Hampshire Cricket History

Let Me Tell You A Story
April 30, 2016, 7:46 pm
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I received this interesting email from ‘Hedgehog’:

“I’m not sure how often Hampshire cricket is referenced in fiction but I am reading “The Fortune of War” a Napoleonic naval novel by Patrick O’Brian and I was delighted to encounter the following passage.

‘For although the Leopard might lack paint and even guns, as well as men, they were determined that she should come off creditably in the match with those sods of the Cumberland – they might even wipe the buggers’ eye! There were several Kent and Hampshire men among them, nurtured on the green; and Mr Babbington, their first lieutenant, had distinguished himself by notching forty-seven runs against the Marylebone club on Broad Halfpenny Down itself.’

(Hedgehog added)

Curiosity led me to search the MCC match records on CricketArchive but I was unable to find a match at Broadhalfpenny Down although they did play at Alresford a couple of times in the late 18th centrury (against Hampshire).”

He’s quite right too. Hambledon/Hampshire hardly played a significant match on Broadhalfpenny Down after 1781, some years before the MCC was formed. It’s poetic license. They made more use of Windmill Down, Stoke Down etc

As to Hampshire in fiction, in my recent Forever Changes, I pay quite a bit of attention to John Arlott’s short story known variously as “A Cup of Cold Tea” or “It Ain’t Half a Blooming/Bloody Game” in which the fictional ‘Norshire’ play Hampshire at Portsmouth in late season, probably 1956.

There’s also “Fly Envious Time” but more about that another time – plus many years ago, a TV drama featured Northlands Road but I’ve forgotten all the details.

Good or Bad?
April 30, 2016, 7:08 am
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Here’s a story on the BBC Cricket site today:

“Worcestershire have been cleared by the England and Wales Cricket Board after an investigation into the abandonment of their opening County Championship game against Kent at New Road … But commission chairman Gerard Elias QC, did offer one note of caution, he raised concerns about playing matches so early in April.

Mr Elias has “invited the ECB to consider whether any further actions and/or safeguards were possible to seek to ensure that county grounds staging matches in April were more likely to be able to do so satisfactorily.”

Anyone who has been trying to watch cricket live over the past month will have considerable sympathy with his view and maybe the ECB will see sense and start playing Championship matches in the summer, when it can be wet but is generally warm.


Maybe on the other hand they’ll just ditch April’s three rounds and cut the matches to 12 (10?) every season.

PS: It’s felt like a particularly lousy April but the Guardian today reports provisional figures for the month suggesting that rainfall is at 96% of the average for the month and the temperature is just 0.7 degrees C below average. Best to get used to it folks!

There’s No Money in Cricket
April 29, 2016, 7:57 pm
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Whether the various England sides do well or not – and in the past 12 months they have – depends on County Cricket. No County Cricket, no decent cricketers, no decent England team. The ECB don’t give their money to the counties, they administer and distribute what English cricket makes among the various areas of English cricket. They use the counties’ grounds and the counties’ players. Only KP has ever come close to being a non-county player and at that point he did not play for England

So there’s an interesting story in today’s Times about the ECB’s 2015/16 accounts, with the headline “County Chiefs angry over ECB failure to share increased funds” (p 68). Among other things, it reveals:

The ECB has increased its reserves and its salary bill – the latter by £3.5 million to a total of £20 million and an average salary to its employees of £98,000

The ECB’s cash reserves have risen from £65 million to £73 million. The ‘paper adds:

“It is understood by The Times that a number of counties have expressed their dismay to Colin Graves” that the increase on salaries is 21% since the previous year, while the ECB “hands out” between £1.5 and £3 million to each county, depending on the number of their England players.


Team News
April 29, 2016, 1:01 pm
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From Hampshire, this afternoon:

Jimmy Adams returns to the first team after scoring a century for the Hampshire’s Second XI this week on his comeback from injury, whilst Liam Dawson is included in the squad but he may not be fit to bowl. New signing Tino Best comes into the 14-man squad in place of the injured Fidel Edwards.  James Vince and Sean Ervine will be hoping to repeat the fine scores they accumulated against Yorkshire at Headingley, having hit 119 and 123 respectively in the rain-affected draw. All-rounder Brad Taylor is the latest Hampshire player to be ruled out through injury after he sustained an ankle sprain during the Second XI match against Somerset this week.

PS: I’ve just seen a weather forecast which looks OK for Sunday, even a bit warmer but Monday could be very wet. I’m sneaking off mid-afternoon for an early evening gig in the Square Tower, overlooking Portsmouth Harbour – fortunately indoors!

New Hope in the Borough
April 29, 2016, 7:56 am
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Here’s Josh McCoy, bowling for the 2nd XI this week

Josh McCoy 2.jpg

Josh McCoy.jpg

From what I can discover, Josh has some roots around the Purbrook area, just north of Portsea Island (and on the way to Hambledon). He’s young of course but bowled quite quickly during the week and I gather he can bat a bit too. Apparently he was the first recipient of a Tom Maynard scholarship to Millfield School and is now a member of our Academy. Here’s hoping …

Who Plays?
April 28, 2016, 4:06 pm
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Tino Best? (Batsman in both is Johannes Myburgh)

Best bowls.jpg

Craig Young?

Young bowls.jpg

or someone else perhaps …


Photo problem
April 28, 2016, 11:03 am
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Hedgehog writes (below) about the Barry Richards scorebook image

“Dave, the photo is difficult to read because it is not possible to click it and open it up to full resolution. Something has changed this year in how you upload images to the blog. To show how it used to be, I randomly selected your blog of March 31, 2013, where (left) clicking on the photo opens it up and details can be viewed”.

He’s right. I run another Blog called Pompey Pop (hence my ‘pen-name’) and the same thing has happened – there is a slightly different method for inserting images into these Posts.

Back then, once displayed you could click on them to enlarge and even drag and drop them onto the desk top and enlarge or play with them as you wish (I’m never bothered about copyright). Now you can’t do that either – indeed neither can I, despite being the Fat Controller.

Very sorry about that – I’m assuming that images like the Best/Young pic are OK because large enough and clear enough? If so, I’ll take more care what I post. Let me know

April Showers
April 28, 2016, 9:09 am
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During April there have been 19 County Championship matches in the two divisions, five of which ended in victory and defeat, while 14 (74%) were drawn

Seven of the 19 matches went into a fourth innings, while one more was an innings victory for Essex.

Eight of the 19 matches went only into the third innings. Of the other three games, one was abandoned without a ball bowled, one got to the second innings and one just had one (partial) innings

Most teams have played two matches; three have played three each – Warwickshire (top), Essex (top) and Gloucestershire (third).

The bowling averages are dominated by the quicker bowlers. In the First Division, five men have 10 or more wickets and in the Second a further four – all pace men. In three matches, Jeetan Patel has eight wickets and is 24th in the Division One averages, while Ansari (13th) and Rashid (42nd) each have four wickets. In Division Two Taylor of Gloucestershire has seven wickets in his three matches and is 16th. Incidentally Tom Alsop is in 20th place with his two wickets and seems to be the leading wicketkeeper!

Those were the days my friend
April 28, 2016, 7:31 am
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I’ve mentioned before that in addition to the excellent statistical work of Bob Murrell and ‘Tigger’ Miles, I have acquired two fine new Assistant Archivists, Richard Griffiths who lives in Yorkshire and Stephen Saunders who is from Hampshire but now lives in Kent. They do all kinds of splendid work and have expertise in our bibliography, autographs, scorecards, stamps, prices (buying and selling) etc. Richard will be around on Sunday. I believe the whole media enterprise is going to the Hotel but I’ll be in the Atrium before play and at lunchtime

Richard has been finding some ‘bits & pieces’ in the Hampshire Archive (Winchester) for Barry Richards including this masterpiece at one of those long-gone grounds:

Barry Richards Yorkshire Hampshire 1968.jpg

This is just a couple of months before Mary Hopkin’s big hit (!) but it’s fascinating. 10 batsmen struggled so that Hampshire’s 122 took 75 overs but Richards in his first full season on uncovered English pitches hit 70 out of 109. Incidentally even with wickets falling regularly, the over rate is nearly 18 per hour which over a day from 11am-6pm (with no overtime) would give 108 overs or twelve more per day than today. We don’t get four-day cricket now, we get three-and-a-half days – and it won’t be any better when Toby Roland-Jones turns up on Sunday!

(Incidentally if you meet him, be especially nice to Richard – he’s heavily involved in Bradford Park Avenue FC and they’ve just lost 2-3 at home. It’s not like watching Pompey’s triumphant march towards Wembley you know)

Young & Best
April 27, 2016, 11:52 am
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An optimistic title at least. Some shots from yesterday, now I’m back in the virtual wold:

Young & Best.JPG

Warming up yesterday morning (warming being the key word) – Craig Young and ‘keeper Lewis McManus, watch Tino Best

Snow Bowl 1.JPG

Snow in the air took them off briefly around midday

2nd XI v S'set.JPG

Then they departed again at lunchtime, with Tino and the umpires bringing up the rear.