Hampshire Cricket History


Who Are You?
February 28, 2018, 3:27 pm
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We have recently inherited a new ‘member’ known only as “Frustrated’ – welcome sir/madam, I hope you’ll enjoy us

He’s just posted this as a Comment, a bit down the list, so to make sure you don’t miss it, in less time than it took Pompey to lose to Blackpool (it’s that Matthews) there will be some interesting news.

Here’s the message:

“New signing announced on Twitter today at 5pm. Bets on whether he’s English qualified?”

Go then you lot, have a guess … I don’t think he’ll be a wicketkeeper.

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Captain ‘Carbs’
February 27, 2018, 8:50 pm
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It took me a while to track down the Cricket Paper this week – it reports that ‘Carbs’ will captain Leicestershire this year, and there is a full page article/interview with Sam Northeast, who says all the right things.

Derek Pringle is interesting – he has no time for the decisions by Rashid and Hales, saying the counties should renegotiate their contracts, employ them only match-by-match and tell them to provide their own coaches and physios until their season starts with the first white ball game.



‘Specialists’
February 27, 2018, 3:58 pm
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OK, from Tigger’s excellent site:

http://hampshirecricket.net/H_players.htm

The following two groups of players played List A (white ball) but never First-Class (red ball)

Mostly overseas, signed specifically for white ball*: Afridi, Arafat, Dighton, Griffiths, Harvey, Razzaq, Sammy, Shah, Voges (Griffiths on loan, Shah after ‘retiring’, both English)

Contracted Younger Players who were never selected for Red Ball: Basil Akram, Hamza Ali, Tom Barber, Jake Goodwin, Jake Lintott, Tim Ravenscroft, Mitchell Stokes.

*Dan Christian was in this category but was then picked for a single Championship match.

There were two other friendly white-ball matches v Bangladesh A in 2013 and Sri Lanka A in 2014, when a bunch of mostly non-Hampshire cricketers (Middlesex, Sussex etc) played: Davey, Foley, London, Nugent, Porter, Robinson, Sheppard.

I think that’s it. I’m still not sure whether Chris Wood is – and was last year – on a white ball contract only. Otherwise it seems to me that Topley is the first fully contracted player to withdraw availability for red ball.



The First One
February 27, 2018, 1:20 pm
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Thanks to James for spotting that Reece Topley will be our first white ball only player (Chris Wood?) – see also, below, Stephen’s comment. From the BBC:

“England and Hampshire seamer Reece Topley will play white-ball cricket only in 2018 following two seasons of injury problems. The club and Topley consulted with the England and Wales Cricket Board who advised the left-armer to manage his workload as part of his rehabilitation. The 24-year-old has not played since July 2017 after suffering a recurrence of a stress fracture in his back.”

Makes it slightly odd then that he did not go to Barbados (?)



And one more …
February 27, 2018, 10:27 am
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… that is not quite A-Z (but will be)

You may begin to discern a theme here:

Stephenson, George Robert (359) born Derby 19.11.1942. Wicketkeeper Bob Stephenson had just one season captaining Hampshire, succeeding Richard Gilliat at a point where a number of members of the successful side of the mid-1970s had departed, to be replaced by Keith Stevenson, John Southern, the new overseas bowler Malcolm Marshall, and a group of promising younger players Tremlett, Terry, Parks and the next two captains Pocock and Nicholas. In addition, Greenidge and Marshall missed matches for the second World Cup (in England) and another promising player David Rock played most of the season, scoring his third century v Warwickshire, without building on the achievements of 1977, and by choice, he would not return in 1980, at which time Pocock replaced Stephenson as captain.

Stephenson joined Hampshire in an emergency at the start of the 1969 season after 28-year-old Bryan Timms left unexpectedly to pursue a business career – and play occasionally ‘freelance’ for Warwickshire. At that point, Hampshire had no regular reserve wicketkeeper and Stephenson, the son of an England football international, was a member of the last generation of all-round English professionals, playing football for Derby County, Shrewsbury, Rochdale and others, playing cricket in the Lancashire League while with Rochdale, then for Derbyshire as understudy to Bob Taylor. He was never likely to replace Taylor and after playing in just nine first-class matches in 1967 & 1968, the invitation to join Hampshire, partly on the recommendation of John Arlott, guaranteed him a first team place, which he held from 1969-1980.

By retirement, he had played in 263 first-class matches for Hampshire and batting pragmatically in the late middle order scored 4,566 runs at 16.48, with one century, 100* at Taunton, and 625 dismissals – 75 of them stumpings. His 80 victims in 1970 is the third highest total for the county in one season and in the following year, when Peter Sainsbury spun out more than 100 victims, Stephenson stumped 17 batsmen. In 1972 and 1974 he was the country’s leading wicketkeeper, and he was second in 1975. There were 65 dismissals in 1973, a significant contribution to the Championship title, and in 1975 and 1978 he ‘kept’, as Hampshire won two Sunday League titles; overall, he had 249 victims in 237 limited-overs matches.

Bob Stephenson was Hampshire’s representative on the developing Professional Cricketers Association, and he served as Gilliat’ s deputy before his appointment as captain. In that one season, Hampshire finished 12th, a respectable performance given the transitional time, and he was disappointed to be replaced by Pocock, feeling that he could have done much to bring through the less experienced man. In the event, he returned ‘to the ranks’ as Hampshire finished bottom for the only time since 1905. By the time the final table was published, Bobby Parks had replaced him at the start of his career. His last match, in early August, was against the touring Australians at Southampton; Jeff Thomson got him without scoring in the first innings and in the second Stephenson arrived at number 10, with Hampshire facing an innings defeat. The Australians would win, but they had to bat again because Stephenson scored 65 before Lillee concluded his career. That end was typical of his professionalism, his determination and his resilience, and he moved into a long career teaching and coaching in Hampshire, passing on all that he had learned.

 



Not Quite A-Z
February 25, 2018, 11:17 am
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I’ve been asked to help on a new project so, out-of-order here’s a single biography which I thought some of you might enjoy:

MARSHALL, Roy Edwin (328) born Barbados 25.4.1930, died Taunton, Somerset 27.10.1992. When Roy Marshall was appointed Hampshire’s captain at the start of the 1966 season he faced two particular challenges; succeeding the charismatic Colin Ingleby-Mackenzie who had led Hampshire to their first Championship title in 1961, while taking a leading role in the transition from that ageing side to a new generation of Hampshire cricketers. In the event, he played an important role in that process since among the men who made their Hampshire debuts under his leadership, Gordon Greenidge, Trevor Jesty, David Turner, Richard Lewis, Barry Richards, Bob Stephenson (from Derbyshire), and his successor Richard Gilliat, were key players when Hampshire won the title again in 1973 – the first time in 20 years without Marshall in the side.

He had first come to Hampshire’s notice at the county ground in Southampton in 1950, when he arrived with the West Indian tourists straight from their historic Test Match victory at Lord’s. Marshall was unable to break into the side that played “Cricket Lovely Cricket” but on that Saturday, in front of a packed crowd he scored 135, and shared a century partnership with Everton Weekes; in addition to the crowd the innings made a considerable impression on Hampshire’s captain/secretary Desmond Eagar and looking to strengthen the county’s often weak batting he persuaded Marshall to turn his back on Test hopes. In the 1950s overseas cricketers could join counties but they had to qualify by residence and give up all hopes of representing their country, so it was that Marshall spent two years in the Lancashire leagues with Worsley, two further years qualifying for Hampshire with the occasional non-Championship match, until, in 1955 he could play in all the county’s matches.

Hampshire begun 1955 with a record of having finished in the top half of the Championship table just once in the previous 22 seasons – and that just eighth in 1932, but they surprised everyone, including their own supporters, by winning more matches than ever before and reaching third place for the first time in their history. At the close they were behind the ‘Big Two’, Surrey (Champions) and Yorkshire, but they beat both, and while they were significant contributions from the 13 regular players, when the captain Desmond Eagar identified the reasons for this advance he began by acknowledging that “undoubtedly Roy Marshall had much to do with it”, through the number of his runs, the way he scored them “so attractively” and the “confidence” that he brought to the rest of the side.

This approach would continue throughout his career. In 18 seasons, he scored 60 centuries for Hampshire with a best of 228* v the Pakistanis at Bournemouth in 1962, and in exceeding 30,000 first class runs, is second only to the great Phil Mead in the list of Hampshire’s highest scorers. In four consecutive seasons 1958-1961, he exceeded 2,000 runs, and it is no coincidence that Hampshire were runners-up in 1958 and Champions in 1961. In only one season, 1969, did he fail to reach 1,000 runs, having dropped down the order, allowing Barry Richards to open, but his form returned in the final three years with over 4,000 runs. By this time county cricketers were playing in the Sunday League and Gillette Cup, in which Marshall scored 2,190 runs at 32.20, while captaining the county to the runners-up spot in the first season of the Sunday League. In addition, although he was often a reluctant bowler of off-breaks he took 99 wickets for Hampshire at 24.27, with a best of 6-36 v Surrey in 1956, following 6-44 v Yorkshire in a remarkable victory at Bradford in 1955.

English cricket abolished the distinction between amateurs and professionals from the 1963 season, but when Marshall became captain he was effectively the county’s first professional captain, and while he was always a thrilling batsman, he brought a certain pragmatism to the leadership role, and his somewhat cautious approach seemed at odds with his batting. It was a difficult time for county cricket as the authorities introduced various strategies to ‘brighten’ what was on offer, and arrest declining attendances. Limited-overs cricket undoubtedly worked in that respect but some – for example limiting Championship first innings to 65 overs – did not, and Marshall’s autobiography Test Outcast was typically intelligent and forthright about the game’s future. It also revealed a couple of occasions when he might have returned to the international scene with West Indies or England, but that was not to be.

As captain, he was able to enjoy briefly what was probably the best pace attack in the county’s history, Shackleton, White and Cottam, but until Richards arrived the batting was less reliable. Hampshire nonetheless finished fifth in 1968 and 1969, and never lower than twelfth, before with obvious reluctance, Marshall handed control to Gilliat in 1971, playing on for two more years. He enjoyed a benefit in 1961, one of the first professionals to be so honoured after fewer than ten years with his ‘cap’, and a testimonial in 1971. He moved to Somerset and was for a time the Chairman of their Cricket Committee, but for a certain generation he will be remembered always, as one of the most entertaining of Hampshire’s batsman – and the first such in the postwar era.



He’s Gone
February 23, 2018, 6:51 pm
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Bailey that is. I think everyone knew, but they announced it officially today, as well as ‘unveiling’ Sam Northeast who says we can win the Championship. If we do, I’ll treat James to supper in Beefy’s (you saw it here first).