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

Saturday 25th 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 is compiling a series of articles for the club website detailing each game in the competition.

In this final instalment, the attention is appropriately enough, on the final against Lancashire in front of a full house at Lord’s on Saturday 10th July.

The uptake for tickets was good. Derbyshire sold out their 3,700-ticket allocation and the Supporter’s Club organised several coaches for the trip to Lord’s.

Lancashire were to be Derbyshire’s opponents and were lauded as the unofficial ‘One Day Cup Kings’ of domestic cricket. Their side included Michael Atherton, Neil Fairbrother, Phillip DeFreitas and the Pakistani great, Wasim Akram, and were clear favourites.

A little spice was added to the final by the events which took place when the two sides met in a championship match at Derby a fortnight earlier.

On the final day, Derbyshire were 243 for two and en route to a famous victory needing a further 145 as John Morris (151) played one of his greatest innings for the county, before Akram produced a spell of six for 11 in 49 balls to demolish Derbyshire’s innings and secure victory for Lancashire, their last eight wickets falling for 24 runs.

Derbyshire questioned the condition of the ball and when Ole Mortensen was the last man out, he chased the ball to the boundary and put it in his pocket. Derbyshire sent the ball to Lord’s with a request for it to be inspected. No action was taken by the TCCB, but it meant that emotions were running high for the next encounter between the two sides.

To top it all, in the Sunday League game against the same opponents sandwiched in the middle of the championship fixture, Derbyshire had been routed for 73 and lost by 161 runs.

They lost a further game – against Worcestershire in the Nat West Trophy on the Wednesday before the final – so hopes outside the camp weren’t particularly high.

However, in an interview conducted with Kim Barnett in 2020, the Derbyshire captain from that final explained to me how motivated his players were;

‘We felt there had been an injustice over the condition of the ball during the championship game against Lancashire at Derby earlier in the season, and we were extremely determined to win that final. We were happy to have to fight; when we went out to practice at Lord’s we agreed as a team that in the nets we would be bristling and making it clear that we were there to win. Morris, Bowler, Adams, Mortensen – these weren’t weak individuals – and Cork – sticking their chests out in the nets and making it clear that we were there ready to take them on.’

On a fine morning, Fairbrother elected to field and Derbyshire’s innings was soon in tatters at 66 for four after an hours’ play. Derbyshire’s big four, Barnett, Bowler, Morris and Adams, arguably as good a top four as have ever played together for the county, were all out and it seemed another final was lost before it had begun. The animosity between the sides wasn’t helped when Adams was struck by a beamer from Akram who raised his hand by way of apology but was no balled by umpire Meyer.

However, for the first time with the bat, Dominic Cork announced himself to a television audience and a full house at Lord’s with an inspired innings of 92 not out.

Cork, apparently nerveless, and happy to play the dominant role alongside Tim O’Gorman and then Krikken, played a remarkable innings, with no shot better than the one off the final ball of the innings when he walked outside off stump and flicked an Akram inswinger down to fine leg. Cork clearly irritated the Lancashire players, talking, fidgeting, and generally playing outrageous shots, and with O’Gorman and Krikken took his side to a competitive total of 252 for six from 55 overs.

The bad blood continued to be spilt in the Lord’s dining room as Adams confronted Akram over the beamer, but calm was restored and when play resumed, it was in overcast conditions with a threat of showers.

Warner removed Steve Titchard for nought and Lancashire had reached 80 before the next wicket, of Nick Speak, fell to Mortensen, before Atherton and Fairbrother came together. Atherton batted slowly and when Krikken dropped him there were plenty of Derbyshire spectators gleefully announcing that the cunning Derbyshire plan was to keep Atherton at the crease.

Lancashire were 141 for two when rain began to fall, and the players left the field for a 70-minute break.

Barnett had kept plenty of Malcolm’s overs back specifically to target Fairbrother who was renowned as one of the best one-day finishers in the world, and for Lancashire to win it was probably essential that he remained at the crease. Atherton went for 54 but his innings had taken up more than 100 deliveries and while Lancashire never really got on top of Derbyshire’s attack, it was clear to everyone watching that the game was destined to go to the wire.

The dangerous Akram came and went, caught and bowled by the indefatigable Warner, but when the final over arrived, 11 were needed to win.

Barnett had gambled on using his best bowlers to remove Fairbrother, but the Lancashire left-hander was still there as young Frank Griffith ran in to bowl the final over of the match with destiny within touching distance.

Fairbrother and DeFreitas were in his sights and Griffith must have been nervous. The first ball was full and straight – no run, and Fairbrother scampered a single off the next. Nine to win off four balls.

Griffith’s next delivery was a full toss. Derbyshire supporters held their breath, this was surely going out of the ground, but DeFreitas skied a catch to Krikken although the batsmen crossed.

Ten were needed from three balls and Fairbrother managed two from the fourth ball despite an excellent piece of fielding from Cork who combined with Krikken to attempt a run out.

He managed another single off the fifth ball and so – barring a no ball or a wide – Lancashire required seven off the final delivery which produced a dot ball.

Cue pandemonium. Derbyshire had won the 1981 Nat West Trophy with just two players on the pitch at the moment of victory. This time, all eleven players were out there and as thousands of Derbyshire supporters swarmed onto the outfield, players were dashing everywhere, leaping into each other’s arms amid a sea of smiling faces.

The trophy presentation took place on the balcony with Cork receiving the Gold Award for his wonderful innings as thousands of Derbyshire supporters looked up, clapping, cheering and singing songs.

Without an overseas player, Derbyshire had prevailed on the biggest domestic stage and esteemed cricket writer Christopher Martin-Jenkins wrote in the Daily Telegraph;

“It ought to be remembered as the game in which Derbyshire won deserved reward for building up a worthy county team under Kim Barnett’s intelligent and determined captaincy and for the performance of a young cricketer (Cork) of flair and character. Renewed hope, too, for all those people who have battled against the odds to galvanise cricketing life out of a part of the country surrounded by other major cricketing centres and steeped in the winter game.”

Cork’s 92* remains the highest ever score in a Lord’s final by a number six and the unbeaten seventh wicket partnership between Cork and Krikken of 77 is the highest for that wicket in any Lord’s final.

Barnett played in nine Lord’s finals – four for Derbyshire and five for Gloucestershire – with only Neil Fairbrother and Derek Underwood (10 each) appearing in more.

For Barnett, and that master of recruitment, Phil Russell, the 1993 Benson and Hedges Cup triumph was their towering achievement and as domestic Lord’s finals have now been consigned to history, this will remain Derbyshire’s last win there in a showpiece game.

Another final would follow in 1998 – once more Lancashire were the opponents in the Nat West Trophy – but a heavy defeat would signal the end of the last true golden period for Derbyshire.

Returning to that 2020 interview, the last word on that glorious golden day must rest with Barnett;

‘It wasn’t very pleasant being 66-4 but we never gave up and I knew that our lower order would at least give it a go and we had a decent bowling side. But Cork, O’Gorman and Krikken transformed the game and Cork’s innings was one of those great Lord’s finals occasions. Akram had a terrible game – Corky got them where he wanted them. And then Frankie Griffith bowled that final over – we only had five bowlers, remember, and I look back at that game as my finest – tactically – as captain. I needed Devon to bowl at Fairbrother, and Atherton helped by batting slowly. I said to Frank at the start of the final over that if we lost it wouldn’t be his fault. He knew he was going to bowl up in the block hole – he could do that – so I said, “I’ll leave it with you.” I just backed him, and he delivered. I look back now and think it was an amazing victory – my main memory though is of the Lancashire players faces on the balcony when I got the trophy – they were absolutely devastated and couldn’t believe that we’d beaten them. There was a time on the field when all I could hear were Derbyshire fans, remarkable considering the Lancashire support. And I know Derbyshire fans who went will never forget it.’

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