The son of John Birch, who made 250 appearances for Nottinghamshire in the 1970s and 80s, Dan Birch was playing club cricket in the Derbyshire Premier League as recently as 2006.
The left-hander served notice of his talent with two-half-centuries on his debut for Kent second XI that season, as well as a hundred in a one-day game.
Birch won a contract with Derbyshire for the 2007 season, and made an immediate impression by hitting a century before lunch on his debut against Cambridge University.
He smashed 130 off 119 balls in that game at Fenners and followed up with 95 on his LV County Championship debut at the expense of Gloucestershire.
Though Birch made only 11 runs in five further championship innings that season, he averaged 30 in six Friends Provident Trophy matches.
He missed the end of the 2007 season through injury, but his tally of 609 championship runs the following year was bettered only by overseas player Chris Rogers.
After an indifferent 2008 he failed to make a senior appearance in 2009 and was released alongside Steve Stubbings and Dominic Telo.