All Time XIs – Derbyshire

Continuing my series of “All Time XIs” with Derbyshire. We are approaching not the end, but the end of the beginning of this series, as I have just one more first class county to do.


Welcome the latest installment in my “All Time XIs” series. Today the focus is on Derbyshire, alphabetically the first of the 18 first class counties. Those who have been following this series in detail will realize that this is the 17th county to be looked at so far. Tomorrow’s post about Durham will not be the end of the series, merely the end of the beginning, an occasion I shall mark by creating a page with links to all 18 county posts (I already have several more posts mentally mapped out. Before getting to the main meat of this post I wish to start with…


The Fulltoss blog, which I follow avidly and recommend you to do likewise, have been given an honourable mention in Wisden Cricketers Almanack (see yesterday’s Sussex post for more about the both the name Wisden and the origin of the publication), for which they deserve the heartiest of congratulations. Check out this recent fulltoss post inviting readers to nominate the greatest innings they have ever seen.


  1. Stan Worthington – an opening batter of the 1920s and 1930s, who appeared briefly for England. He managed a test hundred, which in Derbyshire terms places him in elite company.
  2. Kim Barnett – a Derbyshire stalwart for many years who gained a few England caps and did not do altogether badly at that level. He was also known to bowl serviceable leg spin. At the end of his long career he fell out with Derbyshire and decamped to Gloucestershire.
  3. Charles Ollivierre – one of the first Caribbean born cricketers (preceded in that regard by Lord Harris of Kent and a contemporary of Pelham Warner of Middlesex, both of whom were born in that part of the world and captained England) to appear in county cricket. He hailed from the island of St Vincent, and first came to England with a touring West Indian team in 1900 (WI gained test status only in 1928) and then settled in Derbyshire, who found him a clerical job while he was qualifying by residence. In the 1904 match against Essex at Chesterfield in which Percy Perrin made 343 not out in ultimately losing cause Ollivierre scored 229 and 92 not out for Derbyshire. Technically he does not count as an overseas player, but since I have not selected an official overseas player you can regard him as such if you insist.
  4. Albert Alderman – a consistent and reliable batter at a time when Derbyshire were especially weak in this department.
  5. George Davidson – for a long time he held the record individual score for the county with 274, which innings was moreover his maiden first class hundred. Also a useful bowler of medium pace but unlikely to be needed in that regard by this team.
  6. *Arthur Morton – a tough, determined batter who bowled both medium pace and off spin, the latter of which would be more required in this side. He often made his runs when they at a premium. At Chesterfield in 1914 against Yorkshire he and his team were caught on a rain affected pitch, and of the 68 that they managed to scrape up precisely 50 came from the bat of Morton. The last eight Derbyshire wickets crashed for just four runs, and the last six without addition in the space of just eight balls (Alonzo Drake finished one over by taking four wickets in four balls, and then another rather better known left arm spinner, Rhodes, took the remaining two in the next four balls). I have named his as captain of this side.
  7. +Bob Taylor – more first class dismissals (1,473 catches and 176 stumpings) than any other wicket keeper in the game’s history. His batting is often denigrated, but a six hour 97 at Adelaide on the 1978-9 tour that put England in control of both match and Ashes series indicates that not only could he do it, he could do it when the team really needed it. In 1986 when England’s chosen wicketkeeper, Bruce French of Nottinghamshire, suffered a freak injury, Taylor, then 45 and retired for two years, left a glad-handing role in a hospitality tent to don the gloves as substitute until a proper replacement (Bobby Parks of Hampshire being the choice) could get to the ground.
  8. Billy Bestwick – right arm fast bowler and lower order batter. He was in his mid forties when he took all ten Glamorgan wickets in an innings. He was the father of the father-and-son pair of Bestwicks who opened the bowling against the Warwickshire pair of Willie and Bernard Quaife, also father and son. In the 1904 Chesterfield match mentioned in connection with Ollivierre it was he with assistance from Arnold Warren who destroyed the Essex second innings. He had some turbulent times (including a brush with a manslaughter conviction after a pub brawl) but his skill and stamina were both undoubted.
  9. Les Jackson – right arm fast bowler, with an amazing first class record (1,733 wickets at 17 a piece between 1947 and 1963) whose test appearances were limited to two, largely one suspects because the establishment deemed him insufficiently willing to tug his forelock at appropriate moments (in those beggarly two games he collected 7 wickets at 22).
  10. William Mycroft – left arm fast bowler of immense stamina, who had a magnificent record in the 1870s. I shall have more to say about him in the next section of this post. There is also a theory that Conan Doyle, a huge cricket fan, and indeed a fine player, who once dismissed WG Grace (albeit that worthy already had a ton to his name) named Mycroft Holmes in honour of William and his brother Thomas, a wicket keeper, while the other brother Sherlock was a fusion of the Notts pair Sherwin and Shacklock, likewise a fast bowler and keeper.
  11. Tommy Mitchell – leg spinner, he was a bit part player in Jardine’s 1932-3 Ashes winning tour party, but his county record was excellent, and the guy he could not displace as England’s number one spinner was Hedley Verity, a man whose test wickets cost 24 in spite of the inflationary effects on the bowling average of being opposed to Bradman, while his first class wickets cost 14.9 a piece.

This team has a solid top six, with a genuine all rounder in Morton and three others (Barnett, Worthington and Davidson) who could bowl usefully, the most prolific wicket keeper of all time and four specialist bowlers who are well varied and of high quality. The spin bowling is a little thin, with only Mitchell and Morton genuinely recognized in that department, while the question with the pacers was always who would be unlucky, this has historically been Derbyshire’s only really strong department.


This match, chapter two in Patrick Murphy’s “Fifty Incredible Cricket Matches”, my copy of which has not survived the ravages of time, but of which I have reasonably clear memories stands out as one the game’s great hard luck stories. William Mycroft captured 17 wickets with his own bowling, held a catch and took part in the biggest stand of the Derbyshire first innings. Yet at the end, Hampshire, courtesy of one Reginald Hargreaves (35 not out at the death) sneaked home by one wicket. Few can have so dominated a match that their team ended up losing. In those days there was a mechanism referred to as ‘switching ends’, by which a bowler was allowed by two consecutive overs on occasion (but never three), which explains why Mycroft bowled so many overs, as shown in the report and scorecard from the relevant pages of my “Wisden Cricket Anthology: 1864-1900”) appended in photographic form.

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A brief footnote: Hargreaves, the batting hero (or villain), also has a curious literary connection – he married Alice Pleasance Liddell, otherwise known as the Alice of “Alice in Wonderland” and “Alice Through The Looking Glass”.


Starting with those of fairly recent times, fast bowler Devon Malcolm (who later appeared for Leicestershire and Northamptonshire) was unlucky to miss out, given that he has a test match nine for to his credit. Fast medium bowler and useful lower order batter Dominic Cork might be considered unlucky, but Morton was a more complete player. Off spinning “all rounder” Geoff Miller, a contemporary of Bob Taylor’s, was actually not good enough in either department to merit a place (although he later did a good job as national selector). Mike Hendrick, a high class operator on the quick side of medium was overly worried about being hit and therefore tended no to pitch the ball up enough to get the wickets he should have done – he never managed a test five-for, which his best known England captain, Brearley, attributed to this failing (in “The Art of Captaincy” and his various Ashes accounts). There was an absolute stack of pace bowlers who had good records – Arnold Warren, George Pope, Bill Copson and Cliff Gladwin being the four most obvious. Danish express Ole Mortensen might also be thought unlucky in certain circles. Leg spinner Garnet Lee came close, but Mitchell was definitely superior. As far as I am aware, although I am open to correction, Derbyshire have never had a high class left arm spinner. Billy and Harry Storer both had solid records for the county, and but for Taylor’s achievements in that department Billy could have been nominated for the keeping role. Peter Bowler was a useful but dull batter (he later played for Somerset), and a candidate along with Kent specialist fast bowler Arthur Fielder for the “Oxymoron XI” if I can find nine others who did not do what their name suggests, however the fact that he topped 150 three times in a single season is not quite enough to warrant inclusion.

In view of the selection of Ollivierre I opted to eschew an official overseas player. Had I named one the honour would have gone to Michael Holding, aka “Whispering Death”, who would have replaced Les Jackson, and batted at no 8 above Billy Bestwick. Eddie Barlow was a tough all-rounder who many would have considered for the overseas player role, and the captaincy.

Performing this exercise with Derbyshire as the subject has been tough for the reverse of the usual reasons. The general problem one encounters when doing this is just where the truest gold is located in amongst a positive embarrassment of riches, but with the signal exception of pace bowling options the problem here is the reverse one of actually finding anyone good enough.


Our look at Derbyshire is complete, and all that is left is my usual sign off…

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Full moon pics from last night
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..and then edited again.

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I spotted this jay just too late.

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A bug crawling on my right hand (very close zoom)
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The text here is footnote sized (In Jardine’s account of the 1932-3 “In Quest of the Ashes”.

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The bug is on the left of this shot, with the bottom part of an old fashioned pub beer mug on the right (it contained water, ftr).

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still only one bud on the fuchsia.

Cricket, Music and Local Elections

Some cricket, some music including references to the Classic FM Hall of Fame, some stuff about upcoming local elections and some photographs.


An odd combination of topics to appear in a title, but all will be made clear in the course of this post. There will of course be some of my photographs as well. 


The English cricket season is well underway. Because of an alteration to the structure of the two divisions of first class counties last season to a first division of eight teams and a second division of ten teams, it is now possible for all 18 first class counties to be in action simultaneously, as was not the case when there were nine teams in each division. Over this Easter weekend, for the first time since 1999 (the last season of the single division championship) all 18 of said sides have been in action. Glamorgan lost heavily to Worcestershire before today was underway. Leicestershire had also suffered an innings defeat at the hands of Gloucestershire. Essex and Somerset also finished early, a century from Alastair Cook anchoring Essex in their fourth innings chase of 255. Warwickshire only kept their match against Yorkshire alive into the fourth day because of some assistance from the weather, and having started the season with back to back innings defeats, and three shocking batting performances out of four innings, they must be considered heavy favourites for one of the relegation spots from division 1. Of the five remaining matches, Nottinghamshire are nearly done and dusted against Durham (since I wrote this Nottinghamshire have completed the job as expected, with nine wickets in hand), and it would also seem to be only a matter of time before Kent finish the job against Sussex (this match has also subsequently reached its predicted conclusion). A draw looks the most likely result in the Surrey versus Lancashire, although Surrey are not out of the woods yet. Hampshire and Middlesex also looks like being a draw, although again the Londoners are not quite safe yet. That leaves only…


Overnight this also looked like a draw was the most likely result, with Derbyshire 128 runs to the good with 10 second winnings standing. However, some behind the scenes discussions obviously took place, since Northamptonshire spent the morning session of today feeding Derbyshire easy runs, handing Reece (168) and Godleman (156 not out) a new record opening stand for Derbyshire. A declaration at 351-1 left Northamptonshire two sessions to score 326 for victory. Whatever happens in these two session neither team will emerge from this match with much credit in my book. While Northamptonshire’s motivation was obvious, Derbyshire could easily have declined the offer, backing their batsmen to score off proper bowling. 


The long Easter weekend is when the Classic FM Hall of Fame is unveiled. It is assembled from listener votes. Each participant votes for their first, second and third favourite pieces of classical music, and the votes are all tallied up. The Hall of Fame comprises the top 300 pieces that emerge at the end of the process, and they are played counting down from 300 to 1 between 10AM and 10PM on each day of the weekend (it used when it first started to be 9AM to 9PM). This is the first occasion on which there has been a clash between the Hall of Fame and live cricket. I have resolved that clash by listening to the cricket when it has been on five live sports extra, and to the music at other times. The only exception to this was on Saturday afternoon, when it was time for…


A shortage of available NAS West Norfolk Committee members meant that I was there for both sessions. The attendances were unsurprisingly low in both sessions. However, those who were able to make it had a good time. In the second session I renewed my acquaintanceship with Scratch 2, and next time I shall be moving on to another aspect of this program. Here are some pictures…

Kirsten, one of the two people from Musical Keys who run these sessions, at a very impressive looking keyboard.


I shall be adding some mathematics to the mix in two weeks time.


Various places in the UK will be going to the polls on May 4th. Last time I mentioned this subject I said that I was between Labour and Green, and leaning towards Green. Since then, although I have yet to receive anything from any candidates a search of the King’s Lynn & West Norfolk borough council website turned up the following information about who was standing:


In view of the fact that there are three candidates in this list of four for whom I am absolutely unwilling to vote and that I regard failing to vote as unacceptable my vote will therefore go to Mr Collis, and I urge others who are voting in this election to cast their votes for Mr Collis as well.

Moving on from my own area, there also elections taking place much more extensively in Wales and Scotland. 


In Llanbadarn Fawr ward, Powys, the Labour Party candidate is none other than Mike Sivier of Vox Political, a fact which he announced in a post titled “Vote for Mike in the local elections!

– Vox Political’s Mike Sivier is standing as a Labour Party candidate for Powys County Council’s Llanbadarn Fawr ward – and there’s more to him than a nice smile [Image: Mike Sivier].

Today, Mike has put up another post about his candidacy under the title “Shadow cabinet minister is right – local elections are about CANDIDATES, not Corbyn“.


The big debate in Scotland at the moment is over whether or not there should be a second independence referendum (#IndyRef2) following the UK’s decision to withdraw from the EU, when Scotland was strongly pro-remain. It is not for me as a Sassenach to comment on whether or not Scottish independence is desirable since the only people who should be making decisions about the future of Scotland are the Scots, but I do believe that brexit is a sufficiently major change in circumstances as justify #IndyRef2, especially since one of the main claims of the no camp in 2014 was that an independent Scotland would not be able to join the EU. It would appear, if the article to which I link at the end of this section is anything to go on that the Tories seek to make the local elections in Scotland a sort of ‘pre-referendum’. Anyway, here courtesy of the website, is a post that goes into detail on the issue, titled “Sending a message

Towards Indyref2…


I posted some photographs in the music section of this post, and I finish the post with some pictures mainly from outside…

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During the time it took to put the above photos up both Middlesex & Hampshire and Surrey & Lancashire have shaken hands on the predicted draws. These means that only the ‘declaration bowling’ game between Derbyshire and Northamptonshire is still to be settled.