Hampshire Cricket History

June 14, 2013, 11:18 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

Gloucestershire have just declared (12.15) on 410-9. The last 15 minutes was pretty farcical as the last two batsmen patted back most balls from Carberry and Dawson, bowling for Hampshire just to get their over rate down as they were -3 and facing a points fine. It seemed very generous of Gloucs to collaborate, it was not first-class in any real sense but it suggests a deal is looming whereby Hampshire might score say 200 and declare and Gloucs will set a target tomorrow.

PS: The most extraordinary thing has happened. Both sides have forfeited and so Hampshire have 169 overs to score 411 to win with no more bonus points, on the second and third days of the match – everyone on the ground is astonished! Some of the Gloucestershire Committee are not ‘cheerfully’ astonished.

PPS Adams has been given out in the second over for his fifth Championship ‘duck’ of the season. I stress given out. I cannot comment from the seats but he did not look at all happy with the decision.

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So much to say about today and so much was hugely disappointing.

You rightly used the word farce to describe two captains blatantly points fixing before lunch. The idea of points deductions for slow over rates is to improve the spectacle for spectators but what we saw today was the system being abused to short-change the spectators twice – initially through them having to watch Hampshire dawdling about and secondly through them having to watch fifteen minutes of batsmen trying not to hit the ball of the square. It is difficult to see how this in any worse than the recent incidents of deliberate wides being bowled which resulted in prison sentences and five-year bans from the game. If there is any justice the fifteen minutes of farce will be ignored and we will be deducted points.

You then wonder how much influence Gloucestershire’s willingness to help us avoid a points deduction has in our captain’s incredible decision to chase over 400 to win. Maybe if the team had bowled their overs at a reasonable rate we wouldn’t have got involved in such a one-sided arrangement.

Having said that what we needed was for Adams to occupy the crease as we know he can. Unfortunately it appears the umpire couldn’t distinguish the difference between his bat and his pad which ended that hope.

The rest of the innings was then of course entirely predictable. A couple of batsmen got set and then threw their wickets away having done all the hard work and others didn’t even do the hard work (why is it necessary to try and play across the line in front of the stumps when you have got over five sessions and 169 overs to get 420 runs?). Numbers 7, 8 & 9 scored a few runs and didn’t look in too much trouble but again predictably all too little and all too late leaving the final score more respectable than it should have been.

This should take nothing away from Gloucestershire who batted, bowled, caught and negotiated very well and fully deserved their victory.

Hampshire look a side who are toothless with ball in hand (by far and away our best bowler being a man playing his first championship game of the season and who can’t last four days) and full of under-achieving batsmen who consistently show they can’t score runs when it really matters.

But then again if we can slog a few one-day wins who cares? (Sorry David that was not having a dig at you!).

Comment by SteveG

No problem Steve, the Championship is my passion but it’s beginning to fade away. I’m with you on this, a deeply disappointing day in so many respects and no consolation that we’re back to the short form. The only hope is that in this mid-season break they will sort out the Championship cricket and come back stronger but I’m not holding my breath. It looks like Northants and Lancashire but I agree with you about Gloucs. They have a lot of local youngsters, an imaginative captain and the smallest budget for players on the circuit but they’ve produced a good team who outplayed us throughout. Well done them.

Comment by pompeypop

This is going to be another failed Championship season as we simply do not have what it takes to win games in this format.

We have only managed to bowl out the opposition in 5 innings, only Leicestershire have achieved this fewer times than us (twice), whereas the best team has more than doubled our total.

Not being able to bowl out teams ‘cheaply’ puts more pressure on the batting and as we have all seen, this has frequently been inconsistent. As we have drifted further from the leading teams in the division, the need to get a win becomes greater. This leads to ridiculous declarations as we saw yesterday.

Success in the limited overs formats has been good and has been built on the ability to ‘chase’ runs down. However this ability is of more limited use in the longer format where wicket taking is the key needed for success.

I fear that unless the required actions are taken, Hampshire will be a mainstay of division 2 albeit with a fantastic ground and a team that pushes for success in limited over competitions.

Comment by Keith

Keith makes an interesting point about our lack of bowling penetration but I’m not sure that this can be used as an excuse for our underperforming batsmen bearing in mind we have batted first in six of our eight championship games this season.

A quick look at this seasons Championship batting stats shows our real problem:

• Adams – eight scores under 21 in 11 innings including 5 ducks
• Carberry – only twice scored over 33 in 9 innings. Averages under 22.
• Bailey – reached double figures in all his 7 innings but only twice went beyond 31
• Vince – only one score over 30 in last 7 innings
• Ervine – five scores under 20 in 9 completed innings

However you can use statistics to prove anything. The problem is we are drifting along in the Championship looking poorer by the week with very little being done to shake things up and to be honest it was much the same last year. Yet at the end of the season all we heard from our management was how we had had a wonderful season because we had some one-day success. If this is their mind-set then I’m afraid things won’t improve.

Unfortunately I fear the only way the Championship side will improve is if we decline as a one-day team and then greater emphasis may be brought to bear on the longer form of the game.

But what can we do now to improve things? Well in my opinion what we need is some positive thinking. Imagine if Warne was in charge! I would open with Adams and Roberts in the next Championship game and tell Roberts he has at least three games in the side. I’d bat Carberry down the order and I would use Vince as the fourth seamer. He looks a useful bowler to me and has got some pace. Let’s get him used to bowling longer spells and see what happens. Above all let’s be positive!

Comment by SteveG

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