Hampshire Cricket History

Fewer Championship Matches?
April 30, 2010, 6:27 pm
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It’s been an open secret for some months that the ECB intends to reduce the number of Championship matches from next season. In today’s Guardian there is a report that some counties are unhappy with the five options offered to which they must respond by 4 June. The rationale for reduction is to free up time for players to rest and for more T20 cricket.

The five proposals are: (1) Three divisions of six teams playing five day championship matches, (2) Three American-style conferences with play-offs, (3) Two divisions of nine (as now) but playing fewer matches (ie not everyone twice), (4) a Premier Division of eight teams with two x five  regional division one counties, (5) Three divisions of seven teams (adding three new minor counties)

(SUNDAY 2 May) In his weekly column in the Telegraph, former cricketer Steve James adds some details under the heading “Ridiculous ECB County Plan is the Last Straw”. He reports that the final decision is due in early July and describes the people responsible (ECB including the counties) as “utterly clueless and incompetent” adding that the report is a “ludicrous composition of fudges, non-sequiturs and self-interest”.

Yorkshire and Durham have apparently protested that the options do not include retaining the current system. At Radio Solent’s pre-season Forum that was the preference of the Hampshire members and supporters attending.

Historically, the early years of the Championship were a jumble, with teams playing different numbers of matches. When Hampshire won the title in 1961 they played every side twice (32 games) but not everyone did. After the establishment of the full range of limited overs cricket in the early 1970s, Championship games were reduced to around 20 per season and from 1988, four-day cricket was introduced until gradually (2000) we moved to two divisions and 16 matches. Now it will be reduced again.

April 28, 2010, 8:05 pm
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SUNDAY: Against Durham, only a decent last wicket partnership enabled Hampshire to avoid their heaviest runs margin defeat in a 40 overs match, exactly 40 years since Gloucestershire defeated them by 152 runs at Bristol (1970). On that occasion, Hampshire, chasing 230 to win reached 47-0 and then lost all 10 wickets for 30. On Sunday, Riazuddin and Tomlinson shared a last wicket partnership of 25 – Hampshire’s highest of the innings – to save them from the ‘record’. Both men recorded their highest List A scores.

WEDNESDAY: It seemed around lunch with Warwickshire 97-7 that things were improving but Chris Woakes had scored just one century before – 131* against us at the Rose Bowl last year – and today he passed that with 136*. He also took part in a record 8th wkt stand for Warwickshire against Hampshire. During the past decade Warwickshire have set records against Hampshire for the 8th wkt (222* in 2009), 9th wkt (104 today) and 10th wkt (214 in 2002)

April 28, 2010, 5:02 pm
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The picture shows the 2nd XI taking the field at the Rose Bowl for Gloucestershire’s second innings today with the visitors needing just 77 to win in four sessions. Hampshire beat the same team in their limited overs match on Monday but in this game were bowled out for 121 and 197. There were half-centuries for Howell and Dawson and Australian Johnson top-scored with 72. For Hampshire, Shaeed Afridi’s younger brother took four wickets. Other Hampshire players included left-arm seamer Chris Wood (centre above), David Balcombe, Michael Bates and fellow wicketkeeper Rouse and Hamza Riazuddin. Is this history? It will be.

April 16, 2010, 6:37 am
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Last year there were rumours that University matches v counties would no longer be deemed first class. I had a number of email conversations with various people yesterday about Hampshire’s match with the Oxford students – wondering particularly whether our young players Michael Bates and Chris Wood had now made their first-class debuts. The answer is YES as you can see from the helpful message below from the MCC. They are therefore numbers 503 and 504 and the Atrium players board that was updated in the winter is out-of-date again (with at least a couple more to come this year).

Over the winter there were discussions about the First Class status of MCCU matches, but as I write, all of the centres, except Cardiff MCCU and Leeds/Bradford MCCU have First Class status and as such, will be playing in First Class matches against the counties.

Kate Mathève, MCC Cricket Office Manager, Marylebone Cricket Club

NOVEL HISTORY: The Clay Dreaming
April 14, 2010, 6:04 pm
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There is a recently published and interesting novel about the visit of the Aborigines to England in 1868 – the first touring side from Australia. It’s a fine work that centres on the tragic death on the tour of one of their team – ‘King Cole’ – and it has a Hampshire link. On 15 & 16 June he was a member of the side that travelled from Lord’s Ground and lost by an innings to East Hampshire in a match played in Southsea at a ground that no longer exists.

The East Hants Club Ground was south of Albert Road close to where the Taswell Arms now stands. Poor ‘King Cole’ never played again. He was taken sick with tuberculosis and lies buried in London. The book is entitled The Clay Dreaming by Ed Hillyer and it’s a very good read.

You can find the scores to that match, the whole tour and other East Hants Club matches on the excellent Cricket Archive site. Perhaps the most accomplished East Hants player was James Southerton who played a great many first class matches – mainly for Surrey and Sussex but also for Hampshire, as well as two Test Matches. The Ede brothers were other notable players. In the match against the Aborigines, E Money scored 77*.

April 9, 2010, 5:53 pm
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Last season David Griffiths and Danny Briggs were the first pair of Isle of Wight cricketers ever to appear in the same Championship match for Hampshire. The young uncapped (and England Under-19) players made a splendid start to the new season. While Hampshire’s senior bowlers could not get a wicket against Essex, they took three each on the opening day and slow-left armer Briggs (3-63) has given the selectors a headache as another slow left-armer Sri Lankan Test player Rangana Herath arrives next week. Mind you in both 1961 and 1973 Hampshire won the Championship with two slow left-armers so …

Griffiths finished with 5-85 and both he and Briggs recorded their best figures in First Class Cricket. Kabir Ali on debut also took 5-33 but even those efforts and a fine Adams century could not prevent defeat.

Alec Bedser
April 5, 2010, 3:53 pm
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(Easter Monday: 5 April). We have learned of the death yesterday evening of the great Surrey & England bowler. He was neither born in nor played for Hampshire but sometimes the greatest cricketers warrant a tribute and the picture shows him bowling at Portsmouth in 1957 (umpire Winston Place). Note the very full (old) Rugby Stand for this mid-week first game in the annual Pompey week. Surrey – in the middle of seven consecutive titles – hammered Hampshire. They scored 386-6 dec (May 97) and dismissed Hampshire twice for a combined total of 351 of which Roy Marshall scored 56 and 111. This was all the more remarkable as he had a stitched face from an injury in the previous game. Marshall played against Bedser eight times and scored this century and five fifties as well as taking 6-36 when Hampshire won in 1956. Of this particular innings in 1957, his captain Desmond Eagar said “Certainly no finer display of batting had been seen in Hampshire since the war” (H. Handbook for 1958)

Sir Alec took 5-21 in his first match against Hampshire in 1946 when Surrey won by 9 wkts in two days at Guildford. He also took 7-38 and 3-7 in another victory (Oval) in June 1954 and 9-106 in the match at Portsmouth in 1956. He captained Surrey against Hampshire in his last couple of years including an enthralling draw at Portsmouth in 1959. In his final appearance against Hampshire he held two catches and dismissed Peter Sainsbury in a match that rain reduced to a single day. It was probably the only way you might get Alec Bedser to play one day cricket. In recent years he visited the Rose Bowl with the Surrey Committee. We shall miss him when Surrey next appear.

April 2, 2010, 5:02 pm
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Ref the piece (below) on Overseas players, Hampshire have announced (2 April) the additional signing of Rangana Herath for the early weeks of the season. He is a 32-year-old left-arm spin bowler from Sri Lanka who made his first-class debut in 1996 and his Test debut in 1999. Mendis is in the SL T20 World Cup squad so not available but will arrive later in the season.

Herath has played in 21 Tests. His first-class batting average is around 16 with 11 fifties in 178 matches and he has taken 653 wickets in first-class matches. It’s a good omen. When Hampshire had overseas left-armer David O’Sullivan in 1973 they won the Championship. This brings to five the number of overseas players signed by Hampshire for all or part of the current season (inc Kolpack McKenzie) although they cannot all play at once.