Hampshire Cricket History

A-Z S4
May 15, 2018, 8:11 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

OK back to the correct sequence and to begin with a batsman who certainly was one of the Greats of Hampshire cricket

Smith, Robin Arnold (392) born Durban, South Africa,13 September 1963. Robin Smith was quite simply one of the finest batsmen ever to play for Hampshire, and other than Kevin Pietersen, he played for England while with Hampshire, more times than any other player. Over his career which ran from 1982-2003, and despite Test Match commitments, he passed 1,000 runs in 11 seasons; initially in his first regular season in 1985, and the last in 1999 at an average of 42.69 – very similar to his final first-class average. There were fewer runs, in the new millennium, although in 2001 he scored a century and led Hampshire to victory against the Australians. In 2003, he struggled with hamstring problems and missed six weeks, returning at Durham in late August, followed by Taunton where the injury recurred while batting. He returned to the crease with Adams as his runner, and reached a half-century, finishing 56* when the innings closed. It seemed likely that his career might be over and despite a desperate wish to continue playing, that was the case. It felt unfair that there was to be no fine farewell in front of his own supporters at the conclusion of such a great career, but the bravery of that final innings was typical of a man who for his adopted country took on the might of the West Indies pace men as effectively as anyone.

It was not merely the quantity of runs scored by Smith but the entertaining way in which he led every assault and gave confidence to the lesser players around him. He was also a thoroughly nice, man; despite his impressive physique, there was always something about him of the schoolboy who had posed for Barry Richards’ coaching book in the 1970s. The figures tell something of the story with 4,236 runs at 43.67 in 62 Test Matches and nine centuries – only Gower of his regular England contemporaries ended with a higher average – and there was a strong feeling that his Test career ended prematurely. For Hampshire, there were 18,984 runs at 42.09 with 49 centuries in 307 matches, and his best of 209* v Essex in 1987 came after Hampshire were reduced to 5-3. He was as effective in limited-overs games, playing significant innings in his three Lord’s Cup Finals and scoring 12,034 runs for Hampshire and 2,419 runs for England with four centuries including a magnificent 167* v Australia which remained the country’s highest innings until very recently. For Hampshire, his total of over 30,000 runs in all formats puts him behind just Mead and Marshall, who both played many more games. Wisden chose him as one of their Cricketers of the Year in 1990.

Given the extent of his experience, it is unsurprising that, like his England contemporaries Gooch, Stewart, and Gatting he captained his county, although the circumstances in 1998 when he took over from John Stephenson were as much crisis as natural choice. Despite this, he led Hampshire to 6th and 7th in the Championship and to a semi-final in the Nat West, although they lasted only one season in the top league when two divisions were introduced in the Sunday League in 1999. In the same year, they qualified for Division One when the Championship followed suit, but even with the addition of Warne and Mullally, they were relegated the following season. Smith led them straight back up in 2001, when he was the first captain at the brand-new Rose Bowl; sadly, they went down again in 2002, and were perhaps the first ‘yo-yo’ side. He played his final year under John Crawley’s brief period in charge, and has since moved to Australia.

Smith, Thomas Michael (224, Amateur) born London 16.5.1899, died Taunton 17.11.1965. He was a batsman who played in nine matches for Hampshire in 1923 & 1924, scoring 89 runs in 10 completed innings. In the late 1920s, he played in non-first-class matches for European sides in Nigeria and the Gold Coast.

Smith, William Rew (‘Will’) (524) born Luton 28.9.1982. He is a batsman and occasional off-spin bowler who played for Durham University, Nottinghamshire and Durham, before joining Hampshire in 2014, where he played for four years, before returning to Durham. In 2014, he passed 1,000 runs for the first time in his career (51.60) as Hampshire won promotion, and he was only just short of that total in the following year. There were fewer runs in 2016, but a fine innings of 210 as stand-in captain v Lancashire at the Ageas Bowl. He played in just one Championship match in 2017, mainly captaining the 2nd XI. He was a useful all-rounder in limited-overs cricket, especially in T20 matches, taking 35 wickets in three seasons, but again there were no ‘white ball’ matches in 2017. He was a very cheerful, popular cricketer.

Smoker, George (Pre ‘95) born Ovington, Hants 30.12.1856, died Alresford, Hants, 23.5.1925. He played in a Hampshire ‘Colts’ trial match in May 1885, and in the following month in matches v MCC and Derbyshire, scoring 17 runs at 5.66. His son HG (below) also played for Hampshire.

Smoker, Henry George (87) born Hinton, Hants 1.3.1881, died Cheshire 7.9.1966. He was a pace bowler and left-handed lower order batsman, who played in 31 first-class matches for Hampshire from 1901-1907, scoring 334 runs at 9.54 and taking 33 wickets at 22.21 with a best of 7-35 v the South Africans at Southampton in 1907. In the Championship, his best was 6-63 v Kent in the same year, on the same ground. From 1909, he played for many years for Cheshire, and in 1912 & 1913, in the Lancashire League for Colne.

Soames, Henry (Pre ’95, Amateur) born Brighton 18.1.1843, died Salisbury 30.8.1913. He had a brother who played for Sussex, while he played for Brighton College, then the Gentlemen of Sussex, followed by the Gentlemen of Hampshire. He played in one first-class match for Hampshire v Kent at Southborough in 1867, scoring 2 & 52 (top score) in a match that Kent won by nine wickets. In the 1870s, he played matches for the Royal Artillery XI.

Soar, Thomas (‘Tom’) (9) born Whitemoor, Nottinghamshire, 3.9.1865, died Carmarthenshire, Wales 17.5.1939. Tom Soar was a pace bowler and useful lower-order batsman who came to Hampshire after failing to win a contract with his home county, played for Hampshire in non-first-class matches from 1888, and in 101 first-class matches from 1895-1904. HS Altham (1957) described him as “a fastish and stout-hearted bowler … (who) was for some years, groundsman and rendered loyal service at a crucial time in our history”. On first-class debut at Taunton in their famous inaugural Championship match, which Hampshire won after following-on, he took 4-89 and 7-71 – the latter remains Hampshire’s best figures by a man making his first-class debut. He took seven or more wickets for Hampshire on six occasions, the best 8-38 v Essex at Leyton in 1896. In the Championship, his best season was the first, 1895, when he took 89 wickets, usually sharing the load with Harry Baldwin. He took 53 first-class wickets the following year, 31 in 1897 but missed almost the whole of 1898 injured; after that his figures were more modest, although never more expensive than the mid-twenties, and his career ended with 323 wickets at 23.82 and five half-centuries. He was briefly a coach at Winchester College, and then moved to Wales, coaching at Llandovery College for the rest of his life, while, in his forties, playing some Minor Counties matches for Carmarthenshire.



10 Comments so far
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Interesting picture, right at the end of the Paul Newman article on the latest attempt by Graves to justify his hijack of our game:


Comment by Jeremy

The problem is no one young or old is attracted to cricket by Mr Graves.

Comment by James

It’s a VERY interesting article, which pulls no punches – and perhaps one unfortunate photo showing a county chairman standing behind him. There’s also a feisty piece about Graves by Atherton in the Times – and an apparent threat to the Oval’s hosting of the new competition, if they won’t back ‘The Hundred’.

Comment by pompeypop

And, hilariously, this from Oz:

“In a new era for Victorian cricket, the usage of both the ‘Bushrangers’ and ‘VicSpirit’ names will cease and the teams will officially be referred to as the Victorian Men’s Cricket Team and Victorian Women’s Cricket Team into the future.

The change in names has been made to simplify the number of elite team cricket brands in Victoria.

Both teams will now wear uniforms bearing the Victorian Cricket Association (VCA) logo.”

Comment by Jeremy

On another note I see Matt Salisbury is turning out for Durham 2nd XI today.

Comment by James

Robin Smith announced himself with 100 not out in his first Championship match (at Dean Park), Chris Smith out for 100 as Hants finished on 357-3.

Have there been any other century-makers on (Championship)debut? Can certainly remember the anticipation when he first started playing and rather dimly recall being there that day!

Comment by stephenfh

There have been six men who scored centuries on first-class debut for Hampshire – the first and third, Abercrombie & Hayward were v Oxford Uni & Sri Lanka respectively. The other four were against counties (Baldry, Crawley, Watson & Bichel) although all six men had played first-class cricket elsewhere for another side. I’m not sure whether we actually have a record of men (like Smith) who scored centuries on Championship debut, having already played for Hampshire against a non-Championship side – it’s a good question, although there might not be any others. Last year, I’m pretty sure that Dickinson became the first man to score 99 on first-class debut for Hampshire.

Comment by pompeypop

Thanks Dave.

Comment by stephenfh

No Vince in the Teat squad then. Buttler and Bess in!

Comment by John L

Freudian slip I’m sure but I rather like “Teat squad”! Cheers John.

Comment by pompeypop

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