Only five times in over 140 years has Derbyshire won a trophy.
There have been times since 1993 – when Derbyshire beat Lancashire at Lord’s to win the Benson and Hedges Cup – when it seemed unlikely that there would ever be another piece of silverware to display at The County Ground.
But during the 2012 season, from the gloom, cold and dampness of early season, through the gloom, cold and dampness of high summer, to the gloom, cold and dampness of the season’s end, Derbyshire’s side played dynamic, positive, courageous and skilful cricket and were deservedly promoted as Champions of the LV= County Championship 2nd division.
As the club photographer for the last 9 seasons, following Derbyshire has been a radical departure from simply watching on the boundary. For 31 seasons I was content to sit on the ring and applaud the good shots, moan at the bad ones and generally enjoy the fellowship of cricket-watching.
Being a snapper means that players, spectators and sponsors expect the wicket-taking delivery to be captured along with debut performances, acknowledgements of innings landmarks, run-outs, mascots, and man of the match presentations – the lot. Accordingly, the only solution is to photograph every single delivery that Derbyshire bowl, along with a good proportion of the balls the batsmen face.
Over the course of 87 days cricket in 2012 that meant in the region of 50,000 photographs, carefully reduced down to about 1,000 for website publication…and now reduced further to just a single dozen to reflect the glorious success of 2012.
1 The start of things to come
The first game of the season defined the entire season in many ways. It was bitterly cold on all four days and the floodlights – re-introduced to four day cricket in 2012 – were on longer than they were off. Without them, there would not have been a result. David Wainwright announced his arrival in the Derbyshire side with a superb second innings performance, claiming 6-33, the second best debut bowling effort in the Club’s history and the best for over a century. This was the final wicket to fall and this shot is the prelude to uproarious celebrations as the bowler Durston was chased across the outfield by his team mates.
2 Hat Trick
Hat tricks are rare and a Derbyshire player hadn’t taken one since 2000 (Kevin Dean) when Tony Palladino, on another bitterly cold morning at Grace Road, raced in from the Bennett End and captured three wickets in three deliveries. There can be no more satisfying sight in cricket for a fast bowler than that of stumps flying out of the ground, and even more so when it’s a hat trick delivery. The icing on the cake was that the batsman was Ramnaresh Sarwan. Palladino’s wickets throughout the season were a major contributing factor to the title success.
Derbyshire hadn’t defeated Essex in a first-class fixture at Chelmsford since before the 1936 Championship title win…so history was made as Karl Krikken’s men comprehensively beat the hosts in a one-sided game inside three days at Chelmsford. In the only truly sunny and occasionally hot conditions of the summer, Derbyshire produced a perfect performance with stand-out efforts from Wainwright (eight wickets), Durston (a sublime hundred) and a maiden 50 for Poynton. This shot was taken as Derbyshire’s openers Guptill and Borrington come together in mid-pitch after smashing an unbeaten 96 runs for the first wicket in just 18 overs to secure victory during the final session on the third day.
4 Redfern’s Style
Dan Redfern has always been good to watch, but in 2012 he delivered the runs to match. This shot was taken during his innings of 46 against Essex at Derby in August but I could have selected one of hundreds taken during his two stylish hundreds, or his six half centuries. Redfern deservedly received his County Cap and will doubtless relish the opportunity to shine against Division One bowling attacks in 2013.
5 Captain and Confidant
All captains need a right hand man and Wayne Madsen always had Tim Groenewald at his disposal throughout the 2012 season. Groenewald – often the unsung member of the side – played all formats of cricket for Derbyshire in 2012 and his 42 LV= County Championship wickets at only 25 apiece were crucial in securing Derbyshire’s title.
6 That Winning Feeling
A photographer is always seeking that magic moment that encapsulates a moment in time. A Derbyshire victory over Kent at Derby in August looked highly unlikely until Dan Redfern was joined by Tim Groenewald to steer the side to victory in front of a nail-biting, almost frenzied and passionate Derby crowd. This was the moment when victory was clinched and added to the belief that Derbyshire meant business in the promotion race.
7 Records and more records
The match at Wantage Road was drawn, but it almost felt like a victory such was the way Derbyshire transformed the game after Northants had made 400 in their first innings and Derbyshire were reduced to 253-8. When the close of play came on the 3rd day some 72 overs later, Derbyshire’s first innings had still only lost eight wickets with Wayne Madsen and Tom Poynton both recording career bests. Their 9th wicket partnership of 261 was the second highest for that wicket in the history of the game only bettered by Warren and Chapman, also for Derbyshire, in 1910. Here, the valiant pair leaves the field at the close of play on the 3rd day.
8 Do you take sugar?
The final day of the game against Gloucestershire at Derby was the closest I’ve ever come to abandoning my position on the boundary because of the cold. It goes without saying that no sane person would ever contemplate spending seven hours sitting in the garden in the sort of conditions that cricket spectators routinely do watching the game they love. I remember the touring Indians in 1979 having tea and coffee at the drinks break at Derby, but never before in a county match.
Wes Durston takes a sharp catch to dismiss Essex’ Napier at Derby in August. Durston has been a revelation since John Morris rescued him from relative obscurity in 2010 and his all-round efforts in every form of the game have ensured he is firmly cemented in the Derbyshire side as a senior - and capped – player. 800 runs at 35 and 22 wickets at 25 – plus catches like this - were crucial to Derbyshire’s title triumph.
Miller and Tunnicliffe jumping up and down together at Lord’s in 1981; Goldsmith and Adams embracing mid-pitch at Derby in 1990; Frank Griffith mobbed by his team mates at Lord’s in 1993. I suppose in 1936 it would have been a brusque handshake and a word of congratulations. Ross Whiteley and Usman Khawaja join that band of very special players who were at the wicket at the moment of a Derbyshire triumph. This was merely the cue for celebrations not seen at Derby since the Sunday League triumph in 1990.
11 After the glitter fades
Karl Krikken has seen it all at Derbyshire from promising youngster through to senior player with two trophies and hundreds of dismissals and thousands of runs in between. As a Head Coach, victory has come early in his tenure. This shot was actually taken after the third day of the final game against Hampshire when promotion – but not yet the title – had been secured. Kit is scattered everywhere, all the players have disappeared, but the architect of the success remains - calm, unflustered, and victorious.
12 A different triumph
A couple of days after the Derbyshire promotion party had subsided; cricket was still being played at the County Ground. This shot was taken during a disabled cricket final involving players of varying disabilities and offered a humbling reminder that the game we all watch, play and love is there for all and that whilst a triumph for Derbyshire was winning the County Championship Division Two title, for some, a triumph is simply being able to participate.
2013 will see the start of my fifth decade as a Derbyshire member and it will offer as great a challenge as I’ve seen for Derbyshire’s players. But gone are the days when players want to leave for pastures new and to play a better standard of cricket – it’s now possible to play that better standard and to be a winner by staying with Derbyshire! More importantly, this squad of winners now has a chance to mix it with the best that county cricket can offer.
The squad is settled and confident and will be hugely boosted by the arrival of Shivnarine Chanderpaul. For too long, the great names of Derbyshire’s past have echoed around county cricket as a reminder of the failings of the more recent past.
Derbyshire now has some new heroes and an opportunity to further enhance their reputations in the First Division. We cannot know how they will fare until the winter weather subsides and the first warmth of the spring sun is upon us, but regardless of what 2013 brings, those who witnessed the winning of only the 5th trophy in our history will remember with satisfaction and great pride.
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