Hampshire Cricket History


Groundhog Day
April 30, 2017, 5:17 pm
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Gloucestershire’s Ian Cockbain has just hit the first ball of the final over v Middlesex for six to win the match for the reigning Champions. He finished with a not out century and at the other end, former Hampshire ‘Frenchman’, Benny Howell ended 86*, to add to his 10-1-40-3. Howell and Cockbain have ‘done a Somerset’ – chasing 257 to win they were 65-5 and ended 257-5, an unbeaten partnership of 192.

Well played Benny – your turn Lewis … (sorry, immediate curse of the blogger)

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Today
April 30, 2017, 9:55 am
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Four born overseas, two signed from other counties and not one Hampshire-born player

UPDATES: In the game at Hove, Adam Hose from the IOW (ex-Hants 2s) scored 76 in a partnership of 151 with Elgar. Danny Briggs’ took 1-59 in his ten overs (Hildreth). Wheater no doubt irritated his former team-mates. No game for Kent, so no Rouse or Coles. (4.30) Benny Howell 3-40 v Middx and now batting to save the game.



Formative Years
April 30, 2017, 6:57 am
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I first saw Hampshire late in 1959, watched them regularly from 1960 and was a member from 1961. But my 60s ‘swung’, so there were always other attractions, especially in seaside summers when anyway I preferred playing to watching.

So if I write about how the kind of county cricket I loved has virtually disappeared what am I referring to? 1961 of course, which were great days, but I was only 11 and I don’t suppose I really understood that much, although I have a clear image still of ‘Shack’, Roy Marshall, Sainsbury and the others.

Through the seasons of 1968-1970 I was often away from Hampshire pursuing a career as a musician and saw relatively little – and I seem to remember, only in Portsmouth – although my school friend Richard McIlwaine was simultaneously pursuing his dreams of a county cricket career, so I followed his progress. In the end he didn’t become the new ‘Shack’ and I never threatened Mick Jagger’s dominance, so I came back to Pompey, to my studies and in 1971 resumed watching county cricket regularly. I have a feeling it is those years of the early 1970s that were really the formative ones for me.

In 1971 Hampshire were a team in transition. Their recently appointed captain Richard Gilliat still had ‘old hands’ like White, Marshall, Livingstone and Sainsbury but also emerging younger players such as Turner, Jesty, Lewis. In 1971, Hampshire’s 2nd XI (including my pal McIlwaine) won their Championship, with key contributions from Lewis, O’Sullivan, Mottram and Murtagh. We didn’t know then where that would lead.

For the first team, 1971 began with a Sunday League match at Bournemouth where Hants restricted Notts to 122-8 and won by 6 wickets in the 33rd over. Cottam took 2-13 in his eight overs off the run-up restricted to 15 yards and Richards scored 69 – more than twice anyone else in the match. It was not untypical of limited-overs matches which, back then, were relatively low-scoring, not least because played on a variety of grounds and uncovered pitches.

Three days later the first-class season opened in the Parks on 28 April. The University side had JM Ward (Derbyshire) and MJJ Faber (Sussex) who in 1975 would conspire to ruin Hampshire’s chase for the title but that’s another tale. Faber scored 62 of the students’ 200 all out and there were wickets for Sainsbury whose match analysis was an incredible 40-21- 40-6.

Richards and the uncapped Greenidge opened with a partnership of 233, and a century for each, then Gilliat made 74 against his old side and Hampshire’s 386-9 dec was sufficient to win by an innings and 123 runs. Bob Cottam took 4-17 in dismissing the University for 63, which included a 10th wkt partnership of 16.

Then it was on to Southampton and the first Championship match, relatively early since it started on May Day. More stories of 1971 to follow …



A New Beginning?
April 28, 2017, 9:17 pm
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It’s early days, but …

I keep thinking about how to make sense of my relationship with county cricket, given the events of the past couple of years.

I don’t mind a T20 competition between all 18 counties, but I don’t care about it, and I’ll never do anything to support the new rubbish.

For decades I told myself that what I really loved – and it is the right word – was first-class cricket. I really did too, but a light went out last year and I realised I’d been kidding myself for about the past 20 years. I did love it, but it hardly resembles that old object of my affection any more, and I see no prospect of that ever returning.

So I’m left with limited-overs, knock-out cup matches which started in my fourth year of watching county cricket, although it was a couple more years before I saw a game live. Over the years I’ve been put off limited-overs by the endless ODIs about which I care very little, but at the county level, over the 55 seasons, I have seen some very fine games, not just the Finals, but others, with great performances even, to offer one example, Barry Richards’ magnificent century v ‘One Day Kings’ Lancashire at Bournemouth (August 1972) despite our defeat.

I suggested below it’s the closest to the club cricket many of us played, and I’m suddenly finding a new interest which has been enormously stimulated by our game yesterday – not least that in 50 overs we seem more willing to play ‘our own’ guys in that competition – and even more by the two matches today. Somerset’s win was fantastic – and quite resounding in the end; while Leics have just beaten Lancs scoring 311-7 with just four balls remaining: 625-15 wkts in fewer than 100 overs, a thrilling finish, and in many games (like ours yesterday) spin bowlers being important, which is a rarity these days in the Championship.

I wonder whether I can sustain this new enthusiasm?

 



It’s not often
April 28, 2017, 12:36 pm
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I agree completely with Colin Graves, but I’m with him 100% on this week’s headline

IMG_6974.jpg

Whether we feel the same about that outcome is of course a different matter.

Meanwhile, in the new edition of The Cricketer, Derek Pringle observes of cricket that “the pursuit of new audiences seems to be the only economic model anyone takes notice of these days”. (As Rod Bransgrove said to a Member at the Forum, “It’s not designed for you sir”**)

Incidentally, inside The Cricket Paper, I read that a certain Tom Barber took 4-41 for Middlesex 2nd XI v Kent 2nd XI. I wonder if it’s the same one?

**PS I missed this one, from your Chairman, speaking to Ivo Tennant in the Cricketer about the changes: “I don’t see the need for seven Tests and 12 Championship matches per county each summer … and I have my doubts about 50-over cricket as well”.

There are people who ask me why I’m disenchanted with county cricket, honestly, there really are. And I thought there were 14 Championship matches, but as I’ve been saying, don’t ever assume it stops there.



Self, self-sufficiency & selfishness
April 28, 2017, 8:30 am
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Fascinating interview with the very bright Ansari:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p05160qq

County cricketers today are far better cared for than those of 30/40/50 years ago, when they were only employed part-time and most worked in the ‘real world’ during the winter. There are however, significant implications in this interview that this is not wholly an advantage.

Compare that world of today, with an interview with Mike Hill, Hampshire’s reserve wicketkeeper of the 1970s, who, after the premature death of coach Geoff Keith also ran the 2nd XI. This appeared in the latest PCA publication

MIKE HILL copy

 



Off Out
April 27, 2017, 4:43 pm
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to entertain my public (they’ve both promised to turn up) so I’ll miss the end. Hampshire will have to make a real mess of this not to win now but the really good news – the performances of Mason Crane and Tom Alsop! I believe they’re both English and indeed Hampshire products.