After the decisions that went in to choosing letters A to D, even ET could choose the winner of letter E. Whatever way you look at it, the answer is going to be Elliott...
Eggar was an attractive stroke player when available from teaching
commitments in the late 1940s and early 1950's, while Peter Eyre
contributed with bat and ball in the 1960's. Eyre's great moment, of
course, came in the Gillette Cup semi-final at Chesterfield in 1969,
when he took six Sussex wickets and was close to being unplayable.
However, the choice really comes down to two men, both named Elliott.
My second choice would be Charlie Elliott. An opening batsman of great
determination, he scored over 11,000 runs for the county. His peak came
after the Second World War, when he scored a thousand runs in six
successive seasons. A career average of only 27 per innings was not
spectacular, but in the context of the county game at that time he was a
He later became a first-class umpire and was highly respected, standing
in 42 Test matches. Latterly he served on the club committee for ten
years, giving great service alongside his former captain and colleague
Guy Willatt. He was the last of Derbyshire's pre-war cricketers to die,
at the age of 91 in 2004.
Yet for me it was his uncle, Harry, who is number one. Born in 1891, he
joined the county staff in 1920 after the First World War at the age of
29. There was no 'discrepancy', as the club site puts it, over his age.
He simply lied about it and took four years off, as he would never have
got a county contract at his real age of 29. He only revealed this fact
at a players reunion in 1967, which meant his last appearance came at
the age of 55!
He was a sticker as a batsman. always at his best when staving off a
defeat. A first class record of only 14 per innings tells that he never
fulfilled early promise, but he sold his wicket dearly and when runs
were needed he had a distinctive 'mow' through mid wicket from one knee
that brought him many runs.
While Bob Taylor later passed his aggregate of victims, Elliott still
holds the club record dismissals in an innings, a match and a season. He
also took more stumpings in a season than anyone else (30)and was a
very good wicket-keeper over a career that spanned 25 years.
Most astonishingly, in 1935 he didn't allow a bye in 25 completed
innings. This speaks volumes for the accuracy of the attack, but with
two spinners in Townsend and Mitchell it says much more for Harry
Elliott. After his career ended he became a successful first class
umpire and county coach, while for years he ran a sports shop in Derby
with Derby County footballer Sammy Crooks.
Derbyshire have been well served over the years by their glovemen. While
Bob Taylor is still the benchmark, there have been few better than
Harry Elliott, a deserved winner of the E award.
As for the Fs, there's not too many candidates, I'll warn you now...