Derbyshire welcome Sussex to The Incora County Ground for a one-day game for the first time since August 2012 when the home side won by six wickets.
Heritage Officer David Griffin previews the match.
There have been 55 scheduled one day matches between these two counties who first met in a Gillette Cup tie at Hove in 1968 when Sussex won easily by 10 wickets.
Revenge was sweet a year later when Derbyshire defeated Sussex in a thrilling semi-final in the same competition at Chesterfield in front of a crowd of 10,582.
The week preceding the game had seen heavy rain – so heavy that it ran under the covers – and many in the huge crowd assumed that the start would be delayed. Most also assumed that the captain winning the toss would bowl first.
However, the game did begin on time, and Derek Morgan, successful at the toss, elected to bat first on a warm and sunny day but on a very slow pitch.
Peter Gibbs and David Smith added 34 for the first wicket, Gibbs (44) producing the best innings of the day, but batting was difficult against John Snow and Tony Buss, the latter taking 4-27 from 10.4 overs.
There was an element of controversy about the second half of the Derbyshire innings as Derek Morgan took root and batted for almost 30 overs scoring 26 not out.
Subsequently, Morgan and other colleagues explained that they felt the Derbyshire pace attack would outgun the Sussex attack, provided the batsmen could give them a reasonable target to defend.
At the time, sections of the crowd disagreed, and Morgan and the lower order came in for some criticism as the run-scoring slowed to almost nothing and a total of 136 all out from 56.4 overs appeared far too few.
Alan Ward took the new ball – from the Pavilion End – with his senior partner Harold Rhodes, opening from the Lake End. Rhodes generally bowled down the hill, but Ward was the new quick on the block and got first choice of ends.
This didn’t prevent Rhodes bowling at a recorded 95mph during his 7 over spell, of which 6 were maidens. Just 4 runs came from the other over, and they were through third man.
With the fourth delivery of his opening over Ward caused Lenham to chop an in-swinger on to his leg stump and for five overs the score remained one for one, the run, a no-ball, having come in the first over. Then, to a huge roar from the partisan crowd, Ward removed Cooper’s stumps: 5-2.
However, statistics cannot adequately illustrate the drama of that afternoon; first the hush as each bowler roared into the attack, followed by bursts of applause as maiden followed maiden, with Jim Parks and the left-handed Ken Suttle hanging on.
After 14 overs, 11 of them maidens, Sussex were 10-2; at tea they were 27-4, requiring 110 in 38 overs. But in Peter Eyre’s fifth over Parks was caught by Morgan – with 16 he was the only player to reach double figures – as Eyre then ran through the Sussex batting line up, the innings subsiding for forty-nine.
Great scenes ensued as spectators swarmed onto the outfield to cheer the Derbyshire players from the pitch and to crowd around their hero, Peter Eyre.
Eyre had the greatest cricketing day of his life: 10.2-4-18-6 including 6-11 in 40 balls, and won the Man of the Match Award, adjudicator Don Kenyon commenting that “…Eyre’s direction and length were impeccable…”
Ward’s analysis was 8-5-11-2, Rhodes 7-6-4-0, Fred Rumsey 9-3-13-2 and Ian Buxton one over for one run.
Derbyshire have won 24 matches, and Sussex 27, with two games abandoned and two ended with no result.
Both sides’ highest totals came in the same game in 1997 in a NatWest Trophy quarter final match at Derby when the home side made 327 for eight before Sussex replied with 329 for five.
Most Derbyshire supporters were confident of victory after Chris Adams had made a splendid 129 but Rajesh Rao, aged just 22 and destined to have a relatively short county career, struck a magnificent 158 Sussex won with four balls to spare.
Derbyshire players have made five individual hundreds against Sussex, with Adams scoring two with the others coming from Bruce Roberts, Chris Bassano, and Michael Di Venuto.
There have been ten century partnerships for Derbyshire, with the 169 added for the first wicket by Kim Barnett and Peter Bowler at Derby in 1990 leading the way.
The 106-run partnership between James Bryant and Graeme Welch at Hove in 2004 remains the only century partnership for the seventh wicket against any county in one day cricket.
With the ball, three bowlers have taken five Sussex wickets in an innings in one day cricket and all were dramatic performances, all of which were match-winning; Peter Eyre’s six for 18 in the Gillette semi-final in 1969, Alan Ward’s five for 11 in a John Player League match at Derby in 1970 which included four wickets in four balls, and Michael Holding’s then-world record eight for 21 in a NatWest Trophy game at Hove in 1988 which remains the best analysis in one day cricket in the UK.
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