Hampshire Cricket History

Now & Then
June 6, 2016, 9:25 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

Team v Essex.jpg

McManus and Crane leading the team out yesterday – is this the future?

In 1986 – after a gap of eight years, we won the Sunday League followed in 1988, 1991 and 1992 with three Lord’s Cup Finals. Four trophies in eight years. Then Mark Nicholas’s team went into decline/retirement and for more than a decade we were pretty poor.

In those declining years we tried to develop a new generation (or two) of our cricketers including  a couple of real successes in Udal and Aymes and the unlucky Ayling, but otherwise Wood, Cox, Shine, Flint, Morris (S), Bovill, Dibden, Laney, Renshaw, Botham, Kendall, Kenway, Savident, Garaway, Patel, Hansen, Sexton and Schofield. Other youngsters came from other counties (Whitaker, White, Keech, Milburn, Morris (A&Z), Lugsden). By-and-large the strategy failed, and it was imports, led by Warne and Crawley, plus Hartley, Mullally, Pothas, Ervine, Carberry and Brown who took us forward with a number of overseas including Johnson, Watson, Bichel,

In the late 1990s we had a wonderful ‘Colts’ side under Barry Reed. They won the national under-19 trophy and from them came Jimmy Adams and Chris Tremlett. Among the others were Luke Sears, John Claughton, Matthew Compton, Matthew Scott, Ben Craft and Guy Hicks. Between the two eventual ‘stars’ and those guys who are so forgotten they can’t even be remembered, were Lawrie Prittipaul, John Francis, Ian Brunschweiler, Charlie van der Gucht and James Bruce, all of whom had their moments but …

After them James Hamblin, Dominic Clapp, Chris Benham, Kevin Latouf and so on. The successes through those years were few. Kendall briefly, Tremlett for sure although not for ever and Mascarenhas, raised in Australia.

You can hope that the promising youngsters will become the established players and from the next bunch of a few years ago, James Vince and Liam Dawson are that, as was James Tomlinson before them. But the Vince/Dawson generation in which we chose to invest a few years ago also included Griffiths, Bates, Briggs, Wood, Rouse, Riazuddin, Parsons, Howell, Terry, and Roberts.

We did build a decent side that (much like Nicholas’s side) between 2005-2012 won five trophies. But we’re now into the fourth season without a trophy and it’s difficult to imagine silverware this year. Meanwhile we have Alsop, McManus, Crane, Taylor, Weatherley, Stevenson as the new equivalent of all those guys named above. Which of them will become the next Adams, Tomlinson or Dawson? And which won’t?

On the front of the 2013 Handbook is a photo of most of the squad who did the double in 2012. If Chris Wood recovers, he might come good again and I hope he does. Otherwise from that squad the only remaining players who are the ‘future’ are Vince (who may anyway disappear to England) and Dawson. All the others there have either departed or are well into their thirties. It’s not true that “you win nothing with kids” but you don’t win much and you don’t win often.

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This is a fascinating and revealing examination of the history of Hampshire’s player development over the last 30 years or so. So many players seemed to hit that ‘glass ceiling’ but its difficult to draw any conclusions or learn any lessons from our experiences however. Have we not shown sufficient faith and belief in them and too easily fallen back on the easy option of buying in players from overseas or elsewhere? It would be interesting, but difficult of course, to examine the records of one or two other counties in this respect – Durham, Lancs, Yorks come to mind.- to see if our experience is typical.

Comment by Peter Jeffs

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