Proud Derbyshire reach a playing milestone when they take on Worcestershire at Kidderminster on Sunday because it will be the county’s 4,000th game in all formats.
The club’s heritage officer and statistician David Griffin has delved into the history books to reveal how Derbyshire’s cricketing odyssey began on May 26, 1871 when they played Lancashire at Old Trafford in their first-ever fixture.
The game was won by an innings and 11 runs, and their next six first-class matches were also played against Lancashire over the course of four seasons.
Kent and Nottinghamshire agreed to provide the opposition in ensuing campaigns, while teams like the United North of England XI, MCC and the first tourists to visit the county, Australia, also met Derbyshire before the start of the 20th century.
By then, the County Championship had been formalised, but still the occasional oddity arose, most notably the 1908 fixture at Derby against the Gentlemen of Philadelphia, a first-class game which the visitors won.
Derbyshire’s 100th game was against Surrey in 1884, and their 1,000th arrived in that golden summer of 1936 when they won the County Championship.