Hampshire Cricket History

April 26, 2020, 1:58 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Many thanks to Jeremy for alerting us to this from Vic Marks – and don’t miss his highly pertinent questions which I’ve reproduced below:



Would the game be re-invented – and if so, how?

Would it be best if the structure as it is did collapse?

Why do those that OWN the ECB let it behave as it does?

Should a business, that specifically decided NOT to be a club, keep the money when it doesn’t provide the goods?

Wouldn’t it be nice if those that run the game remembered it’s supposed to be fun? (echoes of Gideon Haigh – do we make money in order to play, or do we…)

And is pondering these questions more interesting than watching a game being played in an empty stadium by people only interested in money?

11 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Ha, I see you’ve called my bluff 😉

Well, to kick off on the first – which was prompted by your

“But if cricket as a formally organised and commercially run enterprise (in this country) was to collapse completely, I’m not sure that the game would be revived informally. 50 years ago it would have, without doubt, but today …? And if people did start again from scratch would any games any longer last more than an afternoon?”

My first instinct was “Of course it would” – because of a natural demand for what the ECB suits are pleased to call “a bat and ball experience”.

But the more I think about it the less sure I am.

Dedicated Cricket squares would never make sense to anyone in today’s world. For the same reason that there isn’t a Wimbledon anywhere else.

Those that promote T20 as the answer to everything overlook that it doesn’t remotely stand on its feet financially, and if it can’t now, why would anyone think it ever will – when they over expanded it the tickets didn’t sell, so there’s no prospect of going to the 150+ games that make Baseball viable.

And longer than an afternoon? Again, it’s hard to see.

Perhaps the game would revert to its caricature image – a game for toffs on big country house estates. Two legged polo!

Comment by Jeremy

Lovely image! Cheers

Comment by Dave Allen

I envisage The “Game” might survive for a few years in the form of Amateur Club and Village cricket possibly? Perhaps like Molly dancing? to be seen on a few special occasions? But would surely die out in a couple of generations. (In this country, maybe not in India in the “Whack-it” formulae)

Comment by Bill Seager

I doubt if Fun comes into it at the highest level facing the crimson rambler at number ten from the fastest bowlers, you might ask S Broad about that!

Comment by Bill Seager

You raise an interesting point. When I first started watching, 1968, the idea was that the batsman batted, and when they were out, the tail slogged and it all ended pretty swiftly, usually.

Then we got more one day cricket, more “bits and pieces” players, the tail were expected to make runs, not to mention ‘keepers. And of course, helmets.

And then Packer, and the Windies, and those pictures of Derek Underwood doing the airbourne fandango to stay alive..

Then helmets.

One of the peculiarites of cricket is that bowlers bat – I’m rather surprised the NCC doesn’t involve everyone having to bowl an over to dumb it down a bit more.

If I was the ECB this summer (ha!), following on from an earlier Dave idea of just playing the 4th day starting at 20-1 needing 310 or whatever it was… we could play each county once, a T20, a 50 over game and then a 2 day match with just six wickets in each innings – the batters would bat, but when six were out we’d get on with the next innings – sort of real cricket, but shortened? A 4 day festival…

Comment by Jeremy

If the MCC was disbanded a variation on single wicket cricket (or something looking more like baseball) might possibly interest enough people to make a come back.

A collapse and eight wickets down, would county clubs start up again?? Maybe it would be Basingstoke v Portsmouth so not all lost in terms of settings. Some afternoon pleasures.

0-3 inside the ECB, well………

Comment by stephenfh

I think you raise a very important point about COUNTIES. They make sense (a) because when it all started they were mostly where the power resided outside London, but by the time football was getting itself organised 100+ years later it was increasingly towns and cities. Counties are a bit of an anachronism in terms of sporting identities and (b) they are ‘artificial’ constructs whereas towns and cities largely define their boundaries by buildings, business etc. In terms of counties, there is for example, no obvious relationship between the Meon Valley, the New Forest and Portsmouth/Southampton. If cricket really became city-based I guess it would be largely amateur/semi-pro. If fewer people watched but more played that might be a good thing (?)

Comment by pompeypop

The 100 is about competing on a world stage of cities and the game is being pulled in one direction by those with a global view. The (mainly US) sports scholars who influenced the design of the IPL were thinking of city-based competitions in a continental context…the Champions League in European football. Given the context of English cricket probably much nonsense ahoy trying this, and the game may not re-gravitate geographically or otherwise struggle more because of it. Maybe the National (‘Minor’) Counties identifying with the venues where their games are played might help?

Comment by stephenfh

One of the interesting things about the ECB hatred of the county structure is how much of it they could actually get rid of if they got their way (as they will). You’ll still need almost all of the infrastructure if you’re going to maintain the pretence of it being a national sport – how much money will they actually save? And they’ll certainly lose all the membership revenue – still £10m+ pa.

As for MCC disappearing – with no Lords test and a CEO on £200k – who knows what might happen?!

Comment by Jeremy

Off topic here but for you. When you mentioned Turner the other day, did you know about the opera tenor, and Grand English Opera Company founder, James William Turner (1842 – 1913) who was founder and president of the Forest of Arden cricket club, whose ground adjoined Turner’s residence at Yardley, Birmingham. He is reputed to have once taken ten wickets in an innings, and was the father of the Worcestershire player JWC Turner. (I didn’t know, then)

Comment by pompeypop

No, I had no idea! Appropriate, given the whole post theme is if the “fat lady” is singing for cricket!

Seems like the leisured artistic types then went in for the amateur three initials – a bit odd perhaps in JMWT’s case, given his somewhat humble upbringing.

DR was once my coach at Easter Nets, doubtless why he never played for England 😉 Great guy. My other coaches were Bill Buck, Peter Sainsbury, and Lloyd Budd. All fabulous guys.

Comment by Jeremy

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: