Hampshire Cricket History

The New Century
February 23, 2013, 9:46 am
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In Hampshire’s official history (1957), HS Altham wrote

“The first six years of the (twentieth) century were indeed a depressing period for the county’s cricket. Of the 109 fixtures which were played in those seasons, sixty-six were lost and only twelve were won and in five of the six seasons we were bottom of the Championship Table. No wonder then that the gates suffered severely, so much so indeed that in the winter of 1904 the committee were seriously discussing closing the county ground at Southampton and poor Soar’s benefit match in 1900 resulted in a loss of £6!” (p 52)

Altham pointed out that the principal cause of this poor run was instability – for example in 1900 alone 41 players appeared. In the next major history Peter Wynne-Thomas (1988) added details:

“The Boer War affected Hampshire more than any other county in 1900. Captain Wynyard’s military duties meant that he resigned as captain and handed the reigns over to Charles Robson … Beside Wynyard, Hampshire lost Poore, Heseltine and for most matches Quinton as well as two or three more who had been occasionally in the side, to the military authorities …” (p 65)

In addition, Hampshire’s regular bowlers were ageing. At the start of the 1900 season Baldwin was 40 and Soar was 34, while AJL Hill was often absent on business. Robson who took on the captaincy was a somewhat reluctant wicketkeeper who had begun his career at Middlesex as an attacking batsman and occasional bowler.

1899 (part three)
February 22, 2013, 1:10 pm
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Champions: Surrey.

Major RM Poore enjoyed his great season, indeed one of the greatest seasons that any Hampshire player has ever experienced. He was a serving officer and began the summer taking the highest honours as a swordsman at the Military Tournament and he also played in the team that won the Army’s Regimental Polo Competition.. Then in mid-June he travelled to Portsmouth and scored 104 & 119* v Somerset – the only man ever to score two first-class hundreds on that ground. He followed this with 111 & 40 v Lancashire, 11 v Essex, 175 & 39* v Surrey (back at Portsmouth) and after missing the match at Brighton, came the extraordinary performance at Taunton (scorecard below)

Poore scored Hampshire’s first triple century (304 v Somerset at Taunton) in Hampshire’s highest innings in first-class cricket (672-7 dec) until 2005. Poore and Wynyard’s 411 for the sixth wicket remains a record in county cricket. Hampshire were the first side to score over 600 in a day’s play in first-class cricket, while Somerset’s wicketkeeper did not concede a single bye in the innings.

For Poore, there was another century at Worcester, 71 v the Australians, 79 & 53* at Derby and 157 at Leicester. That match was drawn and then his season finished on 12 August after which he returned to the Army and was soon in South Africa for the start of the Boer War. In 12 completed innings for Hampshire he scored 1399 runs (at 116.58)

While Poore and Wynyard were part of a generally strong batting side, only Baldwin with 78 wickets at 27.89 was effective with the ball and Hampshire won just four of their 20 matches, finishing 11th. Captain ECR Bradford was twice called for throwing. South African CB Llewellyn, Hampshire’s first ‘overseas’ cricketer, took 8-132 and scored 72 and 21 on debut for Hants v the Australians while qualifying to appear in the Championship but there were complaints that the pavilion was filled with non-members for this match. Worcestershire became the 15th side admitted to the County Championship

1899 (part two): The record partnership
February 21, 2013, 7:17 pm
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v Sset 1899

1899 (part one)
February 21, 2013, 4:25 pm
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Hampshire v Essex at Southampton 26-28 June

The players are, left to right, (Back): Webb, Gravett, Soar, Baldwin, Barton (Middle): Robson, Poore, Wynyard, Quinton (Front): English, Bencraft (secretary), Heseltine

To enlarge, click on image

February 21, 2013, 4:15 pm
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Champions: Yorkshire.

The Hampshire County Cricket Guide reported that Mr LG Bonham-Carter from Portsmouth was Hampshire’s President adding that he was “unquestionably one of the most popular sportsmen in the county”. He had played for Hampshire from 1884-1888.

Hampshire began with a couple of rain-affected draws before meeting Yorkshire at Southampton in Harry Baldwin’s Benefit Match. The first day was rained off and on the second, Yorkshire beat Hampshire by innings in the county’s only Championship match ever completed in one day. Hampshire were dismissed for 42, Yorkshire replied with 157 (four wickets for the beneficiary) and then Hampshire were dismissed again for 36. The match aggregate of 235 runs remains the lowest in Hampshire’s history. In four innings v Yorkshire in 1898, Hampshire’s totals were 42, 36, 45 and 83.

Hampshire played 18 matches this season but won only two and finished 12th (of 14) teams. Wynyard was often absent again, playing in just three matches, while FE Lacey was appointed secretary of MCC (until 1926). Hampshire played their first ever Championship match at Dean Park in mid-July, beating Somerset by 9 runs despite trailing by 115 on first innings. Captain Hedley was a first innings centurion for the visitors apart from which only Major Poore passed 50 while Ted Tate from the New Forest bowled Hampshire to victory with 8-51. On his county debut against the same county at Bath, Poore  carried his bat with 49* of 97 all out; he had played first-class cricket previously abroad. T Sutherland took 6-111 v Warwickshire on debut. EA English was caught on the boundary for 98 from the final ball of the match at the Oval – his highest first-class score. He died in 1966, well into his 103rd year and is the oldest-ever Hampshire cricketer. AJL Hill scored 199 in the same drawn fixture – he took 40 wickets in the season as well as scoring 662 runs.

A scoreboard was erected at the Hulse Road end of the ground (£10) and a new printing press purchased for £20, however there were concerns about attendances at Southampton and an extra match was given to Portsmouth, which always attracted good crowds. A drama/music benefit concert was held in Southampton:

So'ton Benefit 1898


February 20, 2013, 5:39 pm
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Champions: Lancashire.

Hampshire made a poor start to the season and did not win a Championship match until mid-July, despite the return of AJL Hill from South Africa. Unfortunately, Wynyard’s military duties kept him away for the early part of the season and Londoner Charles Robson who had played for Middlesex was the usual deputy. He also kept wicket and would eventually replace Wynyard as official captain.

Hampshire played their first First-class match at Bournemouth, v Gentlemen of Philadelphia. HF Ward scored 40 and 39 v Lancashire at Southampton but was taken ill with sunstroke and died within two weeks, while HB Bethune played v Lancashire when 52 years, 5 months – the oldest first-class cricketer to play for Hampshire. Abel & Brockwell opened with a stand of 379 for Surrey at the Oval, then a first wicket record in all first-class cricket – all eleven Hampshire players bowled in an attempt to break the partnership and conclude the innings. Hampshire won three matches in August and four overall but because the poor weather led to many drawn matches they finished in ninth place.

Entry to the (second) ladies pavilion was 1/- and £1, 032 was spent on building the second tier.

February 20, 2013, 8:12 am
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Wynyard ER 1878-1908

Captain EG Wynyard

Champions: Yorkshire.

Appropriately, Captain Edward Wynyard took over leadership of the side. He had a fine season and scored the first double century for Hampshire in a First-Class Championship match (268 v Yorkshire at Southampton). During the season, he played in one Test v Australia and the county also played their first first-class match v Australians. K Kitchener took 5-21 on debut v Sussex in a victory for Hampshire but in fine weather the bowling was less effective with Soar injured and Baldwin taking fewer wickets.

Hampshire won only five of their 16 matches but moved up to eighth in the table – their victories against Essex and Sussex twice and Leicestershire. Perhaps their outstanding performance was against the Champions as Yorkshire finished the match on 235-8, just 27 ahead when time ran out. FWD Quinton hit five consecutive half-centuries, Barton and Ward batted well on occasions and EIM Barrett from Cheltenham College showed promise in August but he became yet another services cricketer who could not appear regularly. There were concerns around the country with bowlers’ actions and at Hampshire, Bradford was no-balled.

February 18, 2013, 4:35 pm
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During the winter, an England side toured South Africa and played three matches later designated as Test Matches. They lacked many senior players so that the side that took the field in the First Test showed 11 changes from England’s previous Test 11 months earlier and included eight Test debutants plus Sammy Woods who had previously played for Australia.

The England side included AJL Hill and CB Fry, then of Sussex. England won by 288 runs after dismissing South Africa for 30 in their second innings. Hill was the first Hampshire cricketer and the first Hampshire-born Hampshire cricketer to represent England. In the latter case, the next would be Shaun Udal more than a century later.

Hill scored 25 & 37 and in the second Test 65 as England won by an innings. His team-mate Christopher Heseltine made his debut in this match and took 5-38 in the second innings, while RM Poore who happened to be stationed in the country was selected by South Africa scoring 20 & 10. England won the third Test, again by an innings, with Hill scoring 124 and taking 4-8. However, he stayed in South Africa after the tour, missed the 1896 English season and never played in another Test. Of that Third Test side, only Lohmann and Hayward were selected for the next v Australia at Lord’s in June

1895 (part two)
February 18, 2013, 4:19 pm
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Champions: Surrey.

Hampshire were restored to first-class status and admitted to the expanded County Championship – the latter with Derbyshire, Essex, Leicestershire and Warwickshire. Hampshire followed-on in their first Championship match v Somerset at Taunton but won (the first of three instances – also 1922 and 2003). FH Bacon scored 15 & 92 in that match, his first-class debut for the county, and his second innings score remained the highest first-class debut score by a Hampshire player for 99 years until passed by Paul Whitaker.

Hampshire finished 10th (of 14) in this first Championship season, winning six of their 16 matches, including a surprising victory in Sheffield against a strong Yorkshire side. In a low-scoring match AJL Hill passed 40 twice and Baldwin, Soar and Buckland dismissed Yorkshire cheaply . Another notable victory came against Leicestershire in the first Championship match ever at the US (Naval) Ground Portsmouth. In the final game of the season, Surrey beat Hampshire by an innings to secure the title ahead of Lancashire and Yorkshire.

Harry Baldwin was the first Hampshire bowler to exceed 100 wickets in a season. Captain FWD Quinton’s 178 v Leics at Leicester was the first Championship century for Hants and included three x 5s – he led the season’s batting averages. Wicketkeeper J Dean who had played for Surrey 15 years earlier, replaced the injured Robson and on debut v Derbyshire dismissed five batsmen in the second innings (4 ct 1 st). In the same match, Baldwin (8-93) and Soar (11-113) bowled unchanged.

400 new members joined for this historic season – the total approaching 1,000. Tom Soar was now playing regularly as a professional bowler and Messrs Hillier and Holmes were working as groundsmen. Edward Martin came from the Oval as Head Groundsman. At the end of the season, Russell Bencraft handed the captaincy to captain Wynyard.

A Question
February 16, 2013, 11:02 am
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hillier Edit


Following my visit to Wombwell, I have received a scan of an interesting scorecard from Colwyn Bay in 1956 and I’ve been asked who is this BC Hillier? My immediate reply is “no idea” but I plan to ferret around and thought perhaps one of you, reading this, might know. He does not appear in any records that I have immediately to hand.

Of course it might be a pseudonym but I’m not sure why that would be the case (someone dodging work/National Service for a couple of days cricket?). On the days of the match (above), Hampshire were playing Essex at Portsmouth and Leo Harrison was keeping wicket. The Handbook for that season named Colin Roper as Leo’s “deputy”. For the previous season Arthur Holt’s report on the Club & Ground also mentioned Roper but not Hillier – neither is Hillier mentioned in any of the various articles about 2nd XI, Club & Ground and schools in preceding Handbooks back to 1950.