Hampshire Cricket History

Looking Forwards
December 31, 2016, 8:39 am
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Happy New Year folks. In some fairly significant respects, 2016 was the least happy cricket year of my life although this Blog brings me great cheer. I’m still very ambivalent about what 2017 might hold but I guess the only real wish I have these days is that Hampshire might win one more Championship. I used to say ‘in my lifetime’ but now I’m just as inclined to think, before the entire competition disintegrates or is abandoned by those with power.

So what about you? The Genie grants you just ONE cricket wish for 2017:

A New Fashion
December 30, 2016, 8:09 am
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Pakistan 443-9 declared, including a double centurion, lose by an innings. Is 500 the new 300?

Close of Play
December 23, 2016, 4:42 pm
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For a day or two. Thanks for the kind messages on the previous post and a Very Merry Christmas to you all

No More Changes
December 21, 2016, 4:50 pm
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No, not wishful thinking – just letting you know that Forever Changes has sold out, has been removed from Amazon, and I don’t propose to reprint (it’s already out-of-date of course!). I’ve sold a few in the run-up to Christmas but it is slowing down now.

I’m very grateful to everyone who bought a copy or supported the project – I was able to present the cheque to Cage Cricket earlier in the year and every county plus MCC, Wisden etc was sent a copy although I’ve no idea if it had any impact.

The most important thing for me was to say what I did however insignificant the consequences might be – so, cheers and a Merry Christmas!

For Liam read Ledger?
December 21, 2016, 1:53 pm
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Liam finished with 66* and 0, plus 2-129 on his Test debut. The Times today gave him 6/10 but said “It appears that he is unlikely to be called on again anytime soon”.

If so, it reminded me of one of Hampshire’s first Test players, Southampton-born AJL (Ledger) Hill who played three times for England v South Africa in the winter of 1895/6. The games were only designated Test Matches retrospectively and as well as Hill, Christopher Heseltine played for England and RM Poore (a serving British officer) ‘guested’ for South Africa (Jennings in reverse)

Hill had a fine series (three matches) mainly as a batsman, and in the last match scored 124 to finish with a batting average of 62.75 – rather similar to Liam’s. He only bowled in the final innings but took 4-8 as England won.

Hill played on until 1921 but was never picked for England again, although as an amateur he was not always available and indeed stayed in South Africa during 1896 on business. I doubt whether Liam will stay in India!


AJL Hill

Top Eight?
December 21, 2016, 11:26 am
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In the Times yesterday, hidden beneath all the sad tales about England’s cricketers, was a piece about the Essex Chairman who is “unconvinced” by the ECB’s T20 plans of last week and fears that Andrew Strauss wants a permanent eight-team Championship with all the best players and featuring the eight Test Match ground counties – with no promotion or relegation for the also-rans.

December 20, 2016, 4:27 pm
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Who’s to blame then? I’ve just watched the Verdict (Sky TV) and listened to Nasser, Bob Willis, Steve Harmison and Mark Butcher. They were furious about today’s shambles – with complete justification. Apart from the batsmen being inconsistent and reckless, and the bowlers simply not good enough, they pointed out the 20 missed chances in the field during this series. Apart from the batting, bowling and fielding though, England were pretty good.

Bob Willis observed that something has to be done about Championship pitches to improve English spin bowling and batsmen playing spinners. I think you might find a similar observation on this Blog somewhere.

Two names were not mentioned at all, as being in any way culpable: Colin Graves and the born-again white ball advocate, Andrew Strauss. Their cavalier attitude to first-class cricket somehow escapes criticism, despite eight Test defeats during 2016.

Meanwhile, the exhausted centrally-contracted Test players pocket loadsamoney and next play a five-day Test in July. It’s a tough life.

A Steep Learning Curve!
December 19, 2016, 12:19 pm
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That young Dawson chap has certainly had an ‘interesting’ baptism in Test cricket but he’s done very well, two wickets to add to the fine innings and very tight bowling in the context – the best of the three spinners. I can’t help thinking too that he might replace Root at slip(?)

I begin to wonder how long it will be before Mason Crane is playing for England.

Double Six again
December 18, 2016, 8:01 am
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66* yesterday and delightful too, but today Liam was hit for two big sixes early on and it’s not really surprising on that pitch against those batsmen that Liam is not (yet?) having much impact as a bowler, although compared to Rashid he is giving some control.

However, I saw some interesting stats on screen this morning about the most successful visiting bowlers in India over the past 25 years. In terms of wickets, it’s no surprise that Murali and Warne topped the list but both averaged well over 40 apiece. Other spinners were similar, with only Swann (just) under 30, while the best averages (low 20s each) were McGrath, Gillespie and Steyn – all pace men – and Anderson in the low 30s.

PS No Indian Test player has ever played for Hampshire, but Paddy has just rushed on to treat an Indian batsman and it struck me that both Physios are from Hampshire

Lovely Liam!
December 17, 2016, 8:30 am
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So I managed to drift downstairs around 5.30 without damaging myself or the house, checked the score and saw ‘Daws’ was batting nicely, so I switched on the TV to find …

A static image and apologies for loss of vision!

I saw a little before lunch (theirs) had another quick kip and now I’m enjoying it very much – 100 partnership dug England out of a hole and now he has fifty. Looking at him, I’m imagining him as a kid out to play on a Saturday morning and coming home sweaty and covered in dirt. It’s how he’s looking now!

Maybe it was the knock on the head, second ball, but it’s been a typically gutsy knock and just what this somewhat ‘flaky’ batting line up needed after early cock-ups. Lovely.

PS: He finished 66* – terrific – and in case you missed it, the highest score by an England Test debutant at number 8, beating Johnny Bairstow’s dad (59). Nasser said he batted “beautifully”, Vic Marks said “Dawson was measured and controlled, he barely missed a ball”.

I’ll have to shut up for a while now – clearly a triumph for County Championship cricket!