With the dust now settled on the cricket season, Heritage Officer David Griffin looks at the numbers behind the cricket in 2023.
The statistical elephant in the room in 2023 is the lack of a victory in the County Championship, only the sixth such instance for Derbyshire since the competition became formalised in the late 19th century. However, in losing four matches there have only been eight seasons when the county has lost fewer games in the longer form of the game.
This is not the only surprising element of a season in which Derbyshire struggled to complete a four-day victory; two players recorded batting averages over 80, while seven different bowlers took five wickets in an innings. Not since 1986 had so many bowlers recorded a five-wicket haul.
Indeed, records were broken across all forms of the game belying the finishing positions in the County Championship and Metro Bank One Day Cup tables. A winner-take-all final T20 Vitality Blast group game against Worcestershire at Derby saw the home side’s hopes of making the knock-out stages dashed after enjoying some splendid victories earlier in the competition, most notably against Birmingham Bears at home and away, and against Yorkshire at Chesterfield.
In red ball cricket two players scored more than 1,000 runs: Leus du Plooy making 1,236 at an average of 82.40 in his final season with Derbyshire, and Luis Reece 1,048 at an average of 87.33. Reece’s average is the highest for the county by any player scoring a thousand first class runs overtaking Shan Masood’s 82.61 in 2022.
Du Plooy reached a thousand runs in his 15th innings – the second quickest after Shan Masood got there in a mere 12 in 2022.
Both players made four centuries with Du Plooy’s unbeaten 238 at Worcester the highest by any Derbyshire player in 2023, while Reece made 201 not out against Glamorgan at Derby.
Reece enjoyed a remarkable season amassing an all formats aggregate of 1,708 runs, comfortably his best, with all four of his hundreds coming against Glamorgan, two at Derby and two at Cardiff. There have been 21 instances of a Derbyshire player making a hundred in each innings, but Reece is the first to do it twice.
He scored 332 runs in the match against Glamorgan at Derby and 258 against the same opponents at Cardiff in the process joining Chris Adams, Travis Birt, Michael Di Venuto, Peter Kirsten, and Chris Rogers as the only Derbyshire players to score 250 or more runs in a match on two occasions.
In making four hundreds against one county in a season, Reece set a new all counties record, while another Derbyshire record fell when he ended the season with seven consecutive first class scores of fifty or more. This remarkable run of scores – 54*-131-201*-77-86-139 and 119* – produced 807 runs at an average of 201.75. Factor in Reece’s 34 all formats wickets – the fourth most for the county – and small wonder that he claimed an armful of awards at the end of season dinner.
Reece and du Plooy weren’t the only heavy scorers, however; Wayne Madsen (1,434), Harry Came (1,260), Brooke Guest (1,229) and Haider Ali (1,006) all passed the four-figure mark across all formats with Madsen and Tom Wood both scoring blistering T20 hundreds against Leicestershire, Madsen at Leicester, and Wood in front of a large crowd at Derby.
Reece topped the scoring charts in the Metro Bank One Day Cup while Anuj Dal was the sole centurion in this competition making a fine 110 against Somerset at Derby.
Vitality Blast cricket once again brought large crowds to Derbyshire’s home fixtures with a capacity crowd enjoying a sixth consecutive win at Chesterfield – all against Yorkshire – with perennial crowd favourite Wayne Madsen topping the run-scoring charts with 580 including a hundred and five fifties. He began the season with five consecutive scores of fifty or more, equalling the world record and failing by just six runs at Headingley to make the record his own.
In all cricket Madsen topped 1,000 runs for the 12th time equalling Denis Smith’s tally; only Kim Barnett (18 times) has performed the feat more often. And despite missing two Championship games, one while he was playing international T20 cricket for Italy, and the other with an injured finger, Madsen took a remarkable 31 catches in 12 matches at an average of 2.58 per game. This was the highest number of catches by a Derbyshire non-keeper since Chris Adams took 34 in 20 games in 1996.
Madsen also became the third player to pass the 20,000 career runs mark for Derbyshire following in the steps of Kim Barnett and Denis Smith and has now scored 43 hundreds and 121 fifties in compiling a magnificent batting record over the past 15 years.
Adding to the impression that 2023 often appeared perfectly set up for batting, Derbyshire’s top order produced a century partnership in every first-class game bar the rain-affected match against Sussex at Derby, by some distance a record, and along with 15 centuries there were a further seven scores recorded in the 90s in Championship matches.
Came and Reece produced the highest partnership of the summer, adding an unbroken 360 against Glamorgan at Derby, the second highest for any Derbyshire wicket and the highest for the first wicket.
Among the bowlers, Anuj Dal took five wickets in an innings three times while Alex Thomson twice took five, and both Zak Chappell and on-loan Henry Brookes took five wickets in an innings on their Derbyshire debut.
Thomson took the most Championship wickets (31) although Chappell topped the all formats list with 50 including a new Derbyshire record of 26 in T20 matches with overseas paceman Zaman Khan taking 25 as both overtook the old record of 23 set by Ravi Rampaul in 2019 and equalled by George Scrimshaw in 2022. Scrimshaw gained international recognition in September, appearing in a One Day International for England against Ireland.
There were ten instances of five wickets being taken in an innings in the Championship – the most for eight years, but ultimately in the 14 matches involving Derbyshire only 366 wickets fell, the lowest season aggregate since the 344 of 1894.
Behind the wicket, Brooke Guest totalled 49 all formats dismissals including a club record-equalling seven catches in the first innings against Sussex at Derby and with two further first-class hundreds this season he’s now made seven three figure scores as a wicketkeeper for the county; Bill Storer’s record of 12 hundreds while ‘keeping is under threat.
Anuj Dal produced an outstanding all-round performance against Worcestershire once again, matching his 2022 effort of a century and five wickets in an innings at New Road, making him only the second player to perform the feat in successive seasons for the county after Garnet Lee did it against Northamptonshire in 1927 and 1928, while Matt Lamb, injured and struggling with a back injury for much of the season, delivered an outstanding match-winning innings at Northampton in the Metro Bank One Day Cup, a performance which earned him the Eddie Barlow Inspirational Performance Award for 2023.
Other performances will linger long in the memory, particularly du Plooy’s fireworks in T20 wins at Chesterfield and Edgbaston, while his partnership with Pakistani Haider Ali in the Championship game against Yorkshire at Queen’s Park was of the highest quality. Haider Ali became the 30th player to score a 1,000 runs or more in their debut season for Derbyshire.
New signing for 2024, David Lloyd arrived on loan and made two impressive half centuries in the Metro Bank One Day Cup, while Mitch Wagstaff offered a glimpse of his burgeoning talent with Championship fifties at Scarborough and Cardiff and created a new club record by becoming the first bowler to take two wickets in his first over in first class cricket, also at Scarborough.
Pat Brown became Derbyshire’s 748th player when he made his debut against Gloucestershire at Bristol, one of nine debutants in 2023. The average per season in the 21st century is nine, a stark contrast to the average of between three and four during the last 50 years of the 20th century.
Derbyshire also gave a debut to Derby-born Harry Moore in the Metro Bank competition against Worcestershire at Derby aged just 16 years, three months and 23 days making him the youngest cricketer to represent the county.
Leading Run Scorers
|Player||FC Runs||LA Runs||T20 Runs||Runs|
|Leus du Plooy||1,236||0||291||1,527|
Leading Wicket Takers
|Player||FC Wkts||LA Wkts||T20 Wkts||Wkts|
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