Hampshire Cricket History

Quite Right!
May 5, 2017, 7:13 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

My apologies to Jo (especially) and Jeremy for my initial confusion over names here. It was early!

On the “Nil Points” post, Jo – as ever – makes an excellent point. I agree entirely that the world is now a different place and it’s perfectly reasonable for people who move towns, cities and countries to seek employment elsewhere – although if you work for Tesco’s, Lloyds Bank etc it’s not often that your place of employment makes big claims about local identity (HAMPSHIRE cricket).

Danny Livingstone who arrived with us from Antigua via a National Service residency in Warwickshire and a home in London, was a good example. Never close to international recognition and often keeping local players Barnard and Lewis out of the team through the 1960s, he was nonetheless a good player who will stay in our history in particular for one catch and one surviving partnership record.

BUT my KEY POINT, which perhaps I have not made sufficiently clear is not to deny the fact and merits of our diverse society and culture which I support wholeheartedly. It is to feel utterly dismayed at the neglect of cricket in Hampshire, particularly in the environments where people like me live, the inner cities. Josh McCoy is listed as Portsmouth-born but that’s because we have the maternity hospital – he’s a suburban kid from Purbrook.

And that’s it. We have a couple of very pleasant privately educated Winchester boys and no one else from Southampton or Portsmouth with Hampshire or any other county. We do excellent work these days with disabled cricket, women’s cricket etc but look at our academy players who come from all over the place. There are few cricketing roots in Hampshire that encourage anyone to aspire to a first-class career, whether with Hampshire or anyone else – and as a consequence, there are almost no Hampshire first-class cricketers.

But if you walk around the Ageas Bowl at any time the place is packed with coaches – unlike the 1950s and 1960s when it was (literally) just Arthur Holt. I reckon he’d be dismayed if not ashamed. What Richard Nyren would think is probably unprintable.

17 Comments so far
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Perhaps it helps to make my key point if I observe that this week, more cricketers born and raised in Dorset, Wiltshire, IOW, Berkshire, Staffordshire (etc) have been playing for first-class counties than those born in Hampshire. ULTIMATELY it’s not a matter of whether you play for the county of your birth and upbringing. It’s whether that county has cricket embedded in its culture, leading to young people taking up the game at a high level. I don’t think Hampshire does – any more.

Unless anyone else already has those figures, I might spend a bit of time this weekend compiling a new list of county origins of all our current county players, regardless of which county they ‘represent’. Wiltshire might do quite well, while France is ahead of Hampshire!

Comment by pompeypop

Football is king, Dave, particularly in the Pompey – Southampton conurbation. It’s just a fact of sporting life these days.

The (understandable) lack of out-ground cricket and, dare I say it, the stupid parochial ‘pompey/scummers’ mentality means cricket is always going to struggle to get a foot hold at the blue end of the Solent.

Comment by Neil M

Charlie Macdonell who was born in Basingstoke at Derby, Sean Terry (?) at Northants last year, on the BBC squad list for this year, born Southampton, educated AUS. Danny Briggs and Adam Hose.

To which could be added David Payne, Liam Norwell at Gloucestershire both born in Bournemouth in 1991, so born into the cricketing county of Hampshire as was then.

It’s not a long list; Somerset, Sussex and Kent all with more both born and born and playing for them. If the birthplace cum development of players is linked to wider interest and spectator numbers the RoseBowl could be in the wrong place all things 2020.

Comment by stephenfh

..Oops, David Payne born in Poole.

Comment by stephenfh

It was actually Jo that made the “Nil Points” comment below… fwiw I agree with both of you!

Tempting as it is, I hesitate to lay the blame for there being too few locals directly at HCplc’s door, if there is nothing in the pipeline, even near on a dozen coaches can’t do anything with them.

I increasingly view “our” team as “Branston’s Allstars”, and I enjoy the performance of those with a long term commitment to the “club” by far the most.

The PCA MVP tables allocate points to players for performances, might be a shorthand way on analysing the contribution from “local” (been at a county more than say 3 years?) as compared with that from “others”?

Comment by Jeremy

One of the things I certainly blame the old Cricket Board coaches for is their entrenched opposition to Cage Cricket. They did as much as any to get rid of the Cage and discourage its development, while other organisations, counties and countries were supportive. And if there is really “nothing” to work with, what’s been the point of ‘Chance to Shine’, which according to its own website has over the past 12 years “helped reverse the decline in cricket in state schools” (etc)?

Comment by pompeypop

Given that the ECB talk about giving kids “bat and ball experiences” their lack of enthusiasm for Cage Cricket does seem odd, as does the removal of the facility at the Bowl. I wonder why were HC so against it.

You’re right the factors I was thinking of re-pipeline (TV, State Schools) don’t explain the particular failure of Southampton and Portsmouth.

As to “Chance to Shine” their website has this:

“Chance to Shine Street, formerly known as StreetChance, launched in 2008 to bring cricket to children in inner-city areas in London. In 2011/12, the programme was expanded to six more cities: Birmingham, Bristol, Dewsbury, Hull Liverpool and Manchester.

It has now reached over 38,000 youngsters since 2008 and is taking cricket to new people in new areas that would otherwise miss out on the chance to play. 85% of participants since 2008 were not members of cricket clubs.”

So, its been great. But not here.

Of course this might lead one to wonder why the ECB have accumulated such large reserves, have a central staff of 200+, and spend £30m pa on Team England (Three Mercedes…).

Comment by Jeremy

Whoops, I see that’s “Chance to Shine STREET”, so perhaps their school effort is more nationwide, in which case it gets harder to rationalise!

Comment by Jeremy

Ha…..I did have a slight identity crisis when I saw the first version of this post!

Comment by joster69

Very sorry Jo!

Comment by Dave Allen

No problem at all…..😊

Comment by joster69

The fact that youngsters are not being introduced to cricket comes down to the almost complete lack of participation at school level other than private schools, and there are several valid reasons for that e.g. increasing disregard for and commitment to sport generally in schools (given the accent on academic achievements) facilities, equipment, staffing etc.

Comment by Peter Jeffs

As a former school teacher (with a very good side at Portchester in the 1970s that produced five long-term local league players) I take your point. It was very hard work and tougher still when I taught in the heart of Pompey.

Except that Education policy in this country – which I agree has not helped at all – is nation-wide. So, why are we failing in Hampshire to do what even the poorest parts of the country (eg the north-east, urban Lancas etc) are doing pretty well?

Comment by pompeypop

Whilst categorising players by county of birth it should always be remembered that mothers often have to cross county borders to access maternity hospitals (on the same basis as suburban mothers giving birth in a maternity unit in Portsmouth as Dave mentions in his original post).

I wonder for instance how many cricketers were born to Hampshire based families in Surrey’s Frimley Park Hospital?

Comment by James

That’s right James. Possibly in recent years, Chris Benham and Michael Bates for starters?

Comment by pompeypop

Yes I was thinking of these two but wasn’t sure where their family homes were.

Comment by James

I’ve seen a lot of youth and academy cricket over the last 5 years. What stands out for me is the growing proportion of boys from private schools. They receive the best coaching and have the greatest opportunity to develop skills. Obviously there are exceptions but they tend to be due to a strong local club with a good catchment area. (e.g. South Wilts and the amount of junior Wiltshire players they produce). The private schools focus on their own fixture lists ahead of the county programme…unless there is a strong link between county and school. (Think Millfield/Taunton schools and Somerset). As far as state schools are concerned there is no cricket in the south of England.
Hampshire suffers from a lack of private schools with strong cricket programmes. Therefore it’s not surprising we are where we are. The club has recognised this situation and we should see a much younger academy side this season with a focus on players who aren’t attached to a top club and need to be pushed to develop. Add in the increase in social mobility and it’s not surprising that so few players come from within the county.

Comment by BK

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