Hampshire Cricket History

Then & Now
February 24, 2017, 1:02 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

There is a very interesting juxtaposition of two major articles on the sports pages of today’s Times. On page 66, Johnny Bairstow acknowledges that the kind of IPL money being paid for Tymal Mills (etc) “naturally … changes some people’s outlook”, while Jos Buttler says that although the 2005 ‘Ashes’ series was the “big thing” for his generation, were he that bit younger, he might, like Mills, concentrate on T20, adding “Test cricket is facing some big challenges”.

On the page opposite is the story of Bobby Stokes who is featured in a book subtitled “the man from Portsmouth who scored Southampton’s most famous goal”. In the article, Giles Smith describes how people from Pompey “are not meant to win the FA Cup for Southampton”, yet Bobby never encountered any problems around his home city and indeed, having won the cup, he returned home to Paulsgrove to “banners hanging off the houses, people in the streets”. I particularly like the idea by Mark Sanderson, who wrote the book of Bobby as the man who “crosses the divide between the two cities and sort of debunks it”. Sadly, I don’t think that impact has lasted too well – there is still too much (sometimes malicious) nonsense about ‘skates’ and ‘scummers’ in both cities, but the other part of Bobby’s story that appeals is the relative modesty of the hero and the ordinary life he lived, albeit ending tragically young. Fortunately most professional sportsmen from that era, survived more contentedly.

The comparison between the two eras is stark, exacerbated by the sacking today of the football manager who achieved the greatest miracle in modern football just nine months ago. That is a consequence of excessive rewards, huge salaries, signing fees and the rest – and now it’s coming to cricket, to which can be added the increasingly probable replacement of the greatest form of the game, with something far more trivial. At least football is still eleven versus eleven over 90 minutes.

13 Comments so far
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I do wonder how long football will remain eleven versus eleven over ninety minutes though. Following crickets dumbed down T20 I see we have recently had a GolfSixes shortened golf tournament and currently there is a one frame Snooker Shoot-Out competition running (although admittedly this isn’t a brand new idea).

How long will it be before the average football fan won’t be able to spend ninety whole minutes concentrating on an outdated game that hasn’t changed it’s format for well over a century?

Comment by James

You could be right James. Boy, I’m glad I watched and cared when I did, although increasingly I can imagine spending my last years not caring about sport very much at all.

Comment by pompeypop

Try watching Federer v Nadal in the final of the Australian Open Dave, it might, just might, rekindle your interest in sport, especially if you’re a Federer fan like me.It sets a fine example to all those overpaid footballers (and probably some cricketers) who complain when they have to play two games of 90 mins. in a week. And they have ten other players to help them, so are probably just strolling around for 2/3rds of the game!!

Comment by Dave Wilson

Please! Don’t depress me any more. . .

Comment by Henry Thompson

Sorry Henry. I guess I’m just getting things off my chest. Over the past few months, I feel like I’ve lost almost all my interest in sport – it’s been quite an odd experience, after around 60 years

Comment by pompeypop

When t20 was a twinkle in the eye of the Sunday League, it was almost a norm to build ‘a base’ in the first 20 overs keeping wickets in hand and then accelerate in the second 20 overs. The modern incarnation in a way is a logical enough contraction.

Can remember people thinking that sponsorship by a cigarette was something to leave behind, meanwhile in Australia…….

Comment by stephenfh

Just wait till Colin Graves gets hold of footy.

Comment by Paul

Interestingly 5 a side has never really caught on in footy. Even rugby remains largely in its original format. Of course both these sports are of shorter duration than cricket in any current format.

Comment by Paul

The thing about Sport is you have to be able to pretend it’s important.

When you’re just watching people work, it’s over.

I think I can identify the tipping point almost exactly, for me. When we signed Kyle Abbott – a man shutting the door on his test dream, just for what Pete Postlethwaite would have termed a “few lousy bob”.

Comment by Jeremy

That’s it. A long while ago now, the door shut for me like that after 30 years of playing, watching and coaching football – and it’s never opened again.

Comment by pompeypop

Ah Pete Postlethwaite. One of the finest actors of his generation.

I agree with Dave W above. There is still good sport out there to watch. It’s just that increasingly it’s not what the media talk about as they seem unable to distinguish between money and sport..

So avoid the hype, trust your judgement and you will find it.

I’m off to enjoy a non-league football match today. An easy journey, easy parking and a tenner to get in to watch a group of guys giving their best and earning a few quid for their efforts. Far more to do with sport than the Premier League and infinitely more enjoyable!

Comment by James

TMS commentators have over the decades done a good job at communicating the importance of what was in front of them. Not sure how much they were pretending sometimes.

Off to the Hawthorns today to see a club from the heritage of English football play a club with the history the Cherries have so even in the Premier League……

Comment by stephenfh

I was rather thinking of all the various media outlets who, for example, do not ever mention the County Championship the flagship competition of our national summer sport.

The TMS team are an obviously exception although even within this group there are those who seem to regard cricket competitions in increasing importance according to the money they generate.

Comment by James

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