Hampshire Cricket History

And one more …
February 27, 2018, 10:27 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

… 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.


4 Comments so far
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Returning to a previous subject, here’s our first.

(I hadn’t realised he actually played red-ball cricket).

Comment by James

If the game is going to divide into those who play with a white ball and those who play with a red one, when those who go off to play for the cities in 2020 those who play with a red ball could play the 4-day game for the counties.

Comment by stephenfh

and those who play white cricket can just keep on going and not bother to return!

Comment by James

Dave, that is a deserved appreciation of one of the 13 in the golden summer of ’73.

I remember he had a very upright batting stance and wrote a honest piece in the handbook one year about the spirit of the game.

Interesting to see a theme starting with those with just the two initials……..

Comment by stephenfh

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