The 22-year-old, resuming the second day of the Division One County Championship match on 171, carried his bat for a splendid 270 as the visitors converted their overnight 302 for four, into 475 all out against Yorkshire.
All told, Hughes counted 40 fours and three sixes in an innings that spanned lasted a shade over nine hours and consumed 415 balls.
He came within just five runs of breaking the George Davidson’s record for the highest first class score for Derbyshire set back in 1896, but ran out of partners.
Hughes’s knock was the highest County score by a visiting batsman at Headingley and only the iconic Sir Donald George Bradman, outstanding England batsman John Edrich and Australian Darren Lehman have ever scored more at the ground.
“We had a good crowd in, a good atmosphere, and it’s a great place to play. I just wanted to take in as much as I can because moments like that don’t happen often,” said Hughes.
“Big runs were far away from my mind when I started the innings – I was just trying to play and fit into the side basically. But I got into some rhythm, and the challenge got me going. It wasn’t easy by any means – it was a challenge all the way through.”
He was quick to praise fellow Anguillian Cardigan Connor, the seamer who had a long, distinguished career for Hampshire in the 1980s and 90s, and who still serves as a mentor.
Incidentally, it was Connor who introduced Hughes to English league cricket, which paved the way for his Derbyshire contract.
“I’ve been speaking to Cardigan at every interval – he was always on the other side of a text message telling me to keep going,” Hughes said.
“I was aware of the record, and I thought about it when Tim (Groenewald) came out to bat – I tried to get it earlier in the over he got out in. I would have loved to have got there, but the record isn’t mine.”
The score was Hughes’s highest in first class cricket and his fifth first class hundred, and it broke a lean spell which had yielded 24 runs from his last three outings.
At the close, Yorkshire were in strong reply at 164 for one.