Hampshire Cricket History

Back in 1960
July 14, 2017, 9:05 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

England beat South Africa at Lord’s, the last time they did so, until Sunday. On that occasion it was the second Test after England had won the first by 100 runs at Birmingham. As I’ve reported before, I saw my first county game in August 1959 but 1960 was really the birth of my love affair with cricket. I should have played at school in 1959, but dislocated my elbow, half-an-hour before the first game and missed the whole season! So instead of a sunny start, my first year of playing , watching Hampshire and attending to a full Test series was the rather soggy summer of 1960.

John Arlott described the South African’s tour that summer as “the unhappiest ever made by a party of overseas cricketers in England” and the main reasons were the weather, an anti-apartheid campaign, the loss of the first three Tests and therefore the series with two still to play, the first financial loss on an English tour for almost 50 years, the failure to develop a single significant young player, and the ‘no-balling’ for throwing of Geoff Griffin – even in an exhibition match – which was effectively the end of his Test & first-class career.

I thought there were some odd parallels with this week’s games. The final judgement on Griffin came at Lord’s so he did not play in the next Test, at Trent Bridge. While it’s a far less permanent punishment, Rabada, who played at Lord’s will not appear today. As in 1960, the South Africans seem in a certain disarray – not helped now by the Kolpak controversy, and while apartheid is not an issue, Rabada’s absence might lead to a problem because the South Africans are required, over a season and all forms, to average at least six “players of colour”.

The most intriguing parallel for me is perhaps that of Liam Dawson with the Glamorgan all-rounder Peter Walker who was a lower order Test batsman and left-arm bowler who varied between SLA and medium pace. Unlike Liam (so far) he scored some runs in the first three games (9, 37, 52 & 30) but his bowling returned just 13-3-34-0 (despite taking 47 first class wickets for Glamorgan). Like Liam he was also a fine fielder.

In truth England didn’t need him because Statham and Trueman took 52 wickets in the five match series at under 20 apiece. Walker was omitted from the drawn fourth Test in favour of my Gloucestershire namesake, who took 4-58, and that was the end of Walker’s brief Test career.

He went on to present Sunday League cricket on BBC2 and was on the balcony at the Oval when Mark Nicholas was handed the trophy in 1986. I’m not sure I see Liam’s future in the media but let’s hope he has a longer Test career than Walker – who was incidentally born in South Africa. Plus ca change as they say.


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Here are a couple of additional stats from that series which I reported in ‘Forever Changes’ and seem astonishing today:

Throughout the 1960 Test Match series, England’s batsmen scored at about 2.4 runs per over which in today’s games of 90 overs per day would give a total of perhaps 220 runs. The defeated South Africans were slightly quicker at around 2.5 per over – just a few runs more per day.

The Lord’s Test Match of 1960 ended early on day four with just 45,000 paying customers, then at Nottingham the aggregate was just 12,000 including 7,300 on the first two days, while at Manchester there were 33,000.

Another interesting coincidence then, is that in the light of declining attendances, three years after the South African tour English cricket launched the first (65-over) knock-out cup. And three years from 2017 …

Comment by pompeypop

In late August, towards the end of that tour, the South Africans came to Portsmouth and played a three-day first-class game against the Combined Services, which the tourists won by 227 runs. The Services XI included a number of county players in the last years of National Service: Brian Roe (Somerset), Richard Langridge (Sussex), Paddy Phelan (Essex), and Barry Stead (Yorks/Notts) whose opening partner Richard Earnshaw bowled a little for Hampshire’s 2nd XI. The CS captain GG Tordoff had captained Somerset for one season in 1955. I saw all three days and pestered the cricketers for lots of autographs – none of which I still have, I’m sorry to say.

Comment by pompeypop

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