Hampshire Cricket History

A-Z (B10)
October 28, 2017, 9:22 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

Belcher, Gordon (126 – Amateur) born 26.9.1885, died in action in France 16.5.1915. Belcher was a right-hand batsman and medium pace bowler who enjoyed success in school cricket for some years at Brighton College, where he was captain in 1903 and 1904. It was a measure of the weakness of the Hampshire side in the early twentieth century that ten men made their debuts for Hampshire in 1904 and another ten in 1905, and 13 of those 20 played only in that one season, with nine appearing only once. Among the latter group was Gordon Belcher, whose one match v Warwickshire at Southampton in August 1905 ended with a ‘pair’ and one over (0-3) – and Hampshire lost by 10 wickets. He went to Cambridge University but did not obtain a ‘blue’ or play in first-class cricket there. He played for Berkshire from 1910-1913. Two of his brothers were killed also in the war and his father Rev TH Belcher, who played first-class cricket for Oxford University, died in 1919, when vicar of Bramley, Hants.

Bencraft, Dr Sir Henry William Russell, (5 – Amateur) born 4.3.1858 Southampton, died 25. 12. 1943 Winchester. He was known in later years as Sir Henry William Russell-Bencraft. As a cricketer he was a right-handed batsman and pace bowler, who captained Hampshire in their first season in the County Championship, having played for some years previously, making his first-class debut for the county in 1876 (age 18). In 1889 he had scored 195 v Warwickshire, but his first-class career was modest; in 46 matches (all but two for the county) he scored just under 1,000 runs at 15.53 (HS 62* v Derbyshire in 1895) and took five wickets. Nonetheless, when FS Ashley-Cooper published the first history of Hampshire in 1924, he described Bencraft as “the best friend Hampshire cricket ever had – a man who however dark the outlook might appear, kept a stout heart and spread cheerfulness around and whose enthusiasm … is characterised by all the energy which marked his activities of thirty, forty and even more years ago”.

Bencraft earned that tribute through his various roles in establishing Hampshire as a first-class county; as captain, honorary secretary from a time when the club’s future was under threat, chairman for 15 years and eventually president. His father was a medical officer in Southampton, and Bencraft was educated at St George’s Hospital, London, before returning to Southampton where he held a number of medical positions, was a director and chairman of Southern Newspapers Ltd, and president of Southampton FC – he had been a football referee. He was also president of Hampshire Rugby Union. In 1937 there was a considerable attendance at a dinner in his city, to honour his sixty years with Hampshire County Cricket Club.

Benham, Christopher Charles (‘Chris’) (473) born 24 March 1983, Frimley.  Although born for convenience just across the border, batsman and good fielder Chris Benham was a Hampshire cricketer who emerged through the county’s age group and 2nd XI sides and after appearances for Loughborough University, made his debut in September 2004 v Derbyshire with a promising innings of 74 in a Hampshire victory. His next match in early 2005 was a subsequently crucial defeat at Stratford-upon-Avon which might be seen as preventing Hampshire from winning the Championship. But his next appearance was another defeat – by an innings – in that broadly successful year; v Surrey at the Rose Bowl. The match only lasted 165 overs – the shortest game ever on that ground, that was not rain-affected as Hampshire were dismissed for 146 & 160. In their first innings Surrey’s Harbhajan Singh took 6-36 with Benham top-scoring with 41 in more than two hours.

He seemed to have a promising future and there were highlights; in 2006 he played in quite of number of List A matches and in late September in a televised relegation/promotion play-off v Glamorgan at the Rose Bowl played a magnificent innings of 158 as Hampshire clinched their place in Division One of the Pro 40 league. His first-class appearances never reached double figures in a season but in 2009, he averaged 45.11 and scored his first – and only – Championship century 111 v Durham at the Rose Bowl. Earlier that season he was a regular member of the side that reached the Friend’s Provident Trophy Final at Lord’s and joined the injured Nic Pothas at 154-4 with Hampshire pursuing 220 to beat Sussex in 50 overs. The pair were not parted, adding 67* with Benham 37* as Hampshire won with almost 10 overs to spare.

Benham played in 54 List A matches for Hampshire, scoring three centuries and 1,564 runs average 36.37 – a more impressive return than his first-class record (average 27.05). He played also in 37 T20 matches with just one half-century. Despite the successes of 2009 he lost his Championship place in mid-May of the following year, did not play any List A games (three in the T20) that year, and after one further Championship match, covering injuries at Scarborough, his Hampshire career came to an end at the age of 27. He played for Wiltshire in 2011 and also in the Southern and Surrey leagues.



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Gordon Belcher (born in Kemptown, Brighton) was awarded the Military Cross. More details here: http://www.brightoncollegeremembers.com/roll-of-honour/1823?rq=belcher

Comment by Dave Pople

Many thanks Dave

Comment by pompeypop

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