Match Preview: Leicestershire (H)

Thursday 18th April 2024
& News
Photography by: David Griffin

Derbyshire face neighbours Leicestershire in their third Vitality County Championship game of the season, at The County Ground beginning on 19 April.

Heritage Officer David Griffin previews the match.

This will be the 221st scheduled first-class match between Derbyshire and Leicestershire. Only Lancashire – also on 221 occasions – have been Derbyshire’s opposition as often.

Of the first 220 games, honours have been close to even, Derbyshire winning 63 times, Leicestershire 64, with 93 draws, one of which was an abandoned fixture at Chesterfield in 1926. The win at Leicester in 2022 was the first under Mickey Arthur and Derbyshire’s first by an innings since they beat the same opponents at Derby in 2011.

The two fixtures last summer both ended in draws, with the game at Derby ending farcically.

When Leicestershire’s second innings closed on 281, Derbyshire were left needing 54 to win the game. There were three overs left on the final day and with two subtracted for the innings break, that meant just one over remained.

However, confusion over the rules left umpires and some of the players and coaches believing there were three overs left. A delay of 20 minutes resulted in the umpires deciding that only a single over remained which was bowled by Colin Ackermann. Even that had an element of farce about it, as he raced through the over to ensure Leicestershire avoided a point deduction for their slow over rate.

Derbyshire’s cricketers have enjoyed playing Leicestershire since they first met at Leicester in 1894 scoring 109 centuries, some 30 more than they have scored against any other opposition (Nottinghamshire 79).

Six of the hundreds were doubles, the most recent scored by Shan Masood at Leicester in April 2022, while the highest remains Kim Barnett’s unbeaten 239 at Leicester in 1988. Barnett also scored 200 not out at Derby in 1996 although it’s hard to believe that any of the 109 tons were better than Mohammad Azharuddin’s 212 at Leicester in 1991 when Barnett, a fast-scoring player in his own right, made just eight runs while Azharuddin scored 100 runs at the other end.

Barnett’s seven first-class hundreds against Leicestershire are a record for Derbyshire against any other county, and just to confirm his dominance over them, he also scored a hundred before lunch at Grace Road in 1997.

There have been four hundreds by Derbyshire wicketkeepers in these fixtures, Bill Storer making 142 at Leicester in 1896 and an unbeaten 216 at Chesterfield in 1899.

The other hundreds came from Bernie Maher (121*) at Derby in 1988 and Brooke Guest (116) at Derby in 2021.

Guest’s hundred came in partnership with Anuj Dal (106) as they added 227 for the sixth wicket, a county record for that wicket.

The highest partnership for any wicket stands at 316 for the third wicket between Adrian Rollins and Barnett at Leicester in 1997 although the highest at Derby is 251 in 2022 by Luis Reece and Billy Godleman.

Derbyshire bowlers have taken five wickets in an innings 143 times, Bill Bestwick performing the feat 18 times, although the best innings figures remain the remarkable ten for 64 by Tommy Mitchell at Leicester in 1935. Only Bill Bestwick’s ten for 40 against Glamorgan at Cardiff in 1921 can better Mitchell’s effort.

The best match figures are Les Jackson’s 13 for 73 at Derby in 1962.

Three bowlers have performed the hat trick in these matches, Ole Mortensen taking the first, at Derby in 1987 before Kevin Dean grabbed three in three at Leicester in 2000, with Tony Palladino completing the trio, also at Leicester, in 2012.

Only four bowlers have taken eight wickets before lunch for Derbyshire, George Walker taking eight for 23 at Leicester in 1895 becoming the first to do it.

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