Hampshire Cricket History

All Change
September 25, 2017, 3:12 pm
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Nothing today at Edgbaston, while just after tea, Somerset have lost four wickets for eight runs despite some poor catching by Middlesex. There’s been one run out, and the spinners have taken all the other seven wickets. In addition, the forecast out west for Wednesday is a bit horrid, and might stuff that day’s play. At Chelmsford, Yorkshire are taking wickets and bonus points.

Eight Needed. 4.30 pm – Somerset are all out with just one batting point which means they must win to stay up, and can only get to 147 points if they do win. Middlesex now have 146 points with today’s wickets, with the prospect of batting points to come. Hampshire are stuck on 140 points but let’s imagine that (even?) they can’t lose to Warwickshire in three days, so will get five points for a draw. They can’t play that way of course, but if that’s correct, Hampshire need to get three bonus points to survive.

Incidentally I was ranting on a couple of weeks ago that Hampshire should have declared at Uxbridge to deny Middlesex points. I suspect people were right in suggesting that Jimmy Adams is a nicer man than me and wouldn’t do that, but actually it’s in the playing regs – counties cannot declare merely to deny their opponents bowling points.

Down the Drain?
September 25, 2017, 9:35 am
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I’ve just caught the Warwickshire commentator (on-line). He says it’s very wet, no chance of play before lunch, and maybe no chance all day.

Meanwhile, it appears that the only match going ahead is at Taunton where Somerset will bat …

PS: 10.50 am, Yorkshire v Essex will start soon.

Off they go then
September 24, 2017, 5:49 pm
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Same squad as last week – the XI plus Crane and Wheal

Yorkshire are five points and one win ahead of Hampshire. As Tigger says, 12 points will take Hampshire to 152 points, one more than a maximum points win for Somerset and, coincidentally, one more than a maximum bonus points defeat for Middlesex.

But if Middlesex win, Somerset can only get 135 points so are down. If Somerset draw with full points they get to 140, where Hampshire are now so, if Hampshire get one point tomorrow, or Somerset drop one point, Somerset have to win to overhaul them.

Tigger stats v Warwickshire: http://hampshirecricket.net/Team_Warwickshire_FC_records.htm

PS BBC Weather for the week in Birmingham suggests rain overnight tonight might hang on into tomorrow morning, and that it will be wet again on Wednesday night. Otherwise probably OK. Taunton somewhat similar as the rain moves west to east.

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

Who Would You Pick?
September 23, 2017, 7:50 am
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Hampshire’s confidence is clearly shot, although a few players are still obvious choices either through their performances (eg Abbott) or necessity (eg Alsop)

Hampshire have three victories this year; the first against a weakened Yorkshire side, more than five months ago (and despite a first innings total of 141) and then against the two bottom sides Somerset and Warwickshire. They have lost two and drawn five of their last seven.

The bowling appears fairly OK, so players like Wheal or Salisbury might be unlikely selections, although I hope Crane plays his seventh Championship match. But who should he replace, and who bats? Who is waiting in the wings to perform heroically next week? Organ? Dickinson? They have a career record of one Championship match each, scoring 16 and 1.

Is James right, that Hampshire should select Will Smith who has not played in the first team all year? Maybe Chris Wood should play predominantly as a batsman – he’s been scoring runs for the 2nd XI. The cupboard if worryingly bare in terms of alternatives.

Or perhaps they should leave everything alone, and challenge those players who have created the problem to solve it.

A Better Reality?
September 22, 2017, 6:22 pm
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I’m just back from an early evening visit to Broadhalfpenny Down and the Bat & Ball

Broadhalfpenny Down

For the first time in nearly 60 years, I’ve pretty much stopped watching Hampshire for reasons you all know, but it doesn’t stop me feeling angry and frustrated by what’s happening.

I had to go to Hambledon today with Mrs A, to check the arrangements for our twice-yearly lunch for cricket lovers and historians. Every time I go there, it triggers all kinds of positive feelings about the game I love. The first-class county game is a mess and so are Hampshire, but there is a stronger truth about the great game embodied in a place like Hambledon, with its beauty and its ghosts.

At least I think there is. Or maybe this is just the rambling of a sad old bloke who won’t accept the world as it is.


Thank You ECB
September 22, 2017, 2:42 pm
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I’ve ranted quite a lot about the reduction in Championship matches to 14 but I was entirely wrong. Three more matches for Hampshire in this form and we’d be gone, whereas we still have a good chance of staying up!