Match Preview: Sussex (H)

Thursday 2nd May 2024
& News
Photography by: David Griffin

Derbyshire welcome Sussex to The County Ground for their fifth Vitality County Championship game of the season.

Heritage Officer David Griffin previews the match.

There have been 144 scheduled first class fixtures between these two counties with honours largely shared since they first met at Derby in 1880, Derbyshire winning 42, Sussex 47, with 53 draws and two abandoned games, at Chesterfield in 1932 and 1938.

The corresponding match in 2023 was ruined by rain with no play on the first two days before Sussex were skittled for 100 in 36.2 overs, as Zak Chappell and Sam Conners picked up four wickets apiece. Brooke Guest took seven catches behind the wicket, equalling the club record set by Bob Taylor (twice) and Harvey Hosein as six of his catches came before lunch.

Luis Reece scored 86 in Derbyshire’s 229 for six declared, but Sussex safely negotiated the final session without alarm ending on 84 for three.

Earlier in the season the match at Hove ended in a thrilling draw after the home side posted 402 with George Scrimshaw recording career-best figures of five for 49. Derbyshire secured a five run lead thanks to Guest’s 105 and half-centuries from Wayne Madsen and Leus du Plooy, before Sussex declared their second innings on 384 for nine – Alex Thomson five for 110 – setting Derbyshire 380 to win.

At one stage Derbyshire looked as though they might complete what would have been their highest successful run chase in first class cricket, but had to content themselves with a draw, closing on 361 for eight.

Du Plooy struck a marvellous 128 and when he was together at the crease with Haider Ali (73) Derbyshire’s hopes were high, but after both players departed Derbyshire’s tail held out until the close.

Derbyshire’s largest innings total of 606 for six came at Derby in the opening game of the 1995 season after Sussex were skittled for 111 on the first day, Devon Malcolm taking six for 61 before Kim Barnett (164), Chris Adams (111) and Daryl Cullinan (134 on debut) put the visiting bowlers to the sword aided by an unbeaten 84 from Dominic Cork.

In their second innings Sussex managed just two more runs than in their first, as Philip DeFreitas took six for 35 and Malcolm added a further three wickets to see Derbyshire home by an innings and 379 runs, at the time, their record margin of victory by an innings.

Four opposition bowlers conceded more than 100 runs in this game, a statistic reversed in 2010 when Sussex made their highest innings score of 576 for three with the top four all scoring hundreds and four Derbyshire bowlers conceding hundreds, the only such occurrence in the club’s history.

In recent years, games between these two counties have usually produced positive outcomes, with results in 14 of the last 20.

Unusually, Derbyshire’s defeat at Hove in 2022 came after they had declared their first innings, declined to enforce the follow on, declared their second innings, and lost. This is the only such instance in Derbyshire’s history.

When Derbyshire won at Hove in 2021, Sussex were 300 all out in their first innings, the highest team total in the history of the game to include six players dismissed for no score.

Derbyshire have registered 53 hundreds against Sussex, including two double centuries, Shan Masood topping the list with 239 at Derby in 2022 which broke the previous record for the highest individual Derbyshire score at Derby of 238 set by Stan Worthington, also against Sussex in 1937.

Barnett scored four hundreds against Sussex, the most by any player, while amongst the current staff Anuj Dal, Guest, David Lloyd, Madsen, Samit Patel and Reece have all reached three figures.

When Shan Masood scored 239 at Derby in 2022, Tom Haines and Chesteshwar Pujara also scored double hundreds, only the 11th time worldwide that a game had featured three doubles, and just the third time in the UK.

The highest individual innings for Sussex came in 2016 when Ed Joyce made a superb 250 at Derby, while their best innings bowling figures were recorded by the magnificently named John Elicius Benedict Bernard Placid Quirk Carrington Dwyer, an Australian, who took nine for 35 at Hove in 1906. The best at Derby is George Cox’ eight for 24 in 1912.

Albert Relf hold the record for the best Sussex match figures of 14 for 75, at Hove in 1908, and he also holds the record for the best figures at Derby, of 13 for 87 in 1907.

Three players carried their bat through a completed innings against Sussex; Barnett scored 73* out of 183 at Derby in 1993, Adrian Rollins made 78* out of 220 at Hove in 1996, and Luke Sutton a superb 140* out of 263 at Derby in 2001. Sutton, remarkably, was the last man out in the second innings, scoring 54 out of 117.

Derbyshire’s highest partnership for any wicket against Sussex was shared between Shan Masood and Madsen at Derby in 2022 when they added 292 for the third wicket, at the same time setting a third wicket record for the county at Derby.

At the other end of the batting order, a mere 28 runs set the record for the highest successful 10th wicket partnership when Matthew Vandrau and Malcolm steered Derbyshire to a nail-biting one wicket win over Sussex at Eastbourne in 1994.

Derbyshire’s bowlers have taken five wickets in an innings 98 times with Bill Copson leading with the way with seven instances.

Fred Swarbrook’s astonishing nine for 20 at Hove in 1975 is not just the best against Sussex but also the fourth best innings analysis ever for the county, and remarkably, Swarbrook’s analysis was the best recorded in the UK between 1964 and 1991.

The feat of taking ten wickets in a match has been performed 17 times, although only Bill Bestwick managed it twice; while the best match figures were recorded by Hardus Viljoen in the course of the win at Hove in 2017 when he took 15 for 170, the county’s fifth best match analysis.

Two bowlers have taken hat tricks, Harold Evans at Hove in 1881 and AEG ‘Dusty’ Rhodes at Derby in 1951.

Derbyshire players have only scored a hundred and taken five wickets in an innings in the same match on 19 occasions, and possibly none were more memorable than Luis Reece’s performance in scoring a superlative 184 at Derby in 2019 and following it with five for 63. Many observers regard his 184 as one of the great modern innings seen at Derby.

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