November 22, 2000

Derbyshire sign Illingworth and Welch

Staff and Agencies

Richard Illingworth
Richard Illingworth: Experience will help Derbyshire
Photo © Paul McGregor CricInfo Ltd.

Derbyshire have signed former Worcestershire and England left-arm spinner Richard Illingwoth, and former Warwickshire all-rounder Graeme Welch.

Illingworth, 37, has taken over 800 wickets and struck four centuries in his first-class career to date, but was released by Worcestershire at the end of the 2000 season after 18 years of service. He has signed a two-year deal.

Graeme Welch has signed a three-year deal after suffering from a lack of opportunities at Edgbaston last season.

Illingworth, who famously took a wicket with his first ball in Test cricket, expressed his delight at the new start. "I haven't been bowling a lot of overs in four-day cricket," he admitted. " I was only getting five to 10 in an innings, and a spinner needs to be bowling more than that."

Derbyshire vice-captain Tim Munton also commented on how useful Illingworth's advice would be for the younger players in the Derby dressing room: "The advice and help Richard can pass on to the younger spinners will be very valuable."

The signings will do little to allay the fears of Derbyshire supporters worried about the lack of young talent in their team. Last winter saw Derbyshire sign Tim Munton and Rob Bailey, while more than a dozen younger players left the club amid claims that they are becoming something of a 'Dad's Army' outfit.