Hampshire Cricket History

The Young Ones
August 13, 2017, 8:04 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

Back in 2011 I made my one visit to see cricket in Liverpool where, with just minutes to spare, Hampshire lost a game they should have saved. The reason was an outstanding bowling performance by Simon Kerrigan who took 9-51. One match later, Hampshire continued to influence the title race, denying Warwicks on a pretty dead Rose Bowl pitch while Lancashire beat Somerset at Taunton.

Six years on, two-or-three of us were discussing Kerrigan while watching Lancs 2nd XI at Arundel. He wasn’t there, and I learned he’s now on loan at Northamptonshire where in his first bowl recently he took 1-73 v Gloucs.

It’s a long way down from a Test Match at the Oval isn’t it? – and he’s not the only young spinner whose career did not fulfil it’s early promise. I’ve mentioned this before, but can you name the English slow-left-armer who got to 100 first-class wickets quicker than anyone since Derek Underwood? He too went off on England duty and never seemed to be quite the same bowler again …

You know of course; Danny Briggs. It makes me wonder about the immediate future for Mason Crane. He is such an outstanding prospect but not unbeatable. He has one ‘five-for’ return this season in the Championship – a second innings at Taunton (5-40). Since then his Championship match figures have been 5-154 v Warwicks, 1-222 v Surrey, and 4-123 v Lancs, plus a couple of ‘international’ games v South Africa (Lions) and South Africa A (Hampshire) with an aggregate of 0-204. I hope he’s going to the Test to gain valuable match experience, but I’m a bit fearful of an early selection.

Thanks principally to Raj Maru, Mason came through our junior sides and you all know how I feel about that ‘production line’, so I note Paul’s thought that another of ‘ours’, Lewis McManus, clearly faces a challenge when he’s fit again and as Paul says, a challenge from a South African. But actually in the case of Calvin Dickinson it’s not quite so clear-cut as the signing of Roussouw.

Firstly, after Wheater departed, we needed cover for Lewis and we needed someone who could step up straight away. And while it’s true that Calvin was born in Durban, his family moved here more than a decade ago and he first played cricket in England on the Isle of Wight. He attended Ryde School before moving to St Edward’s, Oxford and played for their school side for some years (2011-2015). In that last year he played some matches for Worcs 2nd XI then went to Oxford Brookes University where last season, he played in their two first-class matches – and others.

He also began playing for Essex 2nd XI and was effectively an exchange ‘transfer’ when Wheater went from Hampshire back to Essex. Calvin’s first-class debut for us this year was his third first-class match, and I think his 99 is unique on first-class debut for Hampshire.

I interviewed him (and Chris Sole) for the Portsmouth Supporters lunch pre-season and found him a very pleasant and ambitious young man. He’s not quite ‘one of ours’ but he’s not simply another of those instant-fix Kolpaks either. And given that his absence meant (Aussie) Fraser Hay being pressed into action at Arundel, I guess he’s not denying a chance, yet at least, to the next young prospect from Hambledon or Aldershot …


(The ‘Shots’ continue to warrant a mention, unlike Poor Old Pompey, Southampton Nil etc.)


12 Comments so far
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I agree. It’s good for Mason to get the call but, as you say, his wicket-taking ability in first class matches is not the same as in limited overs matches. I watched him bowling to Trescothick (a year or two ago, admittedly) and Tres was happy to block until the bad ball.
But he does like bowling lots. I suspect he will be useful in the nets helping Root etc get ready for Bishoo.

Comment by Dave Pople

Saw him at the Oval where he did not make much impression but that was in a game with scores of 1297 for 20, with such little 4 day cricket it is very hard to say anything much about his progress. In the t20 games since then he has an economy rate of 6 point something and he does seem to have the resilience for coming back after an expensive over, as he did at Cardiff against the South Africans. Looking good for the white ball game, as for the red ball one……..

Comment by stephenfh

I do think he’s a fabulous prospect and from what I know of him a well-balanced, bright young man. He should soon be pretty much lost to Hampshire, but I just hope they get it right – for his sake.

Comment by pompeypop

Meanwhile but still on the subject of young players the Hampshire website reports Joe Weatherley has been recalled from his loan to Kent.

However as it is on our website I suspect he has been recalled to work in Beefy’s whilst sitting behind Tom Alsop awaiting first team action.

Comment by James

Today’s results couldn’t have gone better!

Comment by Paul

Yes, Mason Crane is more effective in one day cricket as batsmen have to score runs quickly and attack him. In the 4 day game they adopt the Trescothick approach that Dave mentions. However, it has to be said that the support he receives from the Hampshire fielders in the 4 day game has been poor at times. His wicket tally could have been higher and the runs conceded lower if fielders had taken the chances emanating from his bowling. Crane himself is turning into a very good fielder; quick to the ball, safe catcher and a good accurate thrower. One of the key factors in him succeeding for England will be the field Joe Root sets for him. Crane might have to be quite assertive on stating what he wants. Leggies for England have been a rarity for the best part of 50 years.

Comment by Alan Edwards

Good points Alan – and I’d suggest more than 50 years. Bob Barber had a bit of success in the 1960s, Robin Hobbs less, but going back 70 years to the war I suppose Doug Wright was the best (last Test 1950/51)? But even his 108 wickets cost almost 40 each – so it tended to be the finger spinners – Laker, Lock, Wardle (a bit of left-hand wrist too), then Titmus, Illingworth, Allen, Underwood etc who dominated. There’s not been an English Warne – yet!

Comment by pompeypop

Dave, agree. For my next Newsletter, I have been researching Hampshire on Gloucestershire grounds. The one man who stands out above all others is Tom Goddard, who took more wickets against Hampshire than any other bowler (264) and ended his career with 2862 wickets. Yet he played only in 8 tests (22 wkts@26.72-far from being a failure). He was, of course, an off spinner. I dug deeper to find out that England always preferred bowlers who spun the ball away from the bat before, during and after his era. I wonder how many tests he would have played in the late 20th/early 21st century! I think Doug Wright was indeed the last leg spinner to play test cricket for England regularly (discounting Adil Rashid, who is good at knocking over a tail on the fourth afternoon but has always been much less effective against top order batsmen). Tommy Greenhough had a brief spell in the test side before those you mention, after which leggies became mistrusted even in county cricket and largely bowled only part time, apart from Robin Hobbs. Alan Castell was probably the most notable example to fall by the wayside in county cricket. Bill Alley rated him higher than Richie Benaud at the same age. But we all know what happened to Alan after that. I recall Jimmy Gray regarded him as the most natural cricketer he ever saw. Abdul Qadir, Shane Warne,and Stuart MacGill have since changed perceptions of leg spinners. The latter is, of course, Mason Crane’s mentor and has been hugely influential in his development and I understand that they are in touch regularly.

Comment by Alan Edwards

That’s good about Godard! – although I’m not surprised you found it. And I’d forgotten the other Tom(my) Greenhough. The India 1959 series was the first I followed (radio, TV, reports) and he featured in it but rather faded. I think he ran in hopping like a kangaroo?

Comment by pompeypop

I share concerns on the Crane selection and am most worried about the ECB ability to manage players added with the pressure the media could put on him if he doesn’t take lots of wickets inexpensively.

This I saw earlier from another cricket blog makes good points about why he should be selected https://www.thefulltoss.com/england-cricket-blog/mason-crane-cricket-england/

Comment by Ian

Thanks Ian, that full toss Blog article is interesting and in terms of leg-spin in seems he knows what he’s talking about (and I’m certainly no expert on wrist spin). On the other hand, either he’s been reading very different articles from me or he’s constructing the ‘English’ negative reaction as a (mythical) windmill at which to tilt. The only observations I hear are not that the stats tell against him but that there is a history of promising spinners in England not coming through as people hope. That’s to do with timing (of debut/promotion), management and coaching rather than Mason’s ability or potential.

Nonetheless definitely worth a read, and I hope whenever it comes, that Mason will enjoy a full and outstanding Test career

Comment by pompeypop

It is an interesting piece but I would suggest there is something else much for fundamental to spin bowling and that is what is between the bowler’s ears. A spin bowler and in particular a leg-spin bowler is going to get hit from time to time and what is most important is how they react to it. Obviously having an understanding captain is a big help but at he end of the day it boils down to whether the bowler has the mental strength to cope with it and come back for more.

Probably the best example in recent years was Mushtaq Ahmed when he was at Sussex. He could bowl ten wicketless overs for sixty or seventy and he would still be itching to bowl utterly convinced he would get wickets and so often he would end up taking five for a hundred or so. Mushtaq had that mental strength and self-belief but that generally comes from experience and it is rare for a young spin bowler, particularly a young English spin bowler who so oten has to bowl in less than favourable conditions, to have it.

Look at what happened to Simon Kerrigan when he was thrown in to the Test arena with an unsympathetic and less than trusting captain.

I’m sure Mason has the potential to be a far better bowler than the unfortunate Kerrigan but for once in my life I agree I agree with Michael Vaughan who said Crane shouldn’t be considered until he has played a lot more Championship cricket. (Mind you Vaughan then went on to suggest that England should pick Geroge Garton in the Test squad!).

Comment by James

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