Hampshire Cricket History

I’m Confessing
July 29, 2016, 6:36 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

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.


37 Comments so far
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It did occur to me that my title might have been “Doctor I’m in Trouble – Well Goodness Gracious Me”

Comment by Dave Allen

I have a 130 mile round trip for games so the decision not to go to T20 games is a simple one.

Mind you if I lived next door to the ground I still wouldn’t go!

Comment by James

I know the feeling Dave as I also have the air of “cannot be bothered” at the moment. One reason why I went over to the Island on Tuesday and had a very enjoyable day out. Would not cross the road for a T20……

Comment by John Cottrell

This post makes me sad………😕

I know that T20 isn’t everybody’s cup of tea & that the threat of more of it at the expense of Championship cricket is not appealing to many traditional spectators.


a) They are still our team
b) They still need our support
c) We still want them to play well

This season has been a difficult one & rumours of player movement & shake ups of the schedule are unsettling. But doesn’t that mean the team needs our support even more?

Think this one (from Keane) could also have been your title…….

“Everybody’s changing & I don’t feel the same”

Comment by joster69

Well said, Jo

Comment by Ageas

Well, I enjoyed [i]Forever Changes[/i]. It made me research the 1967 Clark report, 50 years ago they went to the effort of asking members, paying for a postal survey. Now, with the internet they deliberately avoid asking because somehow they’ve become completely unaccountable to anyone.

Apparently the Cricket Paper has an article on what’s gone wrong at Hampshire this year. I wonder how many pages it takes up!

You’ll know you’ve really lost interest when you can’t even be bothered to listen on Solent.

Comment by Jeremy

‘Those were the Days’

I know the feeling Dave, although I’ve never watched a T20 match. Too far for me to travel and then drive home again (120 miles) in the dark at my age!! It doesn’t interest me anyway.

I still try to attend every home C/C match and some away matches such as Middx. and Surrey which are more like ‘home’ games for me. However, last week I watched the first day of the Surrey game and until about 2.30pm on Day 2 but got so bored as Hants never looked like taking a wicket, so left for home.

I decided to break my journey half way in Farnham where I used to live during the war and until the mid-50s. I drove into the cricket ground, a beautiful setting in the shadow of the castle ruins, and sat and contemplated watching cricket there every Sunday with my father and brother. Farnham were a good club side in those days and their star player was Vic Cannings who regularly took 5, or more wkts, and scored a quick 50 occasionally. Unfortunately, Warks. snapped him up and he left after a couple of years but, of course, eventually joined Hants as part of that famous pair of opening bowlers ‘Shack and Vic’.

“Those were the days my friend – I wished they’d never end….!!”

By the way, Dave, I finished reading your book about a month ago. It certainly helped to occupy my mind during those dreary early summer days. I enjoyed it.

Comment by Dave Wilson

Lyn and I were coming over however we were offered to eat with our lad partner and one grand daughter so Hampshire lost out.
Strange team though no Ervine or Wheater. Goodwin has made a good debut.
We’ll be there on Tuesday.

Comment by Paul

John Rice; bat into the rubbish bin and on up the steps to the dressing room comes to mind.

Musically, ain’t no mountain high enough.

Comment by StephenFH

Remember that well, gloves as well I believe.

Comment by Paul

Thank you for those delightful responses – every one. And we have the answer: Dawson for skipper and I stop home. Result – Hampshire SMASH everyone!

Comment by Dave Allen

And a better bank balance by not being a member. Winners all round !

Comment by Brian.JS

I know, I know – I felt the same.
But when we were at Headingley we had three 12th men on the field, and we thought it a bit of a joke – but by then we were 7 bowlers down: Fidel, Ervine, Topley, Dawson, Stevenson, Berg and Taylor. That included our two intended opening bowlers and last year’s player of the year.
And Fidel and Topley have been joined by Wood as out for the season. McLaren has also been injured – and Stevenson again. Tommo was also struggling with fitness.
And the replacements haven’t been up to the mark.
On top of that the batting has failed unaccountably, Vince has been missing and then the awful news about Carbs.
But as Joster says – are we fair weather friends or supporters?
I did make the 168 mile round trip tonight – and I am glad we did. 6 players 20 or under and we recorded our third win in our last 4 T20s playing the kids. And playing with spirit and athleticism.
Haven’t Wheal, Crane, McManus and Alsop given us real moments to be proud of?
Yes it’s been a disappointing season, but given the injuries, should that be a surprise?
I am a Hampshire supporter – and proud of it.
(Although I must admit that this season has driven me close to depression at times – but that’s only when I read some of the curmudgeonly comments posted by others on your blog, Dave!!)

Comment by Ageas

I’m really pleased that your decision & your travelling were rewarded.

A brilliant night with a pretty large crowd ( admittedly most of them had no idea that our T20 campaign was already over).

But, Dave, I’m sure you would have been delighted by the enthusiasm of the children watching the game.

& they were actually watching. I overheard one young girl (guessing about 10yrs old) discussing with her friends the merits of Bairstow over Buttler when it came to keeping for England.

I know that the white ball game doesn’t interest some supporters but if a morale boosting win helps bring confidence back to the players then surely it must be a good thing.

Comment by joster69

Not only a great win, but with 6 youngsters playing. Great debut for Goodwin – age 18

Comment by Ageas

You can’t argue me back though, because there is nothing ‘rational’ about this. I’m delighted by the young players and after 57 years no one can accuse me of being a fair weather supporter. It’s a FEELING – and I feel like I’m falling out of love with cricket, not particularly Hampshire cricket, but the modern professional mainly English game. I’m very pleased about the result tonight but I didn’t miss it.

Comment by Dave Allen

We never recovered from losing all our first six away games, with only one home game [won]. Confidence shattered.

Many player related reasons we’ve touched on, almost all no-one’s fault, just bad, awful, luck.

But the fixture scheduling of so many away games up front resulted directly from the Rod Stewart concert.

Weren’t there some comments that the Old Trafford outfield was barely fit for purpose, attributed to a Beyonce concert?

If the people that run Sport don’t take it seriously, why should the supporters? If you don’t pretend it’s important, it’s just dressing up and arsing around.

Comment by Jeremy

I’m going to add one reason why my support for Hampshire is not unconditional. After I published Forever Changes I gave £1,000 from the profits, to Portsmouth Football Club to help them set up Cage Cricket in the city. There haven’t yet been £1,000 of profits but I gave it anyway. Around the same time, Hampshire Cricket dismantled the cage at the Ageas Bowl and it remains ‘gone’ because there are people there who don’t like it. To my knowledge the only other organisation that doesn’t like Cage is the ECB – it’s been pretty successful around the country and elsewhere in the world. Is it a coincidence that Hampshire agrees with the ECB? I don’t believe so.

Comment by pompeypop

Dave, it’s simply called burn out! It will come back.
And thanks for the lovely comments alongside Kevin James. They have added so much like those as per the article on Castell above.

Comment by Chas C

Cheers Chas. Very kind

Comment by Dave Allen

I will continue to support Hampshire through thick and thin (mainly thin I suspect) but will not watch T20 cricket. It’s nothing to do with how we are performing it’s simply not cricket in my book.

I remember Vic Isaacs saying to me a few years ago when talking about Hampshire Corporate Cricket Club that it’s not Happy Hampshire anymore. How right he was.

Comment by James

Not that Vic was at all biased!

Comment by Ageas

Indeed but he was closer to the men in charge than most of us so perhaps he had a point.

Comment by James

Just to add a belated alternative view. I still enjoy “proper” championship cricket the best, but, like it or not, T20 is popular with a lot of people and families and I’ve tried to develop an interest in it and have watched several fascinating matches this season. I took two of my grandsons (10 and 6) for the first time last evening and they had a great time. The 6 year old enjoyed the silly hat, waving his 6 and 4 card and getting his picture on the big screen. So did the 10 year old, but he also asked a lot of sensible questions about some of the bowling, batting and fielding. Who knows whether they will retain an interest long term, but they certainly wouldn’t have sat long to watch a four day game at their age.
Let’s not be too purist. We need to guard against T20 taking over, and that’s a real danger, but let’s not deny the pleasure it gives to others. It was great last evening to watch how some of Hampshire youngsters are developing their skills and there is no doubt that they have taken some good bits of T20 (as well as some bad bits, sadly) into the longer form of the game to make that more interesting too.
So – room for both?

Comment by David A.

Hiya David A – I should make it clear that this is a different DA from DA – if you see what I mean!

Comment by pompeypop

I absolutely agree. I attend all the matches, but first-class is what it says ‘on the tin’. I still get pleasure from the Mickey Mouse stuff, after all, that’s what we played long before they ‘invented’ 20/20 (we played 16/16 most summer evenings . . . ). It’s great to see the ‘Bowl with loads of people in. I could do without the accompanying racket when anything happens, though!!

Comment by Bob Elliott

That’s the bit that gets me most Bob – and as you know, I’m not exactly anti-Pop. The noise from the bits of ‘music’ and the PA announcer deny any opportunity to reflect or even more importantly, to engage in conversation. One of the greatest pleasures of cricket is that it’s not slow – it’s simply bursts of action punctuated by periods for chatting to your friends and neighbours about the cricket – or indeed anything else that comes up. But at T20 that’s nearly impossible. Some of the skills are astonishing but they are now entering the longer form anyway. There is no fundamental problem with people enjoying T20 however, the problem is that the ‘suits’ are using it as an excuse to dismantle first-class and Test cricket. They’ve wanted to do that for years.

Comment by pompeypop

The year reminds me of 1980, Dave.

It was an awful season – bottom of the Championship with one win all season.

A side that managed to lose by an innings at Notts despite dismissing them for 190 (at one point we were 29 – 9 in the 2nd innings).

But it was the campaign that saw Chris Smith, Paul Terry, Mark Nicholas, Bobby Parks and Tim Tremlett all start to make their mark.

Hopefully Mason, Joe, Brad and co are on the path to similarly successful careers.

Always look on the bright side of life

Comment by neil m

It was horrid wasn’t it – and not bottom of Div One, bottom of the lot for the only time in living memory. Good point about the young men – I hope you’re right! This has been some thread hasn’t it?

Comment by pompeypop

Mind you there is a difference – in 1980 Gordon Greenidge & Malcolm Marshall were on tour but returning in 1981. Now if we had those two to look forward to next year …

Comment by pompeypop

Exactly right – above Dave’s comments on “Suits using it as an excuse to dismantle”… but not only proper cricket but the existing T20 with it, and the county “identity” as well.

Business people should make a Business case, put it in the open for comment, criticism, improvement. Their too arrogant to do so – or aware their argumernt doesn’t stand up.

BBL succeeds with good weather, a receptive audience, low ticket prices, and free to air TV, and Franchises which are in fact largely just renamed State teams with imports (except for 2 new teams, doing less well).

ECB want to replicate this, while copying NONE of the attributes that cause its success.

Indeed, the evidence we have is that playing in a block (which I prefer, and seems a good idea) doesn’t work, because people won’t buy 3 tickets in a week. Which just exposaes that all they really care about is money from broadcasters, not full grounds.

Over 100,000 people went to 4 T20’s in London last week. They don’t do that in Brum, or Soton. What if the fix the people who have failed so far propose doesn’t work, but they’ve dismantled the whole structure of the game to experiment with their fantasy?

Comment by Jeremy

I fully sympathise with your initial comments that set this long thread going Dave, but also agree with Jo. I only have a 70 mile round trip from south west Hampshire (2 miles from the Dorset border). On Friday night with the earlier start I had to leave work early and with traffic it took me 1 hour 20 minutes, but boy was worth it to see the young guys perform so well and win so convincingly even if it was against another weakened side I was unable to make the first T20 on 2nd June and after the two torrential rain-outs which I travelled to in vain and the run of depressing away defeats, I seriously considered not going to the remaining T20’s, but i did go to to all 4.

I seriously considered leaving last Tuesday when Kent were 180-0, but am glad i stayed to see those 5 wickets, I was even dreaming we could pull off a win! How mad am I? It was such a shame it didn’t come earlier but it gave us spirit and momentum to go to Hove the next day and hopefully for the rest of the season!

I also enjoy the 4 day cricket just as much. we are the true members and supporters and of course that includes you Dave.

Comment by Martin

Good stuff Martin. I wouldn’t advocate anyone following my rather gloomy mood right now (not incidentally replicated elsewhere in my life). I was cheering up a bit with my posts about the 50 over stuff but I’ve just watched Cricket Writers on TV which has set me back again. The consensus for more T20 at the expense of (the crucial point) the longer form is growing. As it is growing I feel myself going, but you keep the faith.

Comment by pompeypop

This does all emphasise the need for a national organisation that would give real cricket supporters and County members a voice at the top when these far reaching decisions are being made…..

Comment by David A.

David A saying exactly what Dave A thinks! This thread is FANTASTIC. The ECB should read it!!

Comment by pompeypop

Stop being silly Dave!

Comment by James

Sorry! It’s been such a difficult few days Doctor …

Comment by pompeypop

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