Hampshire Cricket History

What’s the worst thing that can happen?
September 24, 2017, 7:47 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

Obviously, particularly in the contemporary world, many worse things than losing a cricket match or being relegated. I have a feeling Hampshire will escape – probably right at the end for the third year running – but if they don’t?

On the radio ball-by-ball this week Don Topley was describing Hampshire as the “consistently most inconsistent of teams”, and match-by-match that’s probably true. But over their three seasons in Div One they have been consistently the worst side, relegation-threatened every year with no discernible improvement. There was a feeling that they started better this year but in truth they beat a Yorkshire side lacking many key players in the first match, since when they have two victories, against the bottom two.

Meanwhile Notts and Worcs who went down in that period appear to be returning, both with rebuilt sides, Worcs to a large extent (like Essex) home-grown.

And Hampshire? If they survive to play a fourth year what are their chances? Perhaps they’ll go out and buy some ‘instant fixes’, in which case I will simply say Coles, Wheater, Topley, Rossouw.

Perhaps they’ll look at the youngsters and 2nd XI. Here’s a fact then: In the ten seasons from 2000-2009 Hampshire gave debuts and then caps to Chris Tremlett, Jimmy Adams, James Tomlinson, Liam Dawson, James Vince, Danny Briggs; six pretty good cricketers, four involved with England and all having pretty full careers. Four of them were born within the county (inc IOW) and all came through our age group sides.

In the eight seasons since then (2010-present) Hampshire have brought through and given debuts to another group of ‘our own’, but of those that survive, not one has been capped or is clearly established in the Championship first team: Chris Wood, Tom Alsop, Brad Taylor, Lewis McManus, Mason Crane, Joe Weatherley, Felix Organ. Even Mason has played just six matches in the Championship this year, bowling fewer than 200 overs (16 wickets at 41 each).

‘Carbs’ has finished, Adams, Ervine and Smith are near the end, the cutting edge of the attack comprises three men, Abbott, Edwards and Berg all over thirty. Have the main 2nd XI bowlers like Salisbury, Sole and Hart shown the promise to play a full Championship season? I doubt it.

So, what’s the bigger tragedy – relegation and a chance to rebuild, hopefully like Essex and Worcs around a core of real Hampshire cricketers, or the present lot, with a couple more underperforming transfers and Kolpaks, limping through another Div One season?

19 Comments so far
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And 3 promising players, who came through the youth scheme and academy, and were awarded scholarships at the beginning of the 2017 season, were mysteriously sacked – Duggan, Goodwin and McCoy.

Comment by John West

Yes indeed John – I was particularly dismayed about McCoy, from Portsmouth, who won the first Tom Maynard scholarship (to Millfield) played for England U-19s but was apparently not good enough – a bit like Adam Hose (Warwicks) or Tom Barber (Middx). Or maybe – just maybe – for some years we’ve lacked the coaches with the ability to develop our own young players?

Comment by pompeypop

Hit, nail and head are three words that come to mind. Maybe, instead of spending a lot of money on buying in players, that money should be spent on coaches who have PROVEN ability in their trade.

Comment by John West

To be honest the worst thing that could happen is that we continue to be run by a Chairman who has no regard for Championship cricket. What message does that send to those that work for him?

I think Dave is right that we will avoid relegation which will inevitably mean things will continue as they are with nothing learned as we embark on another relegation fight.

I’m now seriously considering whether I will renew my membership. What’s the point if we are going to continue to drift along in a sea of mediocrity with management who lack the will to do anything about it? (Perhaps the question of why we should renew our memberships would be a good subject for a thread once the season is over?).

Comment by James

Ignoring Hampshire’s problems for a moment. Next week we are looking at an interesting end to a County Championship again. Proving that 4 day cricket can be exciting albeit not at The Bowl. If Somerset fail to win then they are down. However, if they win then Hampshire, Middlesex or Yorkshire could go down. We need to make sure we get the 12 points required and let the rest fight it out.

Comment by Tigger MIles

Going off track for a moment, Gordon District CC (Sydney) have announced that they have signed leg spinner Alex Patterson from Lancashire, on the presumption that Mason Crane will be touring Australia with the England side. They obviously know something that we don’t.

Comment by John West

Sorry, Patterson is their captain, it is Matt Parkinson who is joining them from Lancs!

Comment by John West

Naturally we are preoccupied with Hampshire’s shortcomings but I imagine similar recriminations are being voiced in several other counties. Is this not the inevitable result of cricket’s decline as a national sport and disappearance from state schools, with a reduction of the pool of young talent generally? First class cricket is on the way out and maybe we should learn to live with the degenerating standards in Hampshire and enjoy what is left of the game while we can. But in the meantime it would be gratifying if some miracle worker could be introduced to the coaching staff to maximise whatever ability there is in the academy.

Comment by Ian White

Definitely a good point about other counties suffering similar problems. Looking at scorecards and averages especially since the Championship returned Hampshire are not alone in being bowled out cheaply. It also goes some way to explaining why players are struggling to hold down a place in the England team.

Comment by Ian

Squad announced and it’s the same 13

Comment by Ian

Broadly I don’t disagree with you Ian but I would suggest that this sense of dissatisfaction has been around Hampshire’s first-class performances for some years now (the exception being the promotion year of 2014), whereas for example, Notts fans will have been dismayed last year but pretty content this year, Somerset have been surprisingly poor this year but pretty good last year, Middlesex, disappointed this year but won the title last year (ditto Yorkshire previously), Warwicks have been very poor just this year but have already started rebuilding (Sibley, Hose, Sidebottom) etc. I rather hope we won’t find ourselves down among the dead men (Leics, Derbys etc), frustrated season-after-season.

Comment by pompeypop

Worcestershire seem to be producing an almost never ending supply of young players. They are also very close to being promoted this season.

Comment by James

Some more figures about Hampshire in the County Championship. Ten seasons ago (2008) they finished third thanks to a late season revival, after Giles White replaced Paul Terry mid-season, with Hampshire in last place. Since that season they have often been good value in the white ball competitions, but that is the last time they finished in the top half of Division One.

In the next three years, they were 6th, 7th and last (relegated) then they finished fourth in two consecutive Division Two seasons, before promotion in 2014. Back in Division One, they have been 7th and 8th (last year).

Hampshire’s last serious challenge for the Championship was in 2005 when they were runners-up to Notts. In the past ten seasons the title has been won by Durham, Notts (again), Lancs, Warwicks, Durham (again), Yorkshire (twice), Middlesex and Essex.

In six seasons, from 1992-1997, Hampshire finished no higher than 13th (of 18) in the old single division days – the worst sustained period postwar. We were also relegated in 2000 & 2002 so the past quarter-of-a-century in the Championship hasn’t been much fun!

Comment by pompeypop

Thanks for cheering us up Dave!

Comment by James

I’m sorry! I’ll try to be a happy bugger this week.

Comment by pompeypop

In my first 25 years as a member, Hampshire finished in the top five, nine times including two titles and two as runners-up. I guess I thought it might go on like that for ever! Of course in the same time we won three Sunday Leagues, but never reached a Lord’s Final so …

Comment by pompeypop

From your stats it looks like our average position under Giles White is 9.125. I wonder if there is another coach/director with such long tenure and such a poor record?

At the early season forum our panjandrum opined “I don’t pick the team, I pick the people that pick the team”.

Unfortunately, I guess if asked “How’s it looking?” he’d reply “We’ve made finals day in the most important competition (however many years it is), so he’s doing what I pay him for”.

In 2009 membership with parking was £220. Now, with dd discount, the equivalent is £320 (45%, cpi up 11% over the same period). And now we rent the ground from Eastleigh.

Comment by Jeremy

Whoops, cpi 21%, typo, sorry!

Comment by Jeremy

Finishing in 9.125th position in an eight team league certainly would be a worry!

But in all seriousness I think you are quite right about our success being judged on how we do in slog cricket.

Perhaps as our Chairman has such a low regard for Championship cricket he should introduce a new Championship only membership class at a vastly reduced cost?

Comment by James

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