Heritage Insight: Derbyshire's history in one-day cricket

Saturday 30th July 2022
& News

Derbyshire precede their 2022 Royal London campaign with a friendly 50-over fixture against Shropshire at Shifnal. Having played more than one thousand one day matches since the first against Hampshire at Bournemouth in 1963, Derbyshire has a rich history in this form of the game; Heritage Officer David Griffin takes a nostalgic and statistical look back over the past sixty years.

Understandably, following the end of World War II, attendances swelled at county cricket matches as spectators were offered the opportunity to once more see their local heroes in action. But as the 1950s gave way to the 1960s, there was a belief that a shorter format of the game would attract a fresh audience and at the same time offer current county followers a new take on the game.

The Gillette Cup was introduced in 1963 and matches were played in a single day with 65 overs per side. The traditional lunch and tea intervals were included, as well as a ten minute break between innings.

This meant 130 overs had to bowled, with an additional 70 minutes for breaks, as games began at 11am and were scheduled to end by 7pm. To modern players and spectators, this would seem a virtual impossibility, and indeed one year later 60 overs became the norm, although it was only in 1999 that the longest one day format was reduced to 50 overs which is now standard across the world.

One day cricket is known by the nomenclature ‘List A’ to differentiate it from first class cricket (red ball matches played over multiple days) and Twenty20, and to date Derbyshire have played 1016 List A games, winning 414, losing 492, with nine tied matches, 49 no result games and 52 abandoned.

An abandoned match is one in which no play takes place; a no result game is one in which play begins but insufficient cricket takes place to produce a definite result. All statistics from no result matches count towards player records.

The Gillette Cup was introduced in 1963 and underwent an assortment of changes both in name and length of the game and was a straight knockout competition with a Lord’s final in September and included matches against minor counties.

In 1969 the Players County League began with all matches played on a Sunday. Matches were restricted to 40 overs per side with bowlers run-ups limited to 15 yards ensuring matches began at 2pm and ended before half past six. It was perfect Sunday afternoon entertainment and was hugely popular, attracting capacity crowds at many venues.

In 1972 the Benson and Hedges Cup saw early season group matches – five teams per group which often included Scotland, Combined Universities and Minor Counties North and South sides – followed by quarter finals and a subsequent mid-season Lord’s final.

All of these competitions saw their playing conditions amended over the years, and following the introduction of Twenty20 cricket in 2003, the amount of one day cricket played began to fall until in 2014 the number of games was reduced to eight in the group stages of what is now a 50-over competition sponsored by Royal London. In their most successful seasons in the 1980s and 1990s, Derbyshire played 25 one day matches.

Some of the most memorable moments in the club’s history have been in one day cricket, with three tournament wins; the NatWest Trophy in 1981, the Refuge Assurance Sunday League in 1990, and the Benson and Hedges Cup in 1993.

Derbyshire have also featured in several losing finals, at Lord’s in the Gillette Cup in 1969, the Benson and Hedges Cup in 1978 and 1988, and the NatWest Trophy in 1998. In 1990 they also lost in the final of the Refuge Assurance Cup at Edgbaston.

One of the virtues of one day cricket, particularly in the 20th century, was the prevalence of outgrounds on the fixtures list. With minor counties often hosting first class sides in the first round of the Gillette Cup / NatWest Trophy, Derbyshire’s players and supporters travelled to a host of unlikely venues ranging from Aberdeen, Forfar and Glasgow in Scotland to Kendal in the north west, Jesmond in the north east, and across England and Wales from Ebbw Vale to Darley Dale, from Bury St Edmunds to Wellington, from Bishop’s Stortford to Exmouth, and from Luton to Wisbech. Trips to the Netherlands also saw Derbyshire play at Schiedam and Deventer.

These were hugely anticipated matches, especially from the perspective of the home sides for whom these games were often the biggest in their history.

Thirty one Derbyshire players appeared in more than 100 one day matches, with Kim Barnett (415) leading the way with Bob Taylor in second place (298). Barnett unsurprisingly tops the leading runs list with an astonishing 12,358 with Chris Adams (5,179) in a distant second place.

Barnett also captained the one day side more than anyone else – 266 matches, way ahead of Dominic Cork (82) in second place.

The leading wicket takers include three Test cricketers in the top five, although topping the list with 246 wickets is Allan Warner. Dominic Cork (234), Mike Hendrick (222), Ole Mortensen (219) and Geoff Miller (200) are the other bowlers to have taken 200 or more one day wickets.

Taylor leads the way with catches (311) with Karl Krikken (196) in second place and Barnett the front-runner among the outfield catchers with 145. Taylor also tops the list of most stumpings with 69.

Barnett again dominates the leading century makers list with 13 plus 74 fifties, with Chris Adams (10) and Michael Di Venuto (8) just behind. Current players Billy Godleman (7) and Wayne Madsen (6) are fourth and fifth on the list, respectively.

Di Venuto made the highest score – 173 not out – against the Derbyshire Cricket Board in 2000, although Ben Slater (148) made the highest score against another county, Northamptonshire in 2016. The fastest hundred came off just 55 balls in 2021 when Tom Wood made a magnificent 109 against Nottinghamshire at Derby.

Three players carried their bat through a completed innings, David Smith against Kent at Chesterfield in 1969, Barnett against Glamorgan at Newport in 1988 and Peter Bowler against Surrey at Ilkeston in 1993.

Adams holds the record for the most sixes in an individual innings, striking ten in a magnificent 141 against Kent at Chesterfield in 1992 and two years later Mohammad Azharuddin hit eight sixes in his 111 against Northamptonshire at Northampton.

The leading partnership – and at the time a world record – is 286 between Alan Hill and Iain Anderson against Cornwall at Derby in 1986 although the best against a first class county remains the 232 added by Barnett and John Morris against Somerset at Taunton in 1990.

On three occasions Derbyshire players have scored 1,000 or more one day runs in a single season with Dean Jones leading the way on 1,151 at an average of 67.70 in 1996. Barnett (1990) and Bowler (1993) are the others to pass the thousand run mark.

Billy Godleman, however, has a remarkable one day record for Derbyshire, scoring in excess of 500 runs per season in both 2018 and 2019 despite batting only eight times in each year.

Four wickets in an innings have been achieved a total of 179 times by Derbyshire bowlers, Dominic Cork and Mike Hendrick topping the list with 11 apiece, while five wickets in an innings has occurred just 47 times with Cork against the leader with four instances. Michael Holding, however, holds the record for the best analysis, taking 8-21 against Sussex at Hove in 1988. At the time a world record, it remains the best one day analysis in the UK.

Three players have taken hat tricks, Alan Ward taking four wickets in four balls against Sussex at Derby in 1970, while Colin Tunnicliffe took a hat trick against Worcestershire at Derby in 1979 and Martin Jean-Jacques performed the feat against Nottinghamshire at Derby in 1987.

Eddie Barlow took the most wickets in a season for the county – 44 in 1978 – while Taylor’s 34 dismissals behind the stumps in 1975 is the record for a gloveman, helped by the seven dismissals he made in a single match against Lancashire at Old Trafford.

The record for most catches in a match by an outfielder is held by Ashley Harvey-Walker who took four against Sussex at Hove in 1971.

For many county cricketers, the highlight of their career was a Lord’s final and in reaching six of them, 49 players had the privilege of representing Derbyshire at the Home of Cricket.

Barnett played in four, winning twice, while Taylor played in three, winning once. Peter Kirsten’s 104 runs are the most scored in Lord’s finals for the county with Warner’s four wickets topping the bowler’s list.

Some of the biggest changes witnessed in the game have come about in one day cricket. Red balls and white clothing were the order of the day for three decades until in 1993 – in the Sunday League only – coloured clothing was introduced. In that same summer when Derbyshire won the Benson and Hedges Cup, however, teams still played in whites with a red ball.

It wasn’t until 1999 that all one day cricket was played in coloured clothing with names and numbers on the shirt backs.

Derbyshire have produced a new kit for the Royal London competition in 2022 and it harks back in design to the 1993 shirt which included – or as near as could be produced – the original club colours.

Since the formation in 1870 the club colours have been chocolate, Cambridge Blue and pale yellow (or amber). Incidentally, the club badge or crest, the golden Tudor rose and St Edward’s crown, had been used as an emblem of Derbyshire since the 15th century, not long after Henry VII married Elizabeth of York and adopted the Tudor rose badge combining the white rose of York and the red rose of Lancaster. The rose is coloured gold to symbolise quality and differentiate it from the emblems of Yorkshire and Lancashire.

The forthcoming fixture against Shropshire at Shifnal will, sadly, not be considered a List A fixture, and thus none of the statistics from the game will count towards player records. One match – indeed the only previous game – between these two sides was an official fixture, staged at Chesterfield in the NatWest Trophy in 1990. Derbyshire won by seven wickets, and that, in any other context, would be the end of the matter.

However, a truly unusual occurrence took place before the start of the game. With the match due to begin at 10.45am, there was a sense that all was not well shortly after 10am as umpires, captains and Derbyshire staff became engaged in earnest conversation in and around the pavilion.

Not long afterwards all became apparent – there were no new balls available for the game.

Derbyshire’s Chief Executive Bob Lark left the ground and raced towards Derby, meeting up with another member of staff at Alfreton where a box of brand new balls were handed over. The match duly began at 11.15am.

Derbyshire, not slow to capitalise on the absurdity of the occasion, commissioned T-shirts with the details of the fixture plastered on the front with a tag line beneath which read; “The day Derbyshire had no balls.” It sold out.

Alongside the statistics, one day cricket – like all cricket – has provided some wonderful memories for so many followers across almost six decades.

From that first Lord’s final against Yorkshire in 1969, to Barlow’s 1978 side which won 13 out of 15 consecutive matches (of the other two, one was rained off, the other lost by 2 wickets), to the legendary NatWest Trophy winning side of 1981, the heroes of the Sunday League title winners in 1990 including the remarkable Adrian Kuiper, the  thrilling 1993 Benson and Hedges Cup final of 1993 when Dominic Cork announced himself as a match-winning all-rounder, to the destruction of Surrey in a Cheltenham and Gloucester quarter final at Derby in 2003, and Billy Godleman’s unrivalled three consecutive hundreds in a single week, these are the memories which will live in the hearts and minds of many Derbyshire supporters.

One-day cricket is back in the height of summer!

Derbyshire compete in enthralling 50-over cricket this August, including the visit of Yorkshire to Queen’s Park. Find out more and book tickets for all home matches now.

Buy Tickets
Principal Partner & Ground Sponsor
Official Partners