So, its raining at Worcester, typical. Just when we were well set for a last day victory charge to knock off the required 404...
Never mind, we'll await developments as the day progresses and look forward - or more accurately back - at our next fixture, a home game against Middlesex. We had a good game against them at Lords and probably should have done better than we did, a poor last day bowling performance letting them win a fairly close game.
We'd all settle for a repeat of the game between the two sides that took place in July 1957, a year in which we finished fourth but at one point won six successive matches to surge to the top of the table. A feature of this run was the fact that the side was able to remain unchanged and although a defeat at Edgbaston ended it and signalled a slump in form, they were in good heart when the southern county visited Chesterfield on July 17th.
The first day was curtailed by the weather but Middlesex limped along to 74-4 by the end of the day in conditions that suited our attack. Headed by the legendary Cliif Gladwin and Les Jackson, all rounder Derek Morgan was a fine first change bowler while Edwin Smith's cannyoff spin offered variation. Middlesex had no Denis Compton, but Jack Robertson and Bill Edrich were still in a strong batting line up, as were future England players Fred Titmus and wicket keeper John Murray.
The following day (Thursday) the remaining batsmen had little offer against Gladwin and they were all out for just 102, Cliff bowling 25 overs and taking 6-23. There were also two wickets each for Smith and Morgan, Jackson unusually going wicket-less.
Derbyshire also struggled on a lively wicket that suffered the effects of rain. Charlie Lee and John Kelly added 41 for the second wicket and George Dawkes and Morgan a very valuable 50 stand for the seventh, but few batsmen got established and Lee's 33 was top score in a total of 153.
A deficit of 51 on first innings against the Derbyshire attack on that wicket would have worried Middlesex, but they could have had no idea what was to follow when they began their second innings just after 6pm. Jackson removed the prolific Jack Robertson leg before wicket in the first over before Gladwin took over. After a single had got the scoreboard moving, he bowled Baldry then had the dogged Edrich and Titmus held in his leg-trap without further score. Middlesex were 1-4...
Gale and Delisle battled to take the score up to 9 and hoped to make it through to stumps but the former was caught behind from Gladwin's bowling and then Cliff held a caught and bowled to remove Murray immediately to leave the score on 9-6 with his tally being five wickets. His first three overs had seen figures of 3-3-0-3. Even regulars, used to their bowling, had seen little like this. Extra time was claimed to claim a 2-day win but the rain returned and Middlesex went back to their hotel with a score of 11-6. Gladwin's figures at this stage were 5 wickets for 5 runs and 10-17 in the day.
The next morning Jackson removed Delisle, clean bowled and then had Tilly lbw to leave the score 13-8. Hurst came in and was promptly run out (probably trying to keep away from the bowling!) and Middesex were 13-9. Don Bennett, later a coach at Lords, battled his way to an unbeaten 14 and became the only Middlesex batsman to make double figures in each innings before Derek Morgan had last man Alan Moss caught by Arnold Hamer to leave the visitors all out for 29 and Derbyshire winners by an innings and 22.
Most good judges felt that had their innings continued on the Thursday evening they would not have made 20, but Gladwin had second innings figures of 14-8-18-5 and Jackson had 11-6-7-3.
Today with covered wickets such tracks are unknown, but so are the skills for both batting and bowling on them. When the wicket "flies" there is a tendency to bowl short, but Jackson and Gladwin knew the length alright.
An interesting aside to this is that the two innings for Middlesex lasted 97 overs, with the only extras being four first innings byes and two second innings leg byes. Not a no ball or wide in sight, in stark contrast to Worcester the other day. There's a lot to be learned from the old 'uns.