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Heritage Insight: 1993 Benson & Hedges Cup win - Part One

Saturday 4th March 2023
& News
Photography by: Archive, Written by David Griffin

This year marks the 30th anniversary of Derbyshire’s Benson and Hedges Cup win over Lancashire at Lord’s.

To commemorate Derbyshire’s last win in a Lord’s final, Heritage Officer David Griffin introduces the background to that 1993 season, and over the course of the coming weeks will be writing a series of articles for the club website detailing each game in the competition.

Reflecting on the period from 1978 to 1998 it can now be seen as a golden age for Derbyshire cricket.

Massive improvements in the late 1970s culminated in the Nat West Trophy win in 1981 which sadly heralded the break-up of that fine side; Mike Hendrick left immediately, as did David Steele, while Peter Kirsten and Barry Wood only had one further full season ahead of them with Derbyshire. John Wright and Michael Holding were forced to share the overseas berth between 1983 and 1988, and a rebuilding exercise had to take place as one more Test cricketer, Geoff Miller, departed at the end of 1986, while yet another, Bob Taylor had retired in 1984. The indefatigable Alan Hill retired at the end of 1986 and Colin Tunnicliffe two years earlier.

By the time Derbyshire reached their next final – in the 1988 Benson and Hedges Cup – only Kim Barnett, now captain, and Paul Newman remained of the 1981 winning side.

Replacements had been recruited gradually; John Morris and Peter Bowler would become outstanding Derbyshire batsmen, comparing favourably to the very best in the county’s history, while quick bowlers Ole Mortensen and Allan Warner were recruited from Denmark and Worcestershire respectively. Both were outstanding in all forms of the game although in one day cricket they had very differing roles, the former being as good as any in the domestic game at the start of an innings, the latter equally formidable at the end.

Devon Malcolm and Bruce Roberts – from Jamaica and Zambia respectively – were also to become permanent fixtures in the side. Malcolm was a genuinely fast bowler, probably as consistently fast as any Derbyshire bowler ever, while Roberts was a stylish batsman and useful medium pace bowler.

The side which reached that 1988 final had still to be graced by Chris Adams, Dominic Cork and Karl Krikken and was probably lacking in experience in the middle order as Hampshire, in the shape of Steve Jefferies who had previously played one first class match for Derbyshire, blew Derbyshire away after winning the toss and a total of 117 all out never challenged the more experienced southern county.

Nonetheless, Derbyshire had been undefeated on the way to Lord’s and it was clear that with more judicious recruitment and player development, winning days lay ahead.

The golden summer of 1990 saw Derbyshire deliver on that promise as Adams emerged as the real deal, a powerful stroke player and an outstanding fielder – perfect for limited overs cricket.

He was joined in the middle order by South African Adrian Kuiper, another powerful striker of the ball, and the pair perfectly complemented a superb batting unit led by Barnett and Bowler at the top of the order. Morris, now an England Test cricketer formed – with Adams and Kuiper – as dynamic a 3-4-5 as has ever taken to the field for Derbyshire.

Mortensen, Warner, Malcolm – and back for one season – Miller, plus Kuiper and the effective Simon Base were an excellent bowling unit and the RAL Sunday League title was due reward for this fine side.

The following summer saw Derbyshire finish 3rd in the county championship, and 5th the following year; not since the late 1950s had Derbyshire finished so high in the table in consecutive seasons.

There was a quarter final in the 1992 Benson and Hedges Cup – although Kent won that one at Canterbury – but when Derbyshire’s 1993 Benson and Hedges Cup campaign got underway at Bristol in April there was a feeling that the side which had been carefully pieced together by Barnett, Coach Phil Russell and former captain Guy Willatt in his role as Chairman of Cricket was now ready to claim more silverware. And with the West Indian fast bowler Ian Bishop ready to return once more, hopes were high.

In the next article, the preliminary round fixture against Gloucestershire at Bristol begins Derbyshire’s campaign.


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