Hampshire Cricket History

Simple Story
May 4, 2016, 5:55 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

In Division One this season there have been 13 matches, 11* of which have been drawn. The exciting draw at Trent Bridge today was an exception.

There are two principal reasons: pitches which favour batsmen, and bad weather. The first follows from the ECB’s decision to abolish the toss. The second – this year at least – is a consequence of playing through an unpleasant April. The ECB decided to do that.

Still at least today was a nice day to sit and watch cricket – albeit largely inconsequential cricket. Nine points now separate the first and last teams in Div One.

*Apologies, corrected from last night


15 Comments so far
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Hi Dave, I was one of many at the ground who were very disappointed that Hampshire didn’t declare earlier – say half an hour before tea – and set Middlesex, say, about 240 in 40 or so overs. Although it would probably still have been a draw, we might just have got a few wickets before tea – Tino Best was bowling very fast – and that might have induced a panic among their batsmen, or, faced with a more realistic target, Middlesex might have gone for the runs and lost wickets. During the tea interval I bumped into Giles White and expressed my disappointment. He merely said that they didn’t want to risk losing by setting too easy a target and that they didn’t have time to bowl the opposition out. I said that Shane Warne or Mark Nicholas or Richard Gilliat (I forgot to mention Colin Ingleby-McKenzie!) would have declared and risked losing in order to win. I also told him that it was this negative approach that was destroying county cricket and that I had heard people saying today that they wouldn’t come again. For some reason he didn’t seem very impressed! Is it any surprise that crowds at championship games are in decline? If you are on the committee perhaps you would be good enough to mention, please, that many spectators, members and non-members alike, were very disappointed by today’s events. Best wishes.

Comment by Tim Driscoll

Thanks Tim. I think I share much of your general frustration at the current state of Championship cricket but I went today fully expecting nothing significant to happen, because that’s the way teams play now – especially in the first division. It’s the key difference with the teams of Ingleby-Mackenzie, Gilliat and Nicholas, none of whom led teams with promotion and relegation as an issue. Warne was different but I suspect he was probably the exception in the captaincy role at Hampshire just as he was elsewhere.

240 from 40 overs sounds plausible in the ‘old days’ but it would have required a wicket to fall every four overs for Hampshire to win, in a match where one actually fell every 12 overs. Teams just don’t take those kind of chances these days – or at least only in a match like that v Yorkshire at the end of last season, the only one we’ve lost in nine games, which was a desperate throw to avoid relegation.

The problem for me lies with pitches – I would favour marking a pitch like this one as poor because it is too heavily biased in favour of batsmen and particularly against spin bowlers – but it’ll never happen, indeed I’d bet it was marked good. Only when bowlers have a realistic chance of taking wickets regularly will teams considering providing us with some entertainment. Sorry to be gloomy but sometimes I fear that Paul’s point (below) might be the truth.

Comment by pompeypop

The big difference is that under Ingleby-McKenzie, Gilliat, Nicholas and Warne the players wanted to play Championship cricket. Nowadays they don’t and see it largely as a chore and to a certain extent you can’t blame them because this is the message being given to them by our Chairman, committee and management.

Maybe the time has now come for us to have a totally separate Hampshire Championship cricket section with a separate Chairman, committee and management containing only players who actually want to play and make up the numbers with academy and local players. They could even ship the whole outfit up to Basingstoke (which would be more convenient for me!) and we could play on a ground far more suitable for Championship cricket leaving the Rose Bowl for slog-fests, pop concerts and the regulation couple of days of international cricket a year.

Comment by James

With the changes to the two divisions next year it would be highly unlikely that any team would be taking the risk of a loss this early in the season. The threat of relegation (with only one team to be promoted ) is going to be the biggest killer of sporting declarations in the first division this season. With all the injuries to our bowlers already it seems a bit harsh to throw an accusation of a negative approach.

Comment by joster69

This is a cunning plan to ruin the county championship. Play at the worse time and then say ‘look it doesn’t work, we must privatise’ Or in this case dump.

Comment by Paul

But we were two bowlers short – Wood off the field, Dawson on the field but not bowling – and one more carrying a niggle (Tommo). Tino in his first match of any sort for a while, not used to English conditions, fast but erratic (count the byes!).
I’d normally agree with the sentiments Tim expresses, but in this case an early declaration, on a good batting pitch, with Malan in good form – a step too far.
James – the PCA players’ survey said it was the players’ most valued form of the game

Comment by Ageas

I think that survey has been hugely discredited but if the players genuinely consider it their most valued form of the game then they need to stand up to those, inside and outside of their own clubs, who are seeking to diminish it.

Comment by James

Only 11 draws Dave, not 12. Lancs beat Notts, and Notts beat Surrey.

I was at the Rose Bowl (my name for the Ageas Bowl) on Day 3 and the crowd was clearly larger than management expected as the cask ales ran out TWO OVERS BEFORE TEA. I was not impressed as I had yet to buy one and was hoping to beat the tea time rush. First class cricket and first class beer both under assault!

Comment by Hedgehog

Thanks to all for your comments – sadly, Dave, I fear that you are in tune with what is happening. Yes, the pitches are too good and everyone is too cautious. And yes, James, it would be good if they played a game at Basingstoke, just up the road from me. And Hedgehog, you were lucky – today they ran out of proper beer before lunch! Whether it was due to the brown water masquerading as beer I had to drink instead, or the rather below-standard lunch (and that’s all I’ve had today apart from a light breakfast and a few cups of tea), I have spent the entire evening between my first comment and now making frequent trips to the smallest room in the house! All in all, not one of my best days at the cricket!

Comment by Tim Driscoll

Blimey Tim, my commiserations! Roll on the T20!

No it’s OK, I don’t mean it – incidentally, apologies about the stats 11/13 which I’ve corrected above

Comment by pompeypop

Two suggestions to improve things:

In matches where weather interrupts the first innings of either side materially, reduce the number of wickets in the second innings – perhaps a cack handed way of applying D-L concepts to time cricket. With only six wickets to lose each yesterday would have been great, and probably produced a result, plus entertainment.

And, as we will NEVER regularly produce pitches of good pace and bounce which also deteriorate materially for the last day, deliberately scarify or rough up the pitch after the first innings to ensure it takes turn – and allow that substitute leggie into the side 😉

Comment by Jeremy

I already have difficulty explaining the laws of cricket to my American friends. Jeremy’s proposals would make that a mission impossible!

Comment by Hedgehog

I believe one of our T20 signings already has experience in carrying out one of your suggestions Jeremy!

Comment by James

Funnily enough, James, I had that in mind – they could bring the T20 Dancing Girls in to do a sponsored pirouette!

Comment by Jeremy

I’ve suggested this one above but the answer with the pitch condition, if it must start flat & hard, is to ignore bowlers’ follow through. Let them run wherever they wish.

Comment by pompeypop

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