David Lloyd interview with David Griffin

Tuesday 23rd January 2024

David Lloyd is one of a number of players recruited by Mickey Arthur ahead of the 2024 season, although Derbyshire supporters caught a glimpse of him in 2023 when he played four Metro Bank One-Day Cup games whilst on loan from Glamorgan. Now the switch is permanent and Heritage Officer David Griffin recently sat down to chat to the allrounder about his career and plans for Derbyshire.

It seems a little odd to be welcoming you to Derbyshire having already seen you in action for the county last August, but welcome nonetheless, and before we go any further, congratulations on a new addition to your family.

Thank you. Yes, we had a little girl, Hattie, who was born in October, and we’ve also got a young son, so it’s been a busy time, especially so as we’ve also moved house. We moved to Derbyshire just before Christmas and we’re in a lovely, friendly area south of Derby and we’ve been made to feel very welcome. And my wife is happy, which is the main thing. As a family, we’re really excited and looking forward to the future.

You were born in North Wales; is that where the cricketing bug took hold?

Yes. I was born into quite a sporty family. Dad was heavily involved in football, becoming a FIFA referee and I was mad on football but was also regularly down at the local cricket club, Brymbo, just outside Wrexham, where my uncles played. School was quite tough because I always wanted to have a bat or ball in hand, but I was so fortunate to have a family who thought nothing of driving long distances to make sure I could play cricket. I certainly couldn’t have enjoyed a career as a professional cricketer without the support of my family, and hopefully I can give my children the best opportunities in whatever they want to do.

Were other sports competing for your attention when you were young. Presumably, as a Welshman, rugby union demanded some attention.

I’ve never enjoyed rugby. Football’s been massive for me and until I was about 17, that was my first sport. I was at Wrexham as a young lad and had trials at Shrewsbury Town. I was very fortunate to get a scholarship to Shrewsbury School which was mainly for my football, but I was quite small for the position I played – centre back – and so cricket began to come to the forefront and thankfully I was quite good at it.

I assume it was more difficult for a young cricketer living in North Wales, around 200 miles from Glamorgan’s headquarters in Cardiff, to be selected for the Glamorgan academy.

Definitely. My parents were amazing, taking me almost weekly to Cardiff. As a youngster, without that support from your parents, it’s impossible to advance your career. It probably explains why so few boys and girls from North Wales come through into the Glamorgan system because it’s so hard logistically. In an ideal world, there’d be two counties representing Wales with one in the south and another in the north. In fact, I played for Denbighshire and there’s definitely quality there but regardless of talent and drive, if families can’t afford the lengthy journeys, potentially good players will fall by the wayside. It’s certainly easier – logistically – for cricketers from North Wales to gravitate towards Lancashire and Derbyshire.

What was the process which got you into the Glamorgan academy?

I played for Wales through the age groups from under 11s to under 15s and from there things changed as I went from representing Wales to playing for Glamorgan. Nowadays, all that pathway cricket comes under Glamorgan.

Back then, the best players from the Welsh age group sides were chosen for the academy.

Who was in charge of the academy when you were there?

Richard Almond, a South African; in fact, he still manages the academy and pathway at Glamorgan. Andrew Salter, Rory Smith, and Will Owen were also in the academy from my age group.

By the time you became an academy player, were you considering a career as a professional cricketer?

I don’t know if you remember Darren Thomas, (former Glamorgan cricketer who took five Derbyshire wickets on his debut at Chesterfield in 1992 aged just 17) but I owe so much to him because I went through a stage after leaving Shrewsbury School and spending several months in Australia, where I fell out of love with the game. This was in 2012 and living away from my home in North Wales and missing so many family occasions was quite unappealing and I decided that I was done with the game. He gave me a call while I was picking raspberries on my uncle’s farm and he convinced me to carry on and not give up.

The following week I played a Glamorgan second team match against Gloucestershire at Bristol and scored 182 and was signed on by Glamorgan shortly afterwards. Darren’s call was an important one!

Who had been your coaching influences up this point?

My dad, he did a lot of coaching in North Wales; and Eddie Barlow was also a big influence on me. Eddie was in a wheelchair after suffering a stroke but used to sit at the non-strikers end in the nets wearing a South Africa batting helmet. As a young boy, Monday nights in the nets in North Wales with Eddie were great.

My dad would feed me cricket balls at home in the garage – it was only small but it served a purpose and Paul Pridgeon (ex-Worcestershire fast bowler) was a very effective coach while I was at Shrewsbury School. Another important coaching influence was Andrew Barnard, father of Ed, the Warwickshire allrounder. I always had good people around me.

And who was coaching the first team when you signed for Glamorgan?

Matthew Mott gave me my debut but he left the following year and then Toby Radford came in. I wasn’t quite ready for my debut, on reflection.

Did you consider yourself an all-round cricketer as you developed through the age groups?

I began as a spinner who could bat and on my first class debut I batted at four but then went down the order. At that point, having dropped down the order I was a first change bowler and I’ve batted in virtually every position. I suppose I’ll bat anywhere for the team.

Do you have a preferred position in the order?

I suppose three or four in red ball cricket. I think we’re set up perfectly here with Luis Reece and Harry Came as openers. Luis is an established first-class cricketer, and I was really impressed last summer to see how Harry has come on. I spent a bit of time with him in Cape Town a few years ago and to see how he’s advanced is really pleasing. He now believes he can play at first-class level and the way the pair of them have worked in partnership is really exciting.

I volunteered to open the batting for Glamorgan but I’m happy that we’ve got an established pair of openers here at Derbyshire.

Can I take you back to your remarkable innings of 313 not out for Glamorgan against Derbyshire at Cardiff at the end of the 2022 season? What was it like to bat for such a long time and to register a triple century?

I don’t think it will sink in until I finish playing. Even now, I think, did that actually happen? During that game, I barely slept because of the adrenaline going through me. It’s special to say that I’ve scored a triple hundred although I’m not keen on too much limelight but one day I’m sure I’ll sit back and be able to recall a special innings and one which resulted in a win. Matt Maynard, another huge influence on me, helped me by instilling in me the need to maintain concentration and go on after reaching a century.

I felt in form during that innings but often wonder how I did it! It was very special.

Talking of a special innings, you batted for a short while alongside another new Derbyshire signing, Aneurin Donald, when he scored what was then the fastest double hundred in the history of the game – against Derbyshire – at Colwyn Bay in 2016. He’s also joined Derbyshire ahead of the 2024 season. What was it like batting with Nye during that innings and what can we expect from him at Derbyshire?

I remember his first fifty being a bit scratchy but once he got his eye in he just hit the ball everywhere. It was a remarkable innings. He’s a very exciting player who’s been hampered with injury, but he’ll be a great addition both on and off the field. He’s scored hundreds in the first division and is a naturally attacking player.

You and Aneurin aren’t the only new signings here at Derbyshire. From the outside, it all looks very exciting.

Yes, Mickey’s (Mickey Arthur) brought in cricketers who will add to what is already here in terms of skills and talent, but they also bring with them a will to win and plenty of character.

You captained Glamorgan at a time when they won a trophy, albeit you weren’t in the side because you were playing for Welsh Fire. That triumph must have given you immense satisfaction.

I was at the final running drinks on and it was huge for the club and especially for the youngsters under Michael Hogan. We’d done well in the Championship and gone close to achieving promotion but the defeat to Middlesex at the end of 2022 dented our hopes. Going into this season I’m hoping that I can contribute as a leader as well as a player.

Did you enjoy captaincy? That’s not a leading question! Mickey has yet to announce who his captain will be in 2024.

I enjoyed it but I think until you’ve experienced it you don’t realise the responsibility which goes with it. Kiran Carlson was my vice-captain and we adopted a real hands-on approach. For example, I’d speak to players who’d been left out of the side which was something new for me and maybe if I was to do the job again, I’d probably leave that kind of thing to the coach.

If the captaincy does come my way here, then of course I’d be delighted and honoured, but there are obviously quite a lot of senior players so whoever captains the side will have the benefit of their experience.

You got a couple of scores on the board last summer for Derbyshire, including a match-winning 86 not out against Sussex. What was it like appearing for a new county after all those years at Glamorgan?

It was like I was making my first team debut all over again because I was so nervous! I wanted to do well and this new challenge is exactly what I need in my career. When I spoke with Mickey and he told me what he had in mind for Derbyshire, I was really impressed. Harry Came and Brooke Guest have emerged as really good young players, and Harry Moore is such a young talent. It’s exciting times here and there’s a strong squad in place.

I was ready for a change and the project which Mickey is putting into place makes Derbyshire the right place for me to be. It’s a club which is on the up.

So, a successful 2024 for Derbyshire, then?

Well, we need to be aggressive in red ball cricket. Members and supporters will want an improvement in Championship cricket and we aim to do that. In white ball cricket it’ll be great to have Samit Patel here alongside Wayne (Madsen) Luis, and the new signings. We should have a strong T20 side.

The big thing for us is ensuring we have a strong, tight-knit group of players and support staff, and to make sure we talk about the game and work out how to be successful. If we prepare right and work together there is no reason why we can’t compete and be successful.

On that note, thank you, and enjoy the summer ahead.

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