Hampshire Cricket History

February 28, 2013, 1:34 pm
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Hampshire have just announced that membership figures for 2013 are significantly up on this point last year and around 3,000 already

In the Accounts to 31 October 1906 published in The Hampshire County Cricket Guidethey declared that  967 members had paid £1,119-15s-6d. One year later  (October 1907) the number of members exceeded one thousand for the first time: 1045 paying £1,234-5s-9d.

The Guide published the names and addresses of all members in alphabetical order. In later years these were organised by local areas.

1907 (part one)
February 28, 2013, 12:37 pm
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CAR Hoare was President

This is the Hampshire side v Gloucestershire in late August which Gloucestershire won by 5 wickets.  Three men in this side, Bacon, Jesson and Persse would die on active service in the Great War. Lawson’s son Howard played for Hampshire in the 1930s.

February 28, 2013, 11:06 am
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Champions: Kent.

After the years of gloom and heavy defeats, Hampshire won seven of their 20 matches and finished eighth (of 16 counties). CP Mead made his Championship debut and played in every Hampshire match in his first five seasons. Against Worcestershire at Portsmouth he passed 1,000 runs for the season at 19 years and 160 days – the youngest man ever to achieve that for the county. Fast bowler JR Badcock from Christchurch made his debut and took 92 Championship wickets at 24.71. While Badcock would enjoy brief success at Hampshire a young man of greater importance, Jack Newman from Southsea, made his debut.

Hampshire began the season losing to Surrey and Yorkshire (despite Mead’s maiden century) and then the Army at Aldershot. Their opponents included a number of Hampshire players and AC Johnson scored 173 – he would later bat usefully for the county as would Major Poore in his last season with the county.

In the following match on the same ground, Surrey won by 10 wickets and Hampshire stayed in the north of the county, playing their first match at Basingstoke v Warwickshire – and another defeat. This poor start was reminiscent of the past few years but then they beat Derbyshire (AJL Hill 110) and the season turned. By August they enjoyed an unprecedented four wins and a draw in five matches. Hampshire’s fielders were involved in all 18 Northamptonshire wickets at Southampton, 15 caught, two run out and one stumped. Kent clinched the title at Bournemouth when they put out Hampshire for 163 and replied with 610. Even then the home side fought hard, scoring 410 in their second innings (Llewellyn 158).

The Hon Secretary met the Chief Constable of Southampton to enable cabs to park outside the ground at the close of play. Members were permitted to introduce friends into the pavilion at a charge of 2/6d.EG Wynyard captained the first MCC tour of New Zealand but returned home early with an injury.

February 27, 2013, 4:45 pm
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cp mead


Champions: Yorkshire.

Hampshire like Somerset won just one match and drew seven but they played and lost two more than the west country side and their 12 defeats consigned them to last place again. Hampshire played the first county match at Aldershot v Surrey who returned in 1906. CP Mead had come from the Oval and he made his first-class debut v Australians in 1905 – he had to wait another 12 months to qualify for the Championship. Although we came to think of him as Hampshire’s greatest run-scorer, in his early years he was an effective slow-left-armer (above) and in that first match he took 2-56 while the Australians amassed 620 with Victor Trumper scoring 92 and Hill, Noble and Gregory passing the century. In reply Hampshire were dismissed for 239 with Greig 66 and Mead at number eight, 41*. He opened as Hampshire followed-on and was run out without facing as Hampshire lost by an innings but Mead had shown his promise

Despite having to wait another year for Mead, the batting improved but the bowling remained weak – Baldwin was the leading wicket-taker with 63 wickets at the age of 44. Captain Greig scored centuries in both innings at Worcester while Sprot contributed 141 in a second wicket partnership of 221. Worcestershire beat Hampshire at Bournemouth in the final over having scored 280 in 145 minutes. Bowell confirmed his promise with 101 and 51 in the single victory, against Derbyshire at Southampton when Hesketh-Pritchard took 8-32.

Wicketkeeper Stone was another useful professional and he scored 174 out of 293 v Sussex at Portsmouth but the match was lost. Llewellyn also scored two centuries, at Derby in a drawn game while GN Bignell’s 109 v Kent at Portsmouth came on 15 August, almost four months before his 19th birthday. He was at that time and, until Liam Dawson in 2008, the youngest man to score a first-class century for the county – the next youngest are Phil Mead, James Vince, Robin Smith, Dick Moore and Gordon Greenidge. The amateur Bignell whose brother played briefly a few years earlier, also scored 244* for Alton v Trojans but failed to improve on his Championship century, despite playing 55 matches for Hampshire until 1925.

Northamptonshire become the 16th side admitted to the County Championship and won one, drew one v Hampshire in their first meetings. Llewellyn scored 50 for an England XI v the Australians in what became a thrilling finish at Bournemouth on 2 September. The Australians requiring 159 to win reached 153-6, lost three wickets for five runs but won by the single wicket. In the next match, Llewellyn scored a century for the Players in an innings victory over the Gentlemen

Membership stood at 974. A National Archery Meeting and then a Rose Show were held at the County Ground and gas was piped to the groundsman’s cottage, while the club took over responsibility for catering at the ground.

EG Wynyard played two Tests in South Africa in the winter.

1904 (part two)
February 26, 2013, 10:57 am
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Champions: Lancashire

Hampshire won two matches, both in August  but lost 12 and finished bottom of the table again. In one of their better performances AH Webb enjoyed a successful benefit match v Surrey at Southampton. The visitors scored 346 and Hampshire’s 297-5 was built around Webb’s 162* although sadly rain prevented a conclusion. Webb’s benefit realised £150 – a sign of dwindling support for a poor team. Major Poore returned but could not replicate his form of five years earlier although AJL Hill and AC Johnston played 14 innings each with reasonable results and the captain EM Sprot scored 916 Championship runs at 36.64 so the batting was just satisfactory.

Llewellyn took 40 wickets but at 37.15 each and he averaged under 15 with the bat. Hesketh-Pritchard led the attack with 62 wickets but topped the averages at nearly 25 each. Baldwin returned and took 33 wickets but Wynne-Thomas noted that the bowling was “feeble”.

Hampshire played their only match at Alton, v South Africans.  The tourists scored 380 (Tancred 99) and won by an innings & 19 runs, although Alec Bowell showed promise, scoring 65.  In the match at Southampton, Kent collapsed from 139-4 to 142 all out. Hampshire were 4-5 at Headingley and all out for 36; they lost nine consecutive matches, a run that was later equalled in 1946 and their victory at Derby by nine wickets in early August was their first in 27 matches.

That victory interrupted a run of very high scores against Hampshire – beginning with Yorkshire’s 549 in July the bowlers then conceded innings in successive matches of 410-8 dec, 510, 521, 346 then came the Derby victory followed by 508-9 dec, 517-9 dec and 552-7 dec before dismissing Kent for 115 at Tonbridge – but they still lost by 8 wickets as Colin Blythe too 9-30 which was the best of the English season. He took 28 wickets in four Hampshire innings.

CH Palmer played for Worcestershire v Oxford University and then played three times for Hampshire. CAR Hoare of Hamble was the new President, succeeding WG Nicholson. FJ Hopkins came from Birmingham to replace Mr Martin as Head Groundsman. 937 members paid £1087 in subscriptions – just £50 more than the annual cost of wages, labour and salaries. The best gates were the matches at Portsmouth against Sussex (£142) and Yorkshire (£140) although the county’s share of the Gents v Players match at Bournemouth was  £185-12s -3d. The county also received almost £50 from a football match between Southampton and Portsmouth.

1904 (part one)
February 25, 2013, 11:12 am
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Hampshire v Yorkshire at Portsmouth 11-13 July

Yorkshire won by an innings & 18 runs:

Yorkshire 549 (Hirst 152, Tunnicliffe 128, Rhodes 98, Hill 3-60)

Hampshire 331 (Sprot 118, Webb 83, Hill 68, Hirst 5-95) & 200 (Myers 3-52)

Septimus Brutton (seated right) who had played for Northumberland made his f/c debut just short of his 35th birthday, scoring 15 & 7 but this was his only match for Hampshire. His son, CP Brutton was born in Portsmouth and played more extensively for the county in the 1920s

February 25, 2013, 10:49 am
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Champions: Middlesex.

EM Sprot was appointed captain and CP Mead joined the staff but would not be qualified to play in the Championship until 1906. Hampshire opened the season by defeating Derbyshire at Southampton but this was a false dawn in a particularly miserable season as they failed to win another match and in a thoroughly wet summer three of Hampshire’s away matches at the Oval, Leyton and Bath were abandoned without a ball bowled – probably the worst record in any English season. Abandoned matches with no play were not included in the Championship table and so many matches were drawn that it probably helped the Champions that they played just 16 while the nearest teams played far more – Sussex 23, Yorkshire and Lancashire 26. Hampshire played 15. With such variations, the table was decided on percentages – with this system in 1974 Hampshire would have been Champions!

CB Fry who would move to Hampshire scored 2,413 runs at 80.43 – far in excess of any other batsman in this poor summer. At Hampshire, the leading scorer Mr Sprot managed 835 runs at 36.30 apart from which only Llewellyn (542) passed 500. Once again men like Wynyard, Barrett, Hill and Heseltine were rarely available and Poore and Greig not at all. More tragically, ill-health forced the retirement of Victor Barton who died in 1906 aged just 38.

Sadly, Llewellyn’s bowling was less effective and only Hesketh-Pritchard (45) and W Langford (42) passed 40 wickets although Soar, aged 37, took 36 at 18.44. In September the Bournemouth Week concluded with a match  between the Gentlemen of the South and the Players of the South. Llewellyn and the young wicket-keeper Stone played for the latter while WG Grace in a rare playing visit to the county, captained the Gentlemen who included a number of Hampshire cricketers. Grace is above, taking the field with former Hampshire captain C Robson (this fixture was repeated in 1904 and the two men played again. We do not know which year the photograph was taken).

FH Bacon replaced Dr Bencraft as Secretary. Lunch on match days cost 2/6d. The Committee had the old black horse destroyed as it was no longer fit and a new horse was purchased in the following year. The committee allowed Southampton Hockey Club to use the ground for 15/- per match. Members were only permitted to use the telephone at the ground on match days.

February 24, 2013, 11:38 am
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Champions: Yorkshire.

With the war continuing in South Africa, Hampshire suffered from the loss of a number of regular amateur cricketers required on service duty, including Greig, Barrett, Wynyard and Poore although the latter played occasionally in August. Although they won two matches (of 16), Hampshire finished last, losing 10 matches – and they were ‘wooden spoonists’ every year from 1902-1905 inclusive.

The failings were easy to spot. With their leading batters absent no player reached 700 runs and Llewellyn who topped the averages managed just 626 runs at 26.08. In addition to the absentees neither Hill nor Sprot showed good form and there was just one century – by Llewellyn at Derby. He was also the leading bowler with 94 Championship wickets (17.67) and Mr H Heseketh-Pritchard took 38 wickets at 20.78 apart from which only Soar with 25 wickets reached double figures. Victor Barton suffered an eye problem and missed a number of matches. Llewellyn was in an England ‘squad’ for the Oval Test but was not selected – in the event he would play eventually for his native South Africa.

Bournemouth’s Dean Park pavilion was opened. Sadly both matches were lost although it was a near thing against Warwickshire. The visitors were dismissed for 99 but after a good start, Hampshire could manage a lead of just 32. They were set 121 to win but only Alec Bowell with 30 resisted the visiting bowlers. Bowell had come down from Oxford and was the first of a group of professionals who would transform the county’s fortunes over the next decade and beyond, although he made a modest start in this his debut season.

February 24, 2013, 10:20 am
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Champions: Yorkshire

This is the Hampshire side for their match at Sussex where Mr Barrett and Captain Greig scored centuries in an innings of 388. Llewellyn took five wickets as Sussex replied with 254 but the match was curtailed and drawn.

Nonetheless, it indicates a (sadly temporary) revival in Hampshire’s fortunes. Captain Greig had been recommended by Wynyard after scoring regularly in military cricket in India and in his second match he scored 119 v South Africans. In the same innings Llewellyn scored 216 against his fellow countrymen (plus six wickets in the match) as Hampshire won by an innings. Greig had a brief, poor run until at Liverpool he scored 47* and 249* in a drawn match which Hampshire saved after a deficit of 307. Hampshire won six of their 18 matches and finished level with Kent in seventh place – their best-ever to that point.

Of the regulars, Greig, Sprot and Webb averaged over 35, while Wynyard and Barrett made occasional useful contributions. Llewellyn scored 717 runs (23.90) and took 115 wickets in his first full season although there was little support – only Barton (48) passed 30 wickets and Baldwin managed just 11 at 48.27. He retired but returned briefly in 1904 to boost a weak bowling attack.

The bowling club next door to the county ground complained about the danger from cricket balls hit into their space. At the season’s end, Dr Bencraft informed the AGM that AC MacLaren was moving south for his wife’s health and had accepted the post of Assistant Treasurer – and player. In the event it did not materialise and he remained with Lancashire.

February 23, 2013, 10:39 am
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As we have seen (below) Hampshire endured a very poor season, losing 16 of their 22 Championship matches – and most of these defeats were by considerable margins. Four were by an innings, three by more than five wickets, seven by more than 150 runs and the other two by 143 and 111 runs which was their narrowest defeat! Leicestershire who were next to bottom won three matches.

Two men, captain Wynyard and the Rev GB Raikes averaged over 40 but played just five and six innings respectively. Of the regulars, Victor Barton passed 1,000 runs but at an average below 30 although he also took 38 wickets. Baldwin took 84 wickets but at 28.85 and no one else managed 40 in the season – Soar headed the averages at 23.12 but with just 24 wickets.

Hampshire also played against the West Indians at Southampton in late July, the visitors winning by 90 runs. Llewellyn, still qualifying, scored 93 and took 12 wickets. His regular presence might have made a considerable difference to Hampshire but he could not play in the Championship.