David Griffin takes a look back at a brief history of Derbyshire County Cricket Club at the home of Sussex Cricket, Hove.
When Derbyshire take on Sussex at Hove in their LV= County Championship Division One match - beginning tomorrow (2nd August) at 11am - it will be the first time the two sides have met at the seafront location in first-class cricket since that blessed summer of 1996, when Derbyshire came close to winning the County Championship.
This will be the 123rd scheduled meeting between Derbyshire and Sussex in Championship cricket, although two of those games were abandoned without a ball being bowled. In the remaining 120 matches, Derbyshire triumphed on 34 occasions to Sussex’s 38 with 48 draws.
Derbyshire’s last visit to Sussex to play red ball cricket was at Horsham in 2010 and before that to the delightful ground at Arundel in 2001 – on both occasions Sussex prevailed.
However, that game in 1996 saw Derbyshire claim a 47-run victory with Adrian Rollins, Kim Barnett and Tim O’Gorman all scoring half centuries and Karl Krikken adding 48, while Devon Malcolm was the destroyer-in-chief with five wickets in each innings.
Head Coach, Krikken, has a special association with the ground – in 1987 he made his maiden first-team appearance for Derbyshire in a John Player League match, and in 2011 his first game in charge of the side was also at Hove in the 40-over competition.
One of the more remarkable matches at Hove saw Fred Swarbrook produce an outstanding performance for Derbyshire in 1975. Derbyshire won by 179 runs in a game where the highest single innings score was only 229. Swarbrook scored an undefeated 69 in the first innings and took 4 for 42 off 21 overs when Sussex batted. In the Sussex second innings he recorded one of the most outstanding analyses in the history of Derbyshire cricket - 10 overs, 2 maidens, 20 runs for 9 wickets! His match figures with the ball were 31-10-62-13.
Other recent highlights include Michael Holding’s 1988 then world record one-day bowling performance of 8-21 in the second round of the Nat West Trophy while in 1990 Derbyshire won a one-innings Championship game by just 18 runs thanks mainly to Barnett’s 123 and Bishop’s 5-90. Earlier that same season, Derbyshire got their successful Refuge Assurance League campaign off to the best possible start when Adrian Kuiper and Chris Adams peppered the boundaries to bring off an unlikely victory in the opening game of the season.
The ground itself is a throwback to an earlier age. It now boasts a Media Centre and a modern, concrete and plastic stand, but the old pavilion remains as quirky as ever and the deckchairs – for which a charge is levied – make spectators feel as if they’re really on holiday in this suburb of Brighton.
Throw in a chorus of ‘Sussex by the Sea’ from a handful of the Sussex old guard, and you really couldn’t wish for many better places to watch county cricket.
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