Hampshire Cricket History

September 1, 2016, 6:45 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

(Was there a song called Yesterday?)

As I was walking into the hotel yesterday to (not!) do my commentary stint after tea, I met a man coming the other way who never played for Hampshire but has a very special place in the hearts of all Hampshire lovers for something that happened approximately 21,000 Yesterdays ago, on this very day (Friday) 1 September 1961

It is exactly 55 years ago today that one of the two finest of all the Hampshire sides clinched the County Championship title when Danny Livingstone held a catch out on the boundary, off the bowling of Peter Sainsbury. And the man who hit that ball (having top-scored with 48) was the man I met yesterday. I shook his hand and explained why and we had a brief chat. He was there representing Duke’s balls and of course his name is …

So, if things don’t go so well today, remember that 55 years ago Yorkshire could only manage a draw with Warwickshire, we won, and we were the best team in England – no, actually in the world – and if they do play on Mars, in the universe.

I had a delightfully historical day yesterday with three separate and equally delightful gifts for the Archive. I’ll say lots more about them (Alec Kennedy, Deanery CC and Hampshire Football from more than 100 years ago) but here is a taste – thanks to Andy, one of the autograph collectors, a photo of Bournemouth CC at Dean Park pre WW1, and the sight of the 1961 triumph – clearly about 50 years earlier they knew we would be number one!

Bournemouth CC

PS Don’t forget Bob Elliott will be in the Atrium first thing with his delightful new book Changing Rooms about Hampshire’s grounds and pavilions. After that, in the shop.

18 Comments so far
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Actually the title could have been “Looking After Number One”! This morning incidentally Sidebottom and Brooks are poised to set not one but two records against Hampshire (thanks as ever to Bob Murrell): Yorkshire’s best 10th wicket (a) at this ground (58*) and (b) anywhere (76). I’m rather hoping they don’t manage the highest against any team (149).

Comment by pompeypop

Great to see that old picture of Dean Park – these outer grounds were such a feature of the county season, such a shame many of them are not included in the fixtures anymore.

Comment by anorthernsoulweb

Absolutely right. In a short while I shall jump in the car and drive to another day at the Ageas Bowl, passing in the first five minutes the US Ground, Portsmouth where I first fell in love with Hampshire/county cricket. And coming home tonight it will still be there – and I’ll give it an appreciative nod – even though the rugby posts are up now.

Comment by pompeypop

As a child I was a Lancashire fan as I originate from just outside Liverpool, but I moved to Bournemouth as a teenager and followed Hampshire from then on. I even worked as Dean Park as assistant groundsman for nine seasons in the 1980’s so I am well aware of the way Hampshire CCC gently pulled away from the outer grounds. Very sad to think that up and down the country there are dozens (maybe) of cricket grounds previously used for county cricket.

Comment by anorthernsoulweb

Someone wrote a letter lamenting this, I think they said outgrounds were down from 50+ to sub 10… on the plus side apparently Arundel is safe for next year, and Eastbourne will get a 50 over game.

Comment by Jeremy

Agree very much, there was a good book on this covering all the counties with ‘lost cricket festivals’ in the title.

As I remember it the withdrawal from Dean Park was ostensibly to do with the cost of the upkeep which the club had to bear. What happened to county cricket then is bit like US sports when the owners chase more dollar bills in another location and the fans get to mourn the day the ball club leaves town.

What was different with Hampshire was that the principals behind the decision found a rather large jar of horlicks waiting for them!

Comment by StephenFH

Yes, the upkeep could have been a factor, but if my memory serves me well, The Cooper Dean Estate gave Hampshire CCC Dean Park for a peppercorn rent so they did not have to pay a big wad to start with. They employed two groundsmen ‘ one for twelve months and the other for 8 or 9 months depending on how the end of season’s work was going. They used to employ a ground manager but that was stopped in the mid eighties. So really, apart from match day when they had local caterers, stewards and the usual costs, it was pretty moderate in terms of costs. There were rumours about taking cricket away from Dean Park from the beginning of the eighties – maybe further back than that. It could be that the talk of too expensive to run – may have been conveniently put out, when the eventual aim was to centralise cricket in Southampton to give the club leverage for backing a ground fit for Test cricket? I don’t know, whatever the reasons, the demise of festival cricket or even one off games at small, picturesque grounds has to be regretted.

Comment by anorthernsoulweb

My forgetfulness! …you were in the garages next to Fred Kingston; I used to watch with the Winton end sightscreen committee, which was centered around two prominent figures with big beards: one was the then chairman of CAMRA and the other was DP’s response to another distinctive figure in the history of the game!!

On the protracted departure I can remember corresponding with Jimmy James on the subject, when he was club secretary, who despite his rather brisk military manner, left me with the impression that he did get the nature and ways of county cricket. His successor less so.

At the AGM in 1988 (?) when Cecil Paris first communicated the idea of a new ground for the club, members’ opinion was got on board partly by selling it as apple pie and motherhood and also partly by the prospect of the new, easier parking arrangements that there would be!!

Comment by StephenFH

Hahaha. Yes me and Fred worked well together and tried to get a bit more pace into the pitches – but Bournemouth being Bournemouth the real pacy wickets were beyond achievement. Ah yes – the Winton end committee, one of the beardy ones resembled WG Grace and his name was Tony. I remember the man and his wife that parked their car at that end and got their comfy chairs in situ’ to watch the cricket. Jimmy James was a good bloke – I really liked him. Very inclusive to the staff and gave us the “heads up” on many issues. Which is more than can be said for others in the Northlands Road posse! The selling of “apple pie etc” was predictable, I am pretty sure the issue for Hampshire centred around the fact that they had 3,000 members from Bournemouth and the obvious fear was that if or when they pull out of Dean Park – how many of those members would renew and travel to Southampton on a regular basis. It is all history now of course, but as I mentioned in a previous comment – it is such a shame that counties have decided the outer grounds are no longer required.

Comment by anorthernsoulweb

…deck chairs in the garages and that idyllic view across the ground to watch framed by the trees that you had.

Tony was a real character, complete tee-total and vegetarian lunches. He could immerse himself watching through his binoculars in ways that many didn’t. It may have been after you left, but one year a sympathetic mayor invited the entire Winton end committee into his tent for afternoon teas……he wanted ‘real cricket people’!!

Members of said committee still convene at the GB Beer Festival each year but the cricket watching is as much Dorset’s out grounds now as it is watching Hampshire, some life-members included. The non-use of DP since a school took it over is a real shame, a crime really.

Comment by StephenFH

The one part of that job I enjoyed so much was 9am on the first morning of a county championship game. Why 9am? That was the designated time fir the umpires to be at the ground to inspect the wicket. Why did I love it? Firstly, we had no idea who the umpires would be – the senior umpire would arrive first with his colleague a bit later. Fred and I had groans when we saw it was certain umpires and others we absolutely loved. Chatting on the steps of the old cowshed with some of them was magical, if you are a cricket fan. Just hearing the stories they had to tell, their opinions of certain players is something I never forget. You are right, beardy Tony was a character alright – a very intelligent man with strong opinions…lol. The view we had was very good and very close to the covers if they were needed. Funny that sat there seemed to bring in quite a lot of well known faces for a chat. Dean Park had that community of cricket lovers and people that just wanted to enjoy cricket chat all day long……thinking back, we often do so with rose tinted specs’ but this part of Bournemouth and Hampshire CCC is sorely missed.

Comment by anorthernsoulweb

Interesting and (just about) recognisable photo, pre the distinctive clock but plus some extra balcony. Is it pre 1900?
There used to be a picture of WG Grace at DP hanging up in the pavilion when Hampshire played there in the 1970s and later, and the pavilion then was quite similar to that in that photo.

The view beyond is not so easy to relate to: the sea is not much more than a mile away! Parts of it look like Kings Park.

Comment by StephenFH

My instinctive response to this photograph is that it is not Dean Park. After further thought I suppose it could be the pavilion before the present one which dates from c1900 I believe. I too remember seeing the WG Grace picture which my memory tells me was dated 1902. The pavilion in that picture was definitely the present pavilion. Looking at the figures, both cricketers and spectators, everything shouts Edwardian. So a bit of mystery!

Comment by Ian Laidlaw

The balcony looks right and it is certainly labelled Bournemouth CC on the back but maybe you’re right. The WG Grace picture was I think him walking out with captain/wicketkeeper Charles Robson in a Gents v Players Festival game. WG never played against Hampshire in Hampshire in a Championship game.

Comment by pompeypop

Lovely stories about Bournemouth from our new ‘Northern Soul’ recruit (thanks) – staying up late too!. In the Archive we have a minute book from the Bournemouth Sub-Committee meetings – I’ve never read it in detail but there will no doubt be some interesting things in there

Comment by pompeypop

I am pretty sure it is Dean Park – the home dressing room looks just how I remember it. If I am wrong someone with a stronger grasp of the Hampshire CCC history will put me right. As I remember the photographs in the pavilion, the ground was opened in 1902, but I am unsure whether that was the year Hampshire first played there? There is/was a picture of WG Grace and a picture of the opening of Dean Park hung in the pavilion. I also recall a picture of the batsman (name escapes me) that scored the largest total in an innings on the ground. I actually met this man when he came in to Dean Park to look at the wicket preperation. I am convinced it is Dean Park though.

Comment by anorthernsoulweb

And more thanks. That man was RH ‘Dick’ Moore – an innings never beaten for Hampshire although Crawley and Carberry came close. His son still watches Hampshire regularly. Hampshire first played a first-class game there in 1897 and their first Championship game in the following year

Comment by pompeypop

Thank you…..apologies for not remembering his name. Yes, I have to admit I had no idea who he was when he came into the ground to look at pitch preperations for the upcoming county match. It was Geoff Ford that informed me who he was – mentioning the picture in tbe pavilion. What a lovely, sweet man…..when I asked about the innings he brushed it off as ” a long time ago”. So, it seems the pavilion opened a few years after Hampshire started playing there….official opening I should say. Thanks for your reply 🙂

Comment by anorthernsoulweb

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