Hampshire Cricket History

Rose Tint
October 19, 2015, 6:43 am
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This is essentially a Blog about the past, although sometimes that past might be no more than a few minutes away. Dave Pople in a Comment (two below) very wisely reminds me to be aware of the “rose tint” through which I see the past and he’s absolutely correct.

It is the case for example that when I first watched Test cricket in England (on TV) from 1958-1962, it was pretty dull stuff. I recall very clearly that one of the few exciting days as Benaud won the ‘Ashes’ at Manchester in 1961 coincided with me being at Portsmouth watching a very dull draw between Hampshire and Middlesex. The next day we went on holiday so I missed ‘Butch’ White’s hat-trick. Sometimes the past was (and still is) like that – and incidentally a lot of 1960s Test and county cricket could be pretty dull.

But I think some things were better back then and I think sometimes it can be shown. We have seen for example how over-rates were better, simply because the more balls bowled, the greater probability of great shots, excellent bowling, crazy run-outs etc.

My other example is less easy to prove in terms of quality. We know that the County Championship in the 1970s was enhanced by the presence of the world’s leading players most of whom played county cricket (including the England team). Does it follow that the cricket was of a higher standard? I think it was and I think it helped that pitches were more varied around the country and left uncovered to the weather. But is four-day cricket better than three-day cricket? Suddenly we’re into the realms of opinion.

Do you  have other examples, for better or worse?

Shane Watson
October 18, 2015, 10:19 pm
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Will not be playing for Hampshire next year

I’ve just caught up with a short piece in the Cricket Paper from last week (9 October). He still expects to be involved with Australia’s limited-overs sides.

The Good Old Days
October 17, 2015, 4:53 pm
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Many arguments about whether the old days were better than today are ultimately just matters of opinion – but sometimes a fact emerges that seems absolutely clear

I’ve just read this in Mike Selvey’s report about Cook’s marathon:

When Cook reached 798 minutes he passed Len Hutton’s longest ever (by time), but in that same length of time, Hutton faced 300 more balls (50 overs!) than Cook. Even if Hutton dominated the strike more than Cook (and I assume it was his triple century at the Oval in 1938) the only explanation can be the respective over-rates, which were simply far better back then than they are today in Test and county cricket.

OK I Retire!
October 17, 2015, 4:16 pm
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Ref the last Post, I went off to a band rehearsal this afternoon, at tea in the Test, with Pakistan three down and already ahead in their third innings. I didn’t check the score until we’d finished, by which time as I expected the match had finished in a draw

BUT – not at all as I’d expected to say the least

By tea, 20 wickets had fallen in 14 sessions over 4.66 days, so it was reasonable to suppose there might be maybe two or three more at most before the two sides shook hands

Instead of which Pakistan contrived to lose five for 14 and England lost four more

Bonkers. But of course one of the reasons cricket is such a magical game.

And what do I know?

Telly Trouble
October 17, 2015, 10:39 am
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This was probably a ‘first-ever’. I’ve had a fine bike ride for a seafront breakfast this morning, dragging myself away from the Test thriller but just got back in time to see Anderson hit Misbah on the pad and the ball ballooned to gully

Anderson appealed

The umpire gave it out

The review showed it hit the pad but not glove/bat and was just hitting the bail for lbw, “umpire’s call”.

But the on-field umpire gave it ‘not out’.

Why? Because he had given it out caught (which it wasn’t) not lbw, which he would have given ‘not out’ so ‘umpire’s call’ would have stayed ‘not out’.

Probably the most interesting part of the day as we approach tea on day five with four wickets so far, including a run out.

One or Eleven?
October 16, 2015, 9:41 am
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Just spotted the thoughts of KP appearing on a BBC text. I managed to ignore most of it but noticed he reiterated the increasingly common players’* point-of-view that cricket is a game played by 11 individuals on one side against 11 on the other

It’s something you hear more-and-more. Like the “exhaustion” claim it’s a wholly player-focused perspective

When I support Hampshire I’m not supporting 11 individuals – I doubt whether you are either.

*Perhaps there could be a Book of Common Players full of all the clichés they need

Surreal – Exhausted – Tired – How much? – Too much – 11 individuals (etc)


What’s Going On?
October 16, 2015, 9:19 am
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(As Marvin once enquired)

I’m working in the back room, TV on in the front room for the occasional glance at the Test

Around 8.45 they went off. I thought it was for lunch

It’s now 10.15+ and they’re still off

Is this the first Test in history that’s been abandoned (a) because it’s a waste of time and (b) because no one is watching?

Or perhaps it’s raining? (!!)

None Left?
October 15, 2015, 7:33 pm
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Willey – Northants to Yorks

Topley – Essex to Hants

Fuller – Gloucs to Middlesex

Footit – Derbys to Surrey

It might be that by the start of next season every useful English seamer in the Second Division will have moved to a First Division club. It’s looking more-and-more like two different standards in the two Divisions but unless the Test grounds declare UDI, fling Somerset out and abolish promotion and relegation, a couple of teams will go down again next September.

I suppose their best players could then move off again.

How Much
October 15, 2015, 7:18 am
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I never know how much it costs to watch Hampshire on a one-off basis in any of the competitions although I know the costs of memberships. It would be interesting to compare with football and there is a major report today on the BBC site which includes this – perhaps relevant since the Ageas Bowl is also in Eastleigh?

“Reading’s £135 season ticket is the cheapest in the top four divisions in England, with only Conference side Eastleigh (£120) cheaper.”


October 15, 2015, 7:11 am
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It’s been a busy week for me and this afternoon I’m off to chat to the Dorset Cricket Society. This is just as well as I’ve not watched too much of the Test Game

I call it a Test Game because a Test Match implies a matching of teams and a matching of the two key elements of cricket, batting and bowling. As we approach the halfway point it’s pretty much bat, bat, bat (although the England pace guys did pretty well and if Bell could catch …)

The question is whether this is alright or not? I was thinking about it last night while reading Joe Moran’s Armchair Nation: an Intimate History of Britain in front of the TV

In it, he wrote about the decline in TV audiences for snooker. He suggested that its success when it first arrived on TV was partly a matter of novelty but it attracted a younger generation including some who learned very quickly from watching and listening to the experts. The next generation (Hendry et al) learned far more quickly, they became better younger and frame-times dropped, BUT (Moran says)

“Counter-intuitively this seemed to make the game less exciting. For, like Test cricket, the excitement of snooker had to be earned through the possibility of boredom and the sense that players might, when faced with the simple task of knocking balls into pockets on a flat unchanging table, be gradually reduced to their last reserves of skill and nerve”

(My emphases and swop the word table for surface or pitch …)