highest score by a Derbyshire number nine. Only Leonard Oliver, in 1911, Philip DeFreitas (1999) and Jon Clare (2011) have scored hundreds batting at number nine with DeFreitas’ century also coming against Leicestershire.
Barnett is the only player to make a hundred before lunch against Leicestershire – at Leicester in 1997 – while Ben Slater is the only one to score a hundred in each innings, at Derby in 2014 when Derbyshire recorded their record margin of victory by runs, finishing the season in fine style winning by 408 runs.
Derbyshire’s bowlers have taken five Leicestershire wickets in an innings 142 times, Bill Bestwick (18 instances) leading the way, while Les Jackson performed the feat fifteen times with both Tommy Mitchell and Arnold Warren doing it twelve times.
Mitchell recorded the best innings figures taking 10-64 at Leicester in 1935, the second-best innings figures after Bestwick’s 10-40 against Glamorgan in 1921.
On 28 occasions, Derbyshire bowlers have taken ten wickets in a match, Les Jackson’s 13-73 at Derby in 1962 being the best, although Bestwick managed it more than any other bowler, grabbing ten in a match seven times.
Three bowlers have taken hat tricks for the county; Ole Mortensen taking three in three at Derby in 1987, while Kevin Dean (2000) and Tony Palladino (2012) both performed the feat at Leicester.
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