Hampshire Cricket History

The First Time
January 28, 2019, 5:09 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

I’ve been in the Archive today, tidying up, and found this photo (with a caption). It’s a match that Colin Price and I have discussed on a number of occasions, not least due to his interest in outdoor swimming pools/Lidos. There was one next to this ground:

h v mx hornsey 1959

The match was a thriller. Jimmy Gray scored 155 and then 49 as Hampshire chased down 190 to win in the 43rd over, with just two wickets to spare. It was a very hot week (in a very hot summer), I think it was the first Middlesex Championship match played away from Lord’s, and certainly the only first-class match ever played at Hornsey. Colin Ingleby-Mackenzie wrote about it in his autobiography¬†Many a Slip.

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Perhaps a good time to remind readers of a tip for viewing this picture in a greater resolution.

– (If on a PC) Right-click on the image and choose “Copy link location”
– Paste the location (the URL) into a new browser window.
– Delete the last few characters, namely the ?w=420
– Hit the enter key and you should have the larger image in all its glory.

Comment by Hedgehog

MANY thanks – but shouldn’t you be hibernating? It’s a bit parky!

Comment by pompeypop

If I hibernate for more than 12 hours I get hungry, so I’m still foraging. However I will stay in my burrow on Thursday with a local forecast of -16 Celsius.

Comment by Hedgehog

Dave, John Arlott devotes a chapter to this match in his Cricket Journal 2. There is also a splendid photograph of Jimmy Gray sweeping in that game. Did Jimmy sweep very often? Apparently, his 155 was the first instalment of a run of 598 runs in six innings. Also, JA mentions that it was the first time Middlesex had played away from Lord’s since a game against Notts at The Oval in 1939, ” at a time when preparations for an impending emergency complicated fixtures”. Otherwise, it seems Middlesex hadn’t left Lord’s for a home match for “over 80 years”. His report also mentions that the match was played at Hornsea because MCC were playing Cambridge University at Lord’s.

Comment by Alan Edwards

That’s right Alan, I’d forgotten that, but just reminded myself. Jimmy was on a really good run and that year of experimental covered pitches and endless sunshine was kind to the batsmen – it’s fascinating to compare the averages for the very wet 1958 and very hot dry 1959.

‘Shack’ topped our averages in both years, but with 163 wickets at 15.31 in 1958, and 140 wkts at 21.48 in 1959. In 1958 only Marshall with 1,876 runs passed 1,200 – but in 1959, Marshall, Gray & Horton all scored 2,000 (the first time that happened at Hampshire).

Comment by pompeypop

The lido is still there and I did go for a swim there in August 2018. Had I known at the time that Hampshire had played nearby I would have taken my camera and got a photo.
There are a further three cricket grounds close by (Highgate, Crouch End and North London). I presume that this is because the area is one of the few flat bits in a rather hilly part of London.

Comment by Colin Price

According to Wikepedia


Middlesex started playing at Lord’s in 1869. They also played another 20 home games at other grounds from then until 1877 when they played Oxford University at Chiswick. From then until 1980 all games were played at Lords apart from the 1939 one at the Oval, 1959 at Hornsey and 1977 when they played Somerset at Chelmsford. The 1939 one is not mentioned in the Wikepedia entry.

The 1977 game had to be rescheduled as Middlesex had a home Gillette Cup semi final against Somerset which took six days to complete. No play was possible on the first three scheduled days (17/18/19 August). The match was rescheduled for the next week. No play was possible on the 24/25 August but the match was started and completed in 26.1 overs on the 26th.
The Middlesex v Somerset Championship match was then played at Chelmsford on 31 August to 2 September and the Gillette Cup Final (Middlesex v Glamorgan) on Saturday 3 September.

Comment by Colin Price

I have edited the Wikepedia entry to include the 1939 game at the Oval.

Comment by Colin Price

According to some reports the 1939 Middlesex v Notts game was moved to the Oval so the Eton v Harrow match could be played at Lord’s. Nice to see people had a sense of priorities in those days.

Comment by Colin Price

Kevan James played for Hornsey CC from 1976 to 1984. According to their web site he is ranked in their “All-Time Second XI”. (Not players who played for the 2nd XI, but the second best XI of 1st XI players).

Comment by Hedgehog

After a long silence . . . I thought I would mention that John Arlott lived almost opposite the Hornsey Lido in Barrington Road for a year or two – his only London home.
My brother and I joined Hornsey CC in the Spring of 1978 (?) but I never played for any of their teams because practically no cricket was possible in the very wet start to the season.
We used to help out at the ground but got fed up and went away and formed our own social team, The Archway Vagrants.

Comment by Henry Thompson

Nice tales Henry, thanks and good to hear from you – I like the sound of that team!!

Comment by pompeypop

Do you know what number in Barrington Rroad Arlott lived at? If you let me know I will try to get a photo next time i am up there.

Comment by Colin Price

There’s a reference online (Durham Univ. collections) to a letter from John Arlott with the address 58 Barrington Rd. I found the house on Google Street View hoping to see a blue plaque but there isn’t one.

Comment by Hedgehog

There is a blue plaque in Arlesford though. I saw the unveiling – I think there’s a photo in one of the old Handbooks

Comment by pompeypop

From Arlott’s Wikepedia entry (edited)


Arlott had originally bought the former pub in New Alresford in 1961. It had originally been called The Sun Inn prior to its closure in 1958, but he renamed it The Old Sun. He completely renovated the interior, especially the large cellar for his collection of fine wine.

Subsequently, at a ceremony on 21 June 2009, a plaque commemorating his 20 years of living at the Old Sun between 1961 and 1981 was unveiled by his sons Tim and Robert Arlott. The plaque was funded by The Cricket Society and the guest of honour, who cut the ceremonial cake, was his oldest friend Leo Harrison (then 87).

A photo of the dwelling can be seen on the closed pubs website
although the plaque doesn’t appear to be visible. Possibly the photo in pre 2009.


Comment by Colin Price

Fittingly as a man of words, Arlott has quite a few plaques.

1. On The Old Sun, New Alresford is this black plaque


2. Lodge Rd, Southampton where he lived while a policeman.


3. Chapel Hill, Basingstoke where he was born.


4. “The Vines”, Alderney


Comment by Hedgehog

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