Hampshire Cricket History

Fixtures not Fitting?
July 31, 2019, 11:36 am
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Further to my previous post: The Ashes start tomorrow, the first time they have ever begun in this country in August. The day after, the English league football season opens.

I said I would not check on cricket played by Hampshire during this late July/early August period (specifically the 17 days Monday 22 July – Thursday 8 August), but I’ve looked at a few cases, and added English Test Matches and football starts.

In 1959 I saw my first Championship match. In that season (all three-days), Hampshire came off the back of three consecutive home matches – two at Southampton and one at Cowes – to go to Taunton on 22 July, then on to Ebbw Vale, before meeting Middlesex in Portsmouth at end of July. That was followed by the annual trip to Canterbury for the (early) August Bank Holiday, then on to Northampton and Derby. It seems a somewhat lop-sided fixture list, as the season ended with five of the last six matches at home. The five Test Matches (v India) ran from 1 June – 24 August, while Pompey’s season kicked off on 22 August – three weeks later than this year (they were then in the Second Division which is of course one higher than nowadays in Division One!). Hampshire’s season ended on Tuesday 1 September.

By 1969 there was the Sunday League and the Gillette Cup. We played two Sunday League matches in that period, one at Hove and one at Basingstoke. In the Championship we went from Maidstone, to Hove, and on to Portsmouth for two matches in the Pompey week (we won both). There were two three-match Test Series (W.I. & N.Z.) between 12 June – 26 August and Pompey kicked off at Blackpool on 9 August – one week later than this year (still in Div 2)**. Hampshire’s season ended on Sunday 7 September.

** I cannot find another league season that started as early, ever before, or in the decade after that one. Their 1969 season ended in mid-April.

In 1979 there was World Cup so the first Test v India did not start until 12 July (series ended on 4 September). Hampshire played a Sunday League match in Portsmouth on 22 July and two others away in that period. They were knocked out of both the Gillette and B&H cups before 22 July, but in the Championship there were matches at Bournemouth and Southampton – then Portsmouth from 11 August. Pompey started their season with a League Cup game on 11 August, but the league didn’t begin until 18 August with a a mighty away fixture at Hartlepool (Pompey promoted from Div 4 that season). Hampshire’s season ended on Sunday 9 September.

School’s Out
July 28, 2019, 5:08 pm
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We all know that the County fixture list is now being organised principally to attract young people (and their parents) which is why the Championship is mostly at the ‘book-ends’ of the season and the 50-over was finished before the end of May.

So why is it that with the school holidays here, there is just one competitive county fixture (an evening game) at the Ageas Bowl over 17 days between Monday 22 July and Thursday 8 August? I wonder (and I’m not checking) whether Hampshire have ever played fewer home days (and it’s only 40 overs) over that period before.

July 26, 2019, 4:39 pm
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We are playing 14 T20 games this season

We have never qualified for the Quarter-Finals without winning AT LEAST 50% of matches, prior to the QFs. The best was 2013 when we won 80% (8 from 10) but we didn’t win the trophy.
In 2012, our first match v Sussex didn’t start because of rain, after which we lost the next two, exactly as this year. We then won the next five, followed by two No Results and went on to the Quarter Finals and eventually to win the Trophy at Cardiff.

“The Standard of Batting …
July 26, 2019, 1:05 pm
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… was as low as has been seen in Test Cricket in recent years”.

That was Michael Atherton on Sky TV, immediately after Ireland were bowled out for 38 – and he was talking about all four innings. A wicket fell every 4.4 overs through the match, and only three men reached half-centuries, with the top-scorer of course England’s number 11 (who rather delightfully was Man-of-the-Match).

Somerset T20
July 26, 2019, 11:39 am
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Like Glamorgan – and Gloucestershire, who we only play away this year – we did not meet Somerset in the T20 until 2010 and then played them three times, including a rather special day at the Rose Bowl when we won our first T20 Final on the final ball. We had already played them at home that year and our first meeting was one of our most bizarre T20 matches. The pitch was not a typical white ball surface, to say the least, with Somerset reaching just 104-7 in their 20 overs (Ervine 4-0-10-2) after which Jimmy Adams scored 61 which should have been a winning contribution except that no one else made double figures and we lost by seven runs – plus the further indignity of a points fine the following season. The return at Taunton was completely the opposite with our best v Somerset of 216-5 (McKenzie 73) not sufficient to prevent another Somerset victory, by six wickets and their highest score against us of 220. It was nonetheless, third time lucky in the Final.

A half-century from Michael Lumb and 3-19 from ‘Dimi’ led us to victory at home in 2011, while Taunton was washed-out, but it was another three-match season with a semi-final meeting at Edgbaston. Shahid Afridi hit 80 in our 138-4 but rain intervened with four overs and one ball remaining. Somerset had a revised D/L target of 95 but ended one run short, so the two sides contested a ‘super over’ which Somerset won easily – still the first couple of years v Somerset had been full of incident and excitement.

The reduced programme in 2012 meant we were not scheduled to meet them again – except we did, when we reached another Finals Day and had our revenge in the semi-final at Cardiff (Mascarenhas 2-11) before going on to beat Yorkshire in the Final, on our way to the season’s white ball ‘double’.

Then we had a break from each other until June 2014, when Somerset won a thriller at Taunton by one run, with Peter Trego hitting one of a number of T20 half-centuries against us; there were also a couple of wickets for our new bowling coach Alfonso Thomas, plus two more when they beat us more easily in the return. In 2015, we posted a respectable 167-3 but could not withstand a Gayle-force assault as the West Indian star hit 85 from 49 balls, but he was missing from The Ageas Bowl and 57 from Michael Carberry plus 4-37 by Yasir Arafat took us to victory on our way to another Finals Day, where we lost the semi-final to Lancashire.

2016 was not a successful T20 year for us, although one of our three victories came at home when we beat Somerset by 83 runs, with Tom Alsop scoring 85 and Liam Dawson taking 5-17. Dawson’s figures are the second best in any T20 match for Hampshire, while Alsop’s innings remains our highest score v Somerset. In 2017, Somerset posted 204-9 at Taunton although we got within 14 of their total, but at home we suffered our heaviest runs defeat against them, with their 189-3 beating our 91 all out. Despite those two defeats we were at Finals Day again, losing the semi-final to Nottinghamshire. Last year was less successful, with Somerset’s 197-7 (Wood 5-32) and 130-4 winning both matches. In the first of those matches Dawson (82) and Vince (74) scored over 85% of our runs, but no one else reached double figures as we lost by 16 runs. Somerset have ten victories, twice as many as Hampshire, although perhaps that Final in 2010 counted double?

Tom Mottram
July 25, 2019, 1:55 pm
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I’m very sorry to report the death of Tom Mottram who helped to bowl Hampshire to the title in 1973. There is a suggestion that he was actually older than this date suggests, but hid the truth from Hampshire to secure a contract!


Mottram, Thomas James (‘Tom’) (367) born Liverpool 7.9.1945. Tom Mottram was a tall, pace-bowler, not strictly fast but accurate, who played a surprising, but key role in Hampshire’s second Championship in 1973. In 1968 & 1969 he played club cricket for Liverpool, and in 1970 played for Lancashire 2nd XI but also for Hampshire 2nd XI. He was an architect and in a sense, a reminder of the old category of amateur players which had been abolished from 1963. He made his first-class debut for Hampshire v the Australians in 1972, taking 3-45, and after a few more games that year played regularly in 1973, forming a remarkably effective opening partnership with Bob Herman. He played in 17 of the 20 Championship matches, taking 57 wickets at 22.00, including a remarkable caught-and-bowled from Northamptonshire’s Roy Virgin in the vital match, which precipitated their collapse to 108 all out.

At the end of that season Hampshire chose to sign Andy Roberts in place of spinner David O’Sullivan as their second overseas player, and while O’Sullivan was justified in feeling somewhat hard done by, Mottram too found himself excluded in 1974, although he played some matches in the next two seasons. He continued to play in limited-overs matches until the end of 1977, including as Hampshire won the Sunday League in 1975 – he took 5-21 in the decisive match v Derbyshire at Darley Dale. He played in 35 first-class matches for Hampshire, taking 111 wickets at 24.11 and in 83 limited-overs games, taking 135 wickets at 18.69 – in both cases very fine figures, although he was no batsman, reaching double figures in only three first-class innings, and none in limited-overs games. He has a clear place in the county’s history however, as one of the 13 men who took them to their second, and currently last, Championship.


The Champions (Mottram standing, four from left)

Getting A Move On
July 25, 2019, 1:39 pm
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Sky have just shown a graphic of Jason Roy as having the highest run-rate over the past five seasons in county cricket; Ben Duckett was in second place and number three … Aneurin Donald.

Thanks to Colin who alerted me to a possible shift in Kolpak regualtions which is repeated in the ‘papers today. If there is a ‘No Deal Brexit’ then the deals for Kolpak and EU Passport cricketers would cease at the end of next season (2020). Apparently the ECB has contacted all the counties.

Wednesday Evening
July 24, 2019, 7:31 pm
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Nothing much in the way of records in the Sussex innings, although Abbott’s 1-51 equals Dimi for the second highest runs conceded for Hampshire v Sussex (in 2003, our first-ever T20). The highest is Billy Taylor’s 55 at Hove in 2008. It’ll be a tough chase I suspect – in this series, no-one has yet bettered Vince’s 90* at Hove in 2015.

PS: Mind you, just got this alert from Tigger (cheers): Dawson needs just 9 runs to get to 1000 runs for Hampshire in T20.

PPS That Topley looks handy, why didn’t we sign him?

Sussex T20 (2)
July 24, 2019, 6:11 am
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Nothing much to add to the histories from last week except to suggest that with one point from two matches a defeat would not be ideal. I’m wondering meanwhile about that Aussie pitch. If it is at fault there might be complaints – maybe the bowlers are just fearsome (Jackson Bird?).

PS Guardian today, apparently the Aussies asked for a green pitch.

PPS Another Guardian article was critical of the the insult to the Irish of giving them a four-day Test Match. Quite right – two days should suffice. I blame Boris.

The First Time
July 23, 2019, 6:39 am
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Ever I Saw the Aussies

Was a Monday afternoon in late August 1961, the second day of a match v Hampshire at Northlands Road shortly after they had won the Ashes. They beat Hampshire too, but five days later we won the Championship!

This is the Championship squad photo taken that day – ‘Shack’ & ‘Butch’ were rested from this tourist match.