Mike Hendrick batting for England vs New Zealand in February 1978.
The origins of Derbyshire County Cricket Club began over 150 years ago with a meeting in the Guildhall in Derby. On November 4, 1870, the club was formed with the Earl of Chesterfield, George Philip Cecil Arthur Stanhope, becoming its first President. The club played their first ever game the following year on May 26 and 27 against Lancashire at Old Trafford. With their home games played at the County Ground in Derby, the club (unofficially at first) joined the County Championship.
Interestingly, it is Derbyshire CCC that we also must thank for the formation of another local sports team – Derby County Football Club – which was formed in 1884 as an offshoot of the club in an attempt to secure extra revenue during the winter months.
Initially struggling for the first few seasons, the club lost their first-class status in 1888 before regaining it in 1894 and rejoining the County Championship in 1895. Just one year later, George Davidson hit 274 runs against Lancashire at Old Trafford – a total which remains the highest individual first class score for the club to this day.
At the meeting for the formation of the club, Walter Boden stated: “I propose that a cricket club be formed that represents the whole county and that it shall be called The Derbyshire County Cricket Club.” In 1898 the club played its first match at Chesterfield, at Queen’s Park, although it would be a further 27 years before the club played its first match at Ilkeston.
Three years after that, Charles Ollivierre became the first black West Indian to play for an English county and, in total, played for the club from1901 to 1907.
Although up until the mid-twenties, Derbyshire CCC were traditionally one of the weaker teams, in 1921 Bill Bestwick recorded Derbyshire’s best ever bowling figures when he took 10 for 40 in a match against Glamorgan at Cardiff Arms Park. From the mid-twenties the team grew stronger and in 1936 Derbyshire won the County Championship for the first, and so far, only time in their history. After the Second World War success eluded the club, although players such as Cliff Gladwin, Les Jackson, Harold Rhodes, Alan Ward and Mike Hendrick represented England successfully as well as playing for Derbyshire.
One a summer’s day in 1975, June 2 to be precise, whilst playing a match against Lancashire, arctic winds brought the temperature down to minus 3.3 degrees C and the game had to be stopped because of snow.
Mike Hendrick played in 1981 when Derbyshire defeated Northamptonshire to win the NatWest Trophy at Lord’s under the captaincy of Barry Wood to finally add some silverware to the trophy room again. Before the decade had ended, Devon Malcom had made his debut for England and six years after that, Dominic Cork did too, adding to the list of notable seamers that played for both Derbyshire and England.
Between 1983 and 1989, the legendary West Indian cricketer Michael Holding, nicknamed ‘Whispering Death’ due to his silent, light-footed run up, also played for the club. Under the leadership of Kim Barnett, who was captain of the club from 1983 to 1995, Derbyshire were a force to be reckoned with.
In 1991, the club secured the Refuge Assurance Sunday League title under the captaincy of Kim Barnett in front of 11,000 spectators before winning the Benson & Hedges Cup final at Lord’s in 1993.
In 2000, the County Championship was split into two divisions (with promotion and relegation for teams) and Derbyshire found themselves relegated. However, in 2012 the club won the County Championship second division title to gain promotion but were relegated after only season in the top division and currently still play in the second division.