Alan Hill confirmed as Club President

Wednesday 29th March 2023

Derbyshire County Cricket Club is delighted to announce that their new President is former opener Alan Hill, the appointment coming at the Annual General Meeting which took place on Wednesday 29 March.

Heritage Officer David Griffin pays tribute to Alan while examining his lengthy association with the club.

Few cricketers have played for Derbyshire, captained Derbyshire, won a trophy with the first team, captained the second team to a title, been employed as firstly Acting Commercial Manager and subsequently Chief Executive, and served as President. Indeed, nobody ever has, until now.

Alan Hill will therefore be a universally popular choice to serve as the county’s 34th president. He is the 16th former Derbyshire cricketer to hold the post and played alongside five colleagues who have also served in this role, Kim Barnett, Michael Holding, Geoff Miller, Bob Taylor and John Wright.

He made his debut for Derbyshire in 1972 and over the ensuing 15 years became a largely permanent fixture in the first eleven.

In statistical terms, he sits right up alongside the very best to have appeared for the county; he played 407 all formats matches, only 12 players have played more, and his overall runs tally of 15,540 puts him in eighth position.

He made 21 hundreds and 79 fifties for the club with his tally of 100 scores of 50 or more placing him tenth on the all-time list, and for a time, his partnership of 286 with Iain Anderson against Cornwall in 1986 was a one day world record.

He featured in 63 century partnerships – only five players have taken part in more – although one of the most outstanding was  the 132 runs added for the 10th wicket with Martin Jean-Jacques against Yorkshire at Sheffield in 1986. It remains the record for that wicket for Derbyshire.

Hill, as with so many others, benefited significantly from the arrival of Eddie Barlow in 1976, a year in which he scored over 1,500 all formats runs although his best summer came in his final year, 1986, when he totalled 2,113 runs in all first team cricket. A measure of that swansong season’s performance is that over the course of the previous 25 years only Barnett, Peter Kirsten and Wright had reached the 2,000 runs mark.

He was on the losing side when Derbyshire were defeated by Kent in the Benson and Hedges Cup Final in 1978 but had scored heavily at the top of the order en route to Lord’s and was an ever-present member of the side which won the NatWest Trophy on the same ground in 1981, taking a remarkable catch in the deep that featured repeatedly on BBC television credits for many years. That memorable September day is etched in the memory of those thousands who attended the game, and the countless others who watched on television as Derbyshire secured their first trophy since winning the county championship 45 years earlier.

Hill was one of just three players of the eleven who appeared in the final who didn’t go on to play Test cricket – Paul Newman and Colin Tunnicliffe were the others – such was the quality of the side.

When his first class playing career ended it seemed wholly logical for him to step into the captain and coach role with the second team and dividends were reaped in his first year at the helm as Derbyshire won the Bain Dawes Trophy.

In 1993, major conflict and disagreements off the field led to the departures or resignations of the Chairman, Chief Executive, Finance Officer and others, and Hill was seen as a secure and trusted pair of hands to carry the administration of the club through the choppy waters of that year. And overseeing many of his former colleagues and charges as they won the Benson and Hedges Cup was a perfect reward for his commitment to the county.

Batting at the top of the order was especially challenging throughout Hill’s career with virtually every world class fast bowler plying their trade in the county championship. As such, his ability to play the new ball in the face of pace and hostility from bowlers like Andy Roberts, Joel Garner, Wayne Daniel, Mike Procter, Imran Khan, Garth Le Roux, Malcolm Marshall, Richard Hadlee and Clive Rice was invaluable to Derbyshire, and his lengthy career highlights just how successfully he met that challenge.

Alan Hill was surely made from the same mould as that which has delivered a long line of outstanding Derbyshire cricketers; courageous and uncompromising in the face of the fastest bowling, a perfect team player, and a skilled performer with reliable hands in the field.

Unfailingly polite and accessible in his playing days, Alan has remained so in retirement, often seen at Derbyshire matches, home and away, and always happy to chat with spectators about the game on the boundary edge.

His elevation to president of Derbyshire County Cricket Club is richly deserved.

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