Match Preview: Gloucestershire (H)

Thursday 4th April 2024
Photography by: David Griffin

Derbyshire begin their Vitality County Championship campaign with a home fixture at The County Ground beginning on 5 April when Gloucestershire are the visitors.

Heritage Officer David Griffin previews the match.

These two sides meet for the 137th scheduled time in first class cricket, Derbyshire having won on 32 occasions. Gloucestershire have triumphed 50 times with 52 games ending as a draw. Derbyshire’s sole first class tie was against Gloucestershire at Bristol in 1987 while the same venue hosted the only completely abandoned match, in 1980.

The counties first met at Derby in August 1886, when the visitors won by 47 runs. The legendary WG Grace scored just 22 runs across two innings for Gloucestershire but bowled unchanged throughout Derbyshire’s first innings of 55 taking six for 34 off 21.2 overs.

Derbyshire’s highest innings total of 545 for nine came at Bristol in 2015, an innings dominated by Martin Guptill’s 227 including 11 sixes, a club record, which helped secure a seven wicket win for the visitors.

Gloucestershire’s largest total of 577 for nine was also at Bristol in a drawn game in 2002.

The highest individual score for Derbyshire is 229, by John Morris at Cheltenham in 1993, an innings of brilliance on a fast pitch against high quality pace bowling from the West Indian Courtney Walsh.

Gloucestershire’s top individual score of 237 was made by the legendary Wally Hammond at Bristol in 1938, one of six hundreds he made against Derbyshire.

The best bowling figures for the hosts is still George Davidson’s nine for 42 at Derby in 1886, although Ken Graveney managed to take all ten for Gloucestershire – for 66 runs – at Chesterfield in 1949.

The best match figures for Derbyshire are Les Townsend’s 14 for 90 at Queen’s Park in 1933, and for the visitors Tom Goddard’s 15 for 107 at Bristol in 1949 tops the list.

The most recent games between the two sides, in 2023, were both drawn with Harry Came making 108 in the match at Derby and Leus du Plooy also scoring 108 in the return fixture at Bristol.

Gloucestershire’s last win came at Derby in August 2019, while Derbyshire’s last victory was by 157 runs at Bristol in the final game of the 2017 season.

One of Derbyshire’s greatest victories was in the most remarkable match this writer has ever witnessed and which took place on a green-tinged pitch in late August 2010 when Derbyshire were dismissed for 44 in a mere 16.1 overs, James Franklin taking seven for 14 for the hosts.

Before tea on the second day, however, following a multitude of twists and turns and a fine 96 not out from Chesney Hughes, Derbyshire won the game by 54 runs. Graham Wagg with six wickets, and Tim Groenewald and Steffan Jones with five apiece took the bowling honours.

The first day score of 44 all out is unsurprisingly the lowest first innings total Derbyshire have ever made before going on to win the match.

In 2001 Chris Bassano scored 186 not out and 106 against Gloucestershire at Derby, the first player in the history of the game to score hundreds in each innings on his championship debut. In a drawn game played in hot and steamy conditions, off-field activity also caught the eye when the vacant Grandstand Hotel caught fire resulting in a plume of grey smoke floating across the outfield as play continued.
Kim Barnett is the sole player to score a hundred before lunch against Gloucestershire; indeed, he reached three figures at just after 12.30pm on the opening day of the game at Derby in 1988. He dominated proceedings to such an extent that when he was dismissed, he had made 175 out of 250 runs scored while he was in the middle.

The highest partnership against Gloucestershire is the 302 added by Morris and Cork (with help from Matthew Vandrau when Cork retired hurt) for the fifth wicket at Cheltenham in 1993 while more recently Wayne Madsen and Alex Hughes have taken part in two double century partnerships at Bristol, 278 for the fourth wicket in 2019 and 233 for the third wicket in 2017.

Only three Derbyshire players have ever scored a hundred runs and taken ten wickets in a game, the most recent instance being against Gloucestershire at Derby in 2008 when Graham Wagg scored 29 and 72 and took six for 56 and four for 77.

Wayne Madsen is scheduled to play his 450th all format match for Derbyshire, the seventh Derbyshire cricketer to do so.

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