Derbyshire play their first home fixture of the season against Sussex at The Incora County Ground, Heritage Officer David Griffin previews the match and looks at the statistical highlights of the past.
Over the course of the last 25 years these two counties have met 25 times and largely delivered some splendid, attacking cricket, with only five of these matches ending in draw. Derbyshire have had the better of those recent games, winning 12 and losing eight, including consecutive wins in 2019 and 2021.
Overall, there have been 140 scheduled fixtures between the two sides although no play was possible in two of them, both at Chesterfield, in 1932 and 1938.
Derbyshire have recorded 42 wins, Sussex 46, with the remainder all drawn.
This is the 45th game at Derby, although other home games were played at The Ind Coope Ground, Burton-on-Trent (two matches), Buxton (three), Chesterfield (14) and Ilkeston (four).
Abbeydale Park, Sheffield also staged a game – in 1946 – a ground which holds the unique distinction of being the only ground on which Derbyshire have played a first-class match as the home team and as the away team.
Derbyshire’s largest margin of victory came in 1995 when they won by an innings and 379 runs at Derby, while their narrowest winning margin is by just one wicket, at Horsham in 1988 and at Eastbourne in 1994.
Sussex recorded their biggest win by an innings and 274 runs at Hove in 1909, with their narrowest margin of two wickets coming at the same ground in 1934.
Derbyshire’s highest innings total of 603-6 came in that huge innings victory in 1995 when, in one of the most one-sided games in the county’s history, Sussex were dismissed for 111 on the opening day of the season with Devon Malcolm doing most of the damage, taking 6-61.
By the close of the first day, Derbyshire were 262-1 and when they declared, Kim Barnett (164), Chris Adams (111), and Daryll Cullinan (134 on his Derbyshire debut) had taken complete control of the game. A quickfire 84 not out from Dominic Cork left Sussex in tatters before Phillip DeFreitas took 6-35 in the Sussex second innings of only 113.
Fifteen years later, in 2010, Sussex exacted some revenge in making their highest innings total against Derbyshire, a remarkable 576-3 off only 111.4 overs at Horsham; four Sussex batsmen scored centuries and four Derbyshire bowlers conceded more than a hundred runs as the home side won by an innings and 109 runs.
Derbyshire’s lowest completed innings total of 61 all out came in their eight-wicket defeat at Derby in 1907, while Sussex’s lowest total of 45 was in their nine wicket defeat at Hove in 1880.
Thirty-one players have scored 47 centuries for Derbyshire, Kim Barnett (four), scoring the most and Stan Worthington (238*) the highest, at Derby in 1937. The most recent hundred came from Wayne Madsen, his first against Sussex, at Hove at the end of the 2021 season.
Two of the finest modern-day hundreds by Derbyshire batsmen were against Sussex, Bruce Roberts’ 184 at Chesterfield in 1987 and Luis Reece’s 184 at Derby in 2019 when few observers of either innings could recall many better. Both were attacking innings, featuring powerful and stylish pulls, cuts and drives, and the only downside for the spectators was that the innings’ had to end.
Derbyshire’s captain, Billy Godleman has registered two hundreds against Sussex, 122 at Hove in 2018 and 106 at Derby in 2019.
Derbyshire’s record partnership against Sussex is 274 for the first wicket between Reece and Godleman at Derby in 2019.
Harry Storer is the only Derbyshire player to make a century in each innings against Sussex, scoring 119 and 100 at Derby in 1929, while Cullinan is the only player to register a debut hundred against Sussex, in 1995.
Kim Barnett (in 1993), Adrian Rollins (1996) and Luke Sutton (2001) all carried their bat through a completed innings for Derbyshire against Sussex, with Sutton also being the last man out in the second innings of the match at Derby.
There have been 96 instances of Derbyshire bowlers taking five wickets in an innings against Sussex, by 43 different players, Bill Copson leading the way with seven five-fors.
The best innings analysis is the remarkable 9-20 by Fred Swarbrook at Hove in 1975, the fourth best bowling analysis in the county’s history, while the best match analysis came in 2017 when Hardus Viljoen took 15-170 (7-80 and 8-90) in a magnificent display of sustained fast bowling at Hove.
Viljoen’s match analysis stands as the fifth best for the county.
Two bowlers have taken hat-tricks for Derbyshire against Sussex; Henry Evans at Hove in 1881, and AEG ‘Dusty’ Rhodes at Derby in 1951, while the rarer feat of three wickets in four balls was achieved by Les Townsend at Chesterfield in 1928.
Only five Derbyshire bowlers have ever taken a wicket with their first ball in first class cricket, including FC ‘Jim’ Brailsford who dismissed Sussex’s Ted Dexter at Derby in 1958. Brailsford only played three matches, and this was his only wicket.
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