Hampshire Cricket History

August 27, 2015, 10:15 am
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BBC today: Glamorgan’s head groundsman Keith Exton has been suspended as part of the club’s investigation into an “unfit” pitch at Cardiff’s Swalec Stadium.

The Times – may not be changing
August 27, 2015, 10:09 am
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The Times reports the PCA survey and attendant issues this morning and begins by saying

“Counties are growing anxious about the proposal to cut the county championship from 16 to 14 games next season amid concerns that the ECB is rushing things”

Apparently there’s a meeting of a review group on Tuesday morning that includes Michael Lumb and Mark Robinson, and then the full meeting of county and ECB officials in the afternoon. The Yorkshire Chief Exec reports that among the counties, there is “no appetite to reduce or change the structure of championship cricket”. If so, good for them!

However, it also reports that the counties “are in a minority” on the group – outnumbered by ECB members …

Finally …
August 27, 2015, 7:43 am
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A detail from the PCA Survey. As I understand it the counties will meet next week (1 September) to discuss the ECB proposals. The PCA Survey report concludes as follows:

“Finally, if Counties do not approve the reduction from 16 Championship games to 14, we should:-

10. Consider a re-structuring of the Royal London Cup, for example by returning to three regional groups of six (playing everyone once) and/or removing the quarter final stage, saving four playing days in the calendar and alleviating workload and travel pressures.

11. Re-introduce blocking of NatWest T20 Blast fixtures, even if into two or three mini blocks.”

(Incidentally don’t be fooled by my heading – there will be more!)

Not Quite a GDA
August 26, 2015, 6:33 pm
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The topic of domestic cricket’s future is on the agenda again tonight

While waiting for play to begin this morning Dale Benkenstein was on Radio 5 Live Extra. He described the current schedule as “impossible” which is demonstrably not the case since no match yet has been abandoned because the players were too tired. I guess he meant “difficult” or “demanding” but that’s up to him. If he’s says “impossible” that’s what I hear. He also said that the demands on the players mean they cannot “be at (their) best every day”.

I’m sure that’s true. I spent my working life in teaching. Like professional cricket, teaching is a matter of mastering skills and performing to a demanding audience and it’s also – like being a nurse, doctor, police officer, soldier, ambulance driver, fireman etc more important than cricket

But how often could I, my colleagues, or people in those other professions honestly claim we were performing at maximum capacity all day every day? What is SO special about cricketers that they think they can avoid the working experiences of other people – never feeling tired, always being fully fit, having enough time to prepare properly? Why shouldn’t they perform under pressure or on days when things don’t feel right. It’s a tough old world out there.

So Grumpy Dave was emerging again – in truth I haven’t stopped feeling grumpy about the ECB proposals of last week – but today a new survey has emerged from the PCA which might suggest that what the players want is a short sharp period for T20 and what they value is Test cricket and the Championship, while it is the 50 over competition that they consider most expendable.

I have not had time to study this story yet but there is a report at


It will be interesting to see exactly what they do say, what, if anything, they propose, and whether the ECB will pay attention.

(Incidentally, Dale Benkenstein, in stressing the demands of the T20 revealed that Hampshire’s players “practice more for T20 than the Championship”)


Over (and out)
August 26, 2015, 5:37 pm
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“Now we can concentrate on the league”

Adams’ 100th
August 26, 2015, 2:53 pm
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Jimmy Adams is playing his 100th List A match for Hampshire today and almost celebrated it perfectly (so far) but was run out for 97 – apparently he should have dived but didn’t.

He may have had a rather unhappy Championship year but his Royal London scores have been:

34, 47, 53*, 13* (Cardiff), 23, 41, 53, 97 – a total of 361 runs at an average of 60.16

August 26, 2015, 9:27 am
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Hampshire put in and lost Carberry in the first over (0-1) and Wheater in the second over (1-2)

Good job Procter’s not playing!

PS: Hampshire were 49-6 at Bristol in a C&G game in 2004. They did make 154, but lost by 3 wickets

1.45pm start – 34 overs per side

(Previously on today’s Blog: No surprise – start delayed. Next inspection, 12.45pm. Kevin Howells on Radio 5 confirms it’s very wet – water over boots. 11.45am Reporters suggesting maybe 2pm start, maybe 30 overs match. There are NO lights)

Reece Topley
August 26, 2015, 9:03 am
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Bob Elliott – who is having a quite spectacular Blog week or two – informs me that Radio Solent are reporting Reece Topley is on his way to Hampshire

I wonder what that might mean for James Tomlinson, Chris Wood and Tom Barber?

One Match Wonders & the Players’ Board
August 26, 2015, 8:14 am
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Since I was involved in the Heritage project when we moved to the Rose Bowl, I must have had some involvement in the creation of the Players’ Board but I honestly can’t remember a thing about it. At some point we will have decided to ignore the players who appeared in first-class cricket for Hampshire before we joined the Championship in 1895.

I say that – and I’ve written it frequently elsewhere – as if it is a simple fact but it isn’t. The wonderful recent publication by Stephen Chalke celebrates the 125th anniversary of the Championship but already some of the senior cricket historians are contesting the view that it started in 1890. Nottinghamshire have minutes that claim they were Champions in 1865 and again in the 1880s and this is reported in the latest edition of The Cricket Statistician. On the other hand I was reading just yesterday, correspondence in the Playfair Cricket Monthly from March 1961 from another respected historian Rowland Bowen, that “it is quite out of the question seeking to classify matches … as first-class … much before the 1870s or 1880s”.

Robert Brooke is another of those senior historians and his publication A History of the County Cricket Championship (1991) describes the ‘pre-history’ but begins his season-by-season reports in 1890. He describes the important meeting at Lord’s in December 1889 of the eight counties who would compete in the first contest the following year. Brooke points out that it was important because for the first time the counties were meeting together “acknowledging that a county championship was desirable” and they fixed a method of calculating it through agreed points. That had not happened before when the ‘champions’ were generally decided by the cricket press – and there was not always a consensus.

So if we take 1890 as the start and allow others to quibble as they wish we can be sure that Hampshire joined the ‘big boys’ in 1895.

And that’s why we start our Board in that year. But there has been agreement for a long time now that matches prior to that were first-class and if you look at our recent publication 150 Not Out you will see that I have taken care to identify the years from 1864-1894 when Hampshire were and were not playing first-class cricket (eg not in 1879).

So the Board excludes our first-class cricketers before 1894 except when they also appeared from 1895 onwards. The numbering is by debut and where two or more players appeared for the first time in the same match it is alphabetical because we can’t rely on batting orders in all old scorecards.

That’s all fine except that having deciding to record and number only from 1895 and the Championship, we then decided to include anyone who played in any first-class matches. This means that in the modern world we have to continue listing players who might only play on the nursery ground v Loughborough University (eg Glenn Querl). There’s no choice, because if we were to exclude them we would be assuming that a similar entry from a hundred years ago was fair because the standard was higher. But how could we know that? Even more, there are amateurs who played in the Championship for Hampshire long ago who did not obtain their ‘blue’ at Oxbridge.

Bob mentions Cornwallis whose career was the shortest of all, as it lasted one morning in the pavilion. He was an amateur, selected to play against Kent almost certainly only because his brother (later Lord Cornwallis) was more regular in the Kent side. Things were sometimes that ‘nice’ for the posh people in those days but at lunchtime the brothers learned that their third brother, an army officer, had been killed in an IRA ambush. They left the game and our Cornwallis never played again.

We might decide that even though it was a Championship match, Cornwallis should not have been selected because he was not good enough – almost certainly not as good as Querl or Clapp or whoever else in recent years. But If we were to begin editing the board and the numbering how could we decide about the quality of cricket and cricketers before any of us were born? And if we were to suddenly impose a ban on University matches from now on, how would that sit with those players who appeared years ago? We’ve created a system and I think we must stick with it but I wish the ECB would pronounce that none of the University games are first-class from this point – that would solve it.

The other problem with changing the board/numbers is that there would be consequences for all the players and the numbered caps they have as a memento of their careers. It would be crazy! And ultimately the truth is that some players on the board were and always will be, far greater than others. There are well over 500 names on the board now but a few years ago when Neil Jenkinson and I wrote a standard 100 Greats book, we really struggled to get past about 70.

Royal London Semi Finals
August 25, 2015, 9:24 pm
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At the conclusion of the Notts v Durham game, Nick Knight suggested that Notts will now meet either Kent or Surrey in the semi final

Is that right? If so, a Hampshire win tomorrow means either Yorkshire or Essex?

If so, how do they decide the venue?