Derby - County Cricket Ground
Nottingham Road : DE21 6DA
Derby - County Cricket Ground : Map credit National Library of Scotland Derby - County Cricket Ground : Image credit Google maps The Racecourse was used for several sports including bicycle racing, which took place on a cinder track at the paddock. Derby County Cricket Club had a ground at the racecourse and bicycle racers were held on the cricket pitch from 1891 on a marked out grass track, usually 3¼ laps to the mile.

Derby County FC and Derby Harriers joined together to promote a sports meeting on July 18th 1891. The bicycle races were one mile open handicap (safeties only), half mile handicap (safeties barred) and one mile open handicap. The champion rider Herbert Synyer (nicknamed the Nottingham Pet) rode at the meeting.

Racing at the County Ground continued for the next four years with crowds of around 5,000 and four bicycle racing events. Derby County FC promoted their 4th annual sports on July 21st 1894. This was to be the last bicycle racing at the County Ground for some time as Derby County FC moved to the Baseball Ground in 1895.

Racing at the County Ground resumed after several years with a meeting organised by the NCU on July 16th 1910. At the event there was a draw with the entry tickets, the prize was a Rudge-Whitworth bicycle. There were six bicycle racing events including a ½ mile scratch race which was won by CB Kingsbury*. The attendance was estimated as up to 10,000. The unbanked grass track was 3¼ laps to the mile and thirty feet wide. There was a 3 miles motorcycle race at the meeting and in this event, a motorcycle lost control and crashed into the crowd unfortunately killing an 11 year old girl spectator. There were no railings or safety fences around the track.

The NCU and the National Athletics Association promoted a cycling and athletics meeting at the County Ground on July 22nd 1911. There were 600 competitors, amongst them Ernie Payne who won a gold medal in the team pursuit at the 1908 London Olympics. The cycle races were; ½ mile novices handicap, ¼ and ½ mile open handicap, ½ mile scratch and a 2 miles open race for the NCU (Derby district) Championship. 5,000 spectators watched the sports.

This was to be the last cycle racing at the County Ground. The cricket ground still exists and is the home of Derbyshire County Cricket Club. There have been one day internationals and ICC World cup cricket matches at the ground.

* Clarence Brickwood Kingsbury won two gold medals at the 1908 London Olympics, in the 20km race and the team pursuit, alongside Leon Meredith, Ernie Payne and Ben Jones. Kingsbury won all seven NCU national championships from ¼ mile to 50 miles.

Refs     : [p]
Photos : Google maps
Maps    : National Library of Scotland