Hampshire Cricket History

July 31, 2016, 5:56 pm
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That’s the name of the game

Essex blew it so they have nine points still, and must play their last game v Gloucs (A)

Then in order by run-rate:

Hampshire eight points v Somerset (H)

Kent eight points v Sussex (A)

Middlesex eight points v Surrey (H)

Surrey six points v Glams (H) & Middx (A)

However, if the awful weather forecast is correct for tomorrow, Surrey & Glams will take one point each which means Surrey can only get nine points – and if (again) they then beat Middlesex, a victory for Hampshire on Tuesday will take them through regardless of other results.

PS – If things go particularly well on Tuesday a home quarter-final is still possible. We need a particularly fine performance from Benny Howell!


The Only Way
July 31, 2016, 4:35 pm
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is for Essex to beat Middlesex (still playing) which will effectively mean that four out of five will go through (it’s not really the only way but you know …)

If Essex do win they join Somerset going through, almost certainly leaving Kent, Surrey and Hampshire to scrap for two places. As Ian says, the goal difference improved incredibly this afternoon and a good victory over Somerset could well be enough whatever the others do.

Excellent win – Dawson has the magic as skipper perhaps? A slight shame that the last two wickets added 70+ as the margin of victory was just three less than Hampshire’s highest ever in 53 years of List A cricket against a first-class county. But it’s no big deal – this was terrific stuff. Well played!

In Dreams
July 31, 2016, 7:28 am
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(But hopefully not “It’s Over”)

Hampshire need to win in Cardiff (sorry, Swansea) today to keep alive their dreams of another trip to Lord’s

Somerset are through and if Essex beat Middx today they will be too, and also with the home draw. However, they could still be pipped by teams on six points if they lose both and three teams end up on 10 points. Hampshire could be one of them and Middx would have to be another. I think the third team has to be Kent who play the bottom two sides Gloucs and Sussex, since Middx have still to play Surrey …

It’s all so complicated (!) and I think (assuming we win both) that it would suit Hampshire for Essex to beat Middlesex today, then Middlesex beat Surrey, so that Middx, Surrey and Glams can only reach 8 points maximum. But if Essex, Surrey and Kent keep winning and join Somerset at the top, then the run-rate might stuff Hampshire anyway

I think

Two Down, One to Go!
July 30, 2016, 5:11 pm
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Wooden spoons that is – thanks, twice, to Somerset

Last night Hampshire stuffed them and avoided one in the T20, this afternoon, despite a good effort from Danny Briggs, Somerset beat Sussex who cannot now catch Hampshire in the 50-over stuff. Meanwhile Somerset have qualified with a guaranteed home draw.

Now can we avoid the wooden spoon in the Championship – and maybe even the next place too?

Happy Anniversary!
July 30, 2016, 7:02 am
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Today marks a double sporting celebration from this precise day 50 years ago. Firstly, it was the day on which cricket commentaries were launched by Southampton Hospital Broadcasting Association and they have continued to this day (well last night to be precise) covering all Hampshire’s home matches ball-by-ball.

On that first Saturday afternoon at Southampton, 30 July 1966, the crowd wasn’t huge – I’m told there was an alternative attraction on TV featuring an Essex cricketer – but something rather interesting happened. It actually started a few weeks earlier in a match v Worcestershire at Portsmouth when Hampshire arrived without Shackleton who was injured. I’m not making this up, young ‘Shack’, approaching his 42nd birthday, wasn’t fit to play and Hampshire were playing on the quickest pitch in the country at Portsmouth against a strong Worcestershire side. What to do?

Leo Harrison had been looking after the 2nd XI that year including Alan Castell who had shown so much promise a few years earlier as a leg-spinner but had rather lost his way. He hadn’t played in any of the first team’s games all season but Leo suggested he could bowl seam up. Alan recalls that they checked him out in the nets – even producing a new ball – and he was in the side on the morning of Saturday 2 July. ‘Butch’ White (1-72), Bob Cottam (0-58) and Jimmy Gray (0-13) all had a ‘go’ before Alan, while Horton & Fearnley took Worcs to 86 before he struck; Fearnley c Wheatley b Castell 40. This was his chance, and when Worcs declared on 283-8 Alan Castell, seam bowler, had figures of 27-4-69-6 – and what’s more, he was the catcher for the two other wickets. Hampshire struggled in a rain-affected game but held on for a draw with nine wickets down, just 61 runs ahead.

Over the next few weeks, Castell held his place with a few wickets here-and-there (3-79 at Edgbaston, 3-53 at Kettering) then came today’s anniversary and a meeting with Derbyshire at Southampton. The visitors batted, perhaps hoping some at least could watch TV that afternoon, and it was perhaps appropriate that their top-scorer was footballer Ian Hall (62) but the star of the day was Castell again, first-change now and taking 6-49 in his 27 overs. On day two he scored a useful 24 as Hampshire sneaked ahead by one run but again rain won the day. Nonetheless, Hampshire had unearthed a new pace bowler from an unexpected source. He finished the season with 36 wickets at 22.55 and the only sad aspect is that after more than a decade and more than 100 first-class matches, Alan Castell left Hampshire without ever receiving his county cap. He’ll be back next week for the annual reunion.

Castell A z



I’m Confessing
July 29, 2016, 6:36 am
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That I love you

(Hampshire Cricket that is)

But not as much as I used to.

Something clicked in me last season with the first conversations about reducing the Championship in order to play more T20 matches. There was nothing calculating or rational about the ‘click’ and it was exacerbated by the knowledge that my (our) county was one of the major supporters of the proposal.

My first response came on the Blog (regularly), then I wrote Forever Changes, which made me feel a bit better although made a dent in my many millions. I don’t think it made a damned piece of difference except for a few people who feel like me and felt slightly less alone.

This season has been horrid, and not entirely the fault of the club or players. As the old blues songs go “If it wasn’t for bad luck, I wouldn’t have no luck at all”.

Nonetheless, it’s been horrid. Last week, losing on that last day to Surrey – horrid; the defeat to Middlesex – very horrid. On Tuesday I brought my skiffle lot over and they had lots of fun playing but arrangements at the ground were unnecessarily ‘complicated’, which was a drag for me. When we’d finished we had some lunch in the Atrium; then my guys went home – and so did I. I think it’s the first time I’ve ever been on a Hampshire ground with them playing that I have (a) not seen a ball bowled and (b) chosen to go home.

The odd thing is that it simply didn’t bother me. So I’ve decided I’m not going tonight. I don’t care about that game anyway, but again it’s the first time in a long, long while that Hampshire have a home game, I’m free to go, and I don’t want to – I can’t be bothered

It’s not calculated or especially a thought-through decision – it’s simply how I feel. Hearing of our explicit support for the expansion of the city-based T20 this week added fuel but ultimately I just don’t feel like going.

I’ll be back next week – but it’s a very odd thing.

It’s not much fun …
July 28, 2016, 9:15 pm
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Being Sussex these days. I guess it must have rained in Hove tonight? Despite the forecast it hasn’t rained in Pompey all day – not nice but not wet.

Sussex can’t qualify in the 50 over competition – fate sealed at home last night, while tonight’s final over victory for Essex, and their rained off result v Glamorgan puts them out of the T20 too. Neither does it seem likely that they will get promotion from Div 2 in the Championship. I like Sussex and their supporters but they’re not having much more fun than we are this year.

I was just leaving a café in Pompey city centre today when I met a Hampshire supporter who asked (as Dave had) what I knew about Vince moving to Middlesex. My answer was the same – nothing – but it seems to be a rumour with some legs.

Just tell us what you think Mike
July 28, 2016, 7:47 am
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Mike Selvey writes in today’s Guardian about the England squad:

“… James Vince in particular can consider himself fortunate that they are being so charitable. The earlier championing of him by Trevor Bayliss appears to have been tempered by more ambivalence and thus far Vince has shown no sign he has learned anything about elevating his game to international standard. First and foremost, Test batting is about how many runs a batsman makes, not how he gets them. Vince is pleasing on the eye, as all off-side specialists are, but it is a temperamentally poor player who cannot recognise when he is being set up by bowlers, or worse, does recognise it but chooses to carry on in the same habitual manner.

To drive expansively and nick off once is forgiveable; to do it twice is asking for questions; to do it consistently is just amateur. He is becoming what cricketers know as a jazz-hat, a jazzer. It is not a compliment”.

No punches pulled there then, in one of a number of sad stories of Hampshire’s season. Briefly this is followed by his observation that Alex Hales is also facing a “testing time”. There seems to me to be a bigger issue here in that Vince and Hales are following Lyth, Compton, Ballance, Carberry, Robson and maybe others as specialist batsmen who are successful in county cricket but cannot shift up a gear. Only Cook and Root are specialist Test batsmen of quality (although Bairstow is a fine batting ‘keeper’) and Cook and Root never really played much county cricket – they were pretty much elevated straight away.

Broad and Anderson are from some years back and in recent years, the county Championship has produced very few Test quality players (Woakes seems a possibility). I thought it was supposed to be more competitive now? Perhaps the obvious answer is to keep cutting the number of games, so that England can become the only country in the world that runs two ‘first-class’ T20 competitions. That’ll sort out those five-day techniques.

(On which subject the Guardian also carries today a follow-up to yesterday’s Daily Telegraph story, sent in by Paul (see below). It suggests that “a number of chairmen” of counties “believe they must convene independently from Harrison, Graves and the ECB”. It doesn’t say which).

July 27, 2016, 9:40 pm
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Of the remaining Royal London games, Hampshire have probably got to win both to go through (v Glams and Somerset) with 10 points. They have the poorest run-rate of teams on six

The top two sides, Essex and Somerset are each on nine points. It’s possible that Essex could lose both (v Middx & Glos) in which case Middx would go up to 8 points (plus game v Surrey) and Somerset could lose to Sussex and Hants and like Essex be stuck on nine. In that case, two wins for Hants would take them above both of them.

Of the teams on six points, Surrey play Middx & Glams so someone must win & lose those games (assuming no ties/rain etc) and Hampshire also play Glams.

However since Essex and Somerset (top two) play Glos & Sussex (bottom two) Hampshire might be scrapping with four other teams for two places and an away quarter final ‘up north’.

Extra, Extra, Read All About It
July 27, 2016, 9:22 pm
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(It’s the first line of Edwin Starr’s “Headline News”)

Good win tonight – still in with a chance of a quarter final and one of those spoons has certainly vanished for now!

Thanks to Paul for alerting us to the article in today’s Daily Telegraph, and in case you missed it the link is below. Very interesting – albeit as my interest in county cricket wanes almost by the day. Check in particular the attendance figures at the foot. I’m not clear about the calculations given Hampshire’s two postponements and their poor performances this year: