Hampshire Cricket History


Back to ’71
May 2, 2017, 8:07 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

As I’ve said, this was probably the start of my formative years as a serious ‘watcher’ of county cricket (I was 21). Before that I had mixed autograph-collecting, playing our own games in the corners of grounds and preferably playing my own school games. That was however a perfectly fine ‘induction’ even at 11 or 12 – remarkably I did not feel my general intelligence and engagement demanded that the game should start and finish in an afternoon.

One fine thing about the Championship in those days was that we were leaving behind decades of dominance by Yorkshire and Surrey and moving into a period where most teams could (and would) at least aspire to winning the title. Glamorgan started it in 1969, followed by Kent 1970, Surrey 1971, Warwickshire 1972, Hampshire 1973, Worcestershire 1974, Leicestershire 1975 and so-on.

So when Hampshire met Northants at Southampton for their first Championship match of 1971 they were well-matched teams. On 1 May, Hampshire batted first, took three bonus points in the 85 overs then allowed, and after 103 overs on that Saturday Gilliat declared on 286-5, leaving Northants a further 80 minutes batting. 103 overs plus 80 minutes in the day!

For Hampshire there were half centuries from Richards, Livingstone and top-scorer Sainsbury, while Peter Willey took 2-31, after which he and his opening partner Osman defied Hampshire that evening, closing on 56-0. Willey kept going on the second day, reaching 133 before John Rice got him – Rice had been with Surrey briefly but was a Hampshire boy and was in the side because ‘Butch’ White was injured, a problem that would persist throughout this, his final season with Hampshire. Bob Cottam took 3-58 in 29 typically tight overs but Northants declared on 270-7.

Before the close, Hampshire lost their top three, ending 71 ahead but on the third morning the wrist-spin of Mushtaq (5-74) ran through them, with only Roy Marshall (52) resisting. Northants needed 173 to win in three hours (no overs then) and Cottam gave them hope, dismissing Willey without scoring, but David Steele and Osman each made 60s, adding 117 for the 2nd wicket and they won in Jesty’s ninth over, with 16 balls to spare. Sainsbury took 2-34, in what would be a fine season but with Castell now bowling seamers, Hampshire had no equivalent to Mushtaq.

PS: 352 overs were bowled in the game – it would have been 354 had Northants needed the final two, which is an average of 118 overs per day. That’s 22 overs more than you get today, and in 1971 there was no ‘overtime’ allowed. The two three-innings, drawn games at the Ageas Bowl this season so far, have lasted 359 and 350 overs, so when people say the Championship is now four-day cricket, what they mostly mean is the old three-day game, stretched over four days.

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2 Comments so far
Leave a comment

So BP’s could be earnt in 170 overs of 350, 48%.

Now its 220 of 384, 58%.

And we activate legislate for “better” pitches.

Comment by Jeremy

I thought we penalised better pitches Jeremy!

Comment by James




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