Hampshire Cricket History

June 30, 2020, 1:32 pm
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The start of Rod Bransgrove’s message today. If you’re a member you will receive this, but I know not every ‘Blogger’ is:


30 June & 1 July 1920
June 30, 2020, 6:37 am
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Having beaten Yorkshire on the Tuesday Hampshire’s next match was across the border at Liverpool – but not until Saturday. I wonder whether they went home and came back?

There were only two Championship matches (Horsham & Edgbaston) and two other first-class matches over the next three days: HDG Leveson-Gower’s XI v Oxford University at Eastbourne and the Gentlemen v Players at the Oval, where each side included one Hampshire player, Lionel Tennyson and Alec Kennedy.

The scores:

Gentlemen 184 (Tennyson 54, Parkin 9-85) & 113 (Tennyson 35, Howell 6-40)

Players 384 (Hearne 95, Hobbs 63, Woolley 60, Falcon 5-157)

Players won by an innings & 87 runs.

Tennyson top-scored in both innings. Kennedy scored 17 and bowled just nine overs in the match (0-30). In the second innings of the Gentlemen, only eight wickets fell with opener PR Johnson retired hurt and FT Mann absent injured.

And they’re off!!
June 29, 2020, 3:21 pm
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1 August 2020:


PS: BBC TV News (with photos of the Bowl) has just said (6.30) that the start will be T20. No mention of a Championship

‘Oh Well’ as Fleetwood Mac once sang

PPS: Although maybe the Guardian is a better source (it usually is)

“The ECB has approved the return of men’s county cricket on 1 August but it has yet to be decided what form it will take. The 18 counties will meet in the next two weeks and a domestic schedule will be published soon after. There is plenty to discuss. A white ball or a red ball? Behind closed doors or with carefully monitored spectators allowed in the ground?

The preferred option for many would initially incorporate some four-day cricket, which may lead to a Lord’s final sometime in September when two teams play off for the Willis Trophy. Three regional groups of six teams have been suggested, which would allow each side to play five matches in pursuit of a place in the final …”

Tuesday 29 June 1920
June 29, 2020, 7:20 am
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So, what happened? To recap, Hampshire 456-2 dec; Yorkshire 159 & following on 152-3 still 145 behind but with Holmes (75*) and Rhodes (36*) well set.

Well in one sense this is a classic tale of uncovered pitches and a combination of rain and sun. Here is the report from The Times:

“YORKSHIRE BEATEN: A BAD WICKET AT LEEDS”. Hampshire beat Yorkshire at Leeds yesterday by an innings and 72 runs. When play was begun yesterday Yorkshire still required 145 runs with seven wickets to fall in their second innings to avoid an innings defeat, but whatever chance they had of making a fight for it was ruined by a heavy fall of rain during the night. Under the influence of sun and wind, the already worn wicket soon became extremely difficult, and Newman and Kennedy made the most of their opportunities. The seven remaining Yorkshire wickets fell in an hour and 10 minutes for 73 runs. With only nine runs added to the overnight total, Holmes was out to an easy catch at short leg (Evans). He had been batting for two hours and three-quarters, and Rhodes, who was eighth man out, was in for two hours. This is Yorkshire’s second defeat this season”.

In the match, Kennedy took 10-69 and Newman 6-110. It was then the match for their four great professionals, Brown, Mead, Kennedy & Newman. There was a run out in each Yorkshire innings and one wicket each for Mead and Ryan.

To put this huge victory in some kind of context, before the war Hampshire had played 16 Championship matches in Yorkshire. They won the first in 1895 (another astonishing result), but of the rest they lost nine and drew six. In 1919, they had lost by an innings (at Dewsbury).

At Christmas, the Hampshire captain sent a copy of the team photo from that match to the other 10 men, inscribed on the back. We have one in the Archive – here it is:

1920 Headingley

Monday 28 June 1920
June 28, 2020, 5:51 am
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So the batsmen had done their bit, now it was the turn of the bowlers. Here again is what The Times had to say:

“The Yorkshire eleven at Leeds yesterday were engaged in an uphill fight all day, and at the close of play they required 145 runs to avoid an innings defeat, with seven wickets in hand. On Saturday, Hampshire had batted all the afternoon to put together a score of 452 for the loss of only two wickets. Rain fell heavily on Sunday night, and Major Tennyson, the Hampshire captain, at once declared the innings closed yesterday morning. When Yorkshire went in to bat the sun was shining brightly, and on a pitch that became more difficult as time went on, they were dismissed in just over three hours for 159. Even this total should have been less, as Sutcliffe, who batted for two hours and twenty minutes for 58, was missed at short mid-on when he had made four. By luncheon six men were out for 106, but later Kilner and Dolphin put on 27 for the eighth wicket. Kennedy took six wickets for 69 runs.

Yorkshire followed on 297 runs behind, and again the Hampshire fielding was at fault, Holmes being missed at slip when 17. As before they had to pay a heavy price for their blunder, as Holmes stayed in until the close when he had made 75 not out. He and Sutcliffe put on 55 for the first wicket. and, after Denton had left at 64, the third wicket fell at 73. Yorkshire then looked like being beaten, but Holmes and Rhodes offered stubborn resistance and added 79 in the last 70 minutes of the day”.

Hampshire 456-2 declared; Yorkshire 159 & 152-3, still 145 behind

Below, Kennedy (6-69) & Newman (2-41) – more to do tomorrow.

Kennedy & Newman



Father & Son
June 27, 2020, 4:05 pm
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I did a piece for the Hampshire website on Fathers’ Day and Alan Edwards has pointed out, not two generations of Hampshire cricketers (yet?) but Raymon Anton Reifer who took wickets in a West Indies trial game last week is the son of our overseas bowler from 1984, Elvis Reifer. RA Reifer is already 29 but looks a useful all-rounder, and like dad, bowls left-arm. Maybe he’ll play in the Test Match.

Sunday 27 June
June 27, 2020, 9:27 am
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A day off for the cricketers before resuming battle at Headingley, tomorrow. Thanks for the messages, glad you’re enjoying this.

To put yesterday in context, Yorkshire were the reigning Champions and while Middlesex would win in 1920 & 1921, in the 21 seasons between the wars, Yorkshire would win 12 titles. The years they missed out were 1920 (4th); 1921 (3rd); 1926 (2nd); 1927 (3rd); 1928 (4th); 1929 (3rd); 1930 (3rd); 1934 (6th), and 1936 (3rd).

So they were quite good then. Even in 1934 when they finished 6th, only Champions Lancashire won more than Yorkshire’s 12 victories.

We noted yesterday that the great Wilfred Rhodes failed to take a wicket, yet by the end of the season he topped the national averages with 143 wickets in 28 matches at 12.90. Phil Mead (6th) and George Brown (9th) were both in the top ten of the national batting averages and Yorkshire’s opening batsman Percy Holmes was third at 54.83 – and with over 2,000 runs, the only one in the Top Ten. ‘Tomorrow’ he will open Yorkshire’s batting with another great, Herbert Sutcliffe. How will Hampshire’s bowlers fare?

Below, the Yorkshire team of 1923. Sutcliffe is standing far right, next to the scorer, Rhodes seated second left and Holmes seated far right:

Yorkshire 1923


Saturday 26 June, 1920
June 26, 2020, 7:44 am
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Hampshire, win-lose-win-lose in their previous four matches arrived at Headingley still unchanged, to play the reigning Champions – the strongest side in English cricket. Tennyson won the toss and the two Oxfordshire men, George Brown and Alec Bowell opened the batting – and what happened? Here is the report from The Times

“The Yorkshire bowlers had a new experience on Saturday, when, for the first time this season, they were completely mastered. There were over 18,000 spectators on the Headingley ground, Leeds, and they, too, were amazed at the spectacle of four Hampshire batsmen scoring 456 for the loss of only two wickets. Brown was responsible for 232 of the runs, and he was still not out at the end of the day. Bowell scored 95, Captain Barrett failed, but Mead made 122 not out.

Brown’s score was the highest made in county cricket this season and … two great partnerships marked the day’s play. Bowell helped Brown to score 183 for the first wicket in two hours and 10 minutes, and, after Captain Barrett’s cheap dismissal, Brown and Mead stayed together for the rest of the day, and added 263 runs in three hours. The game, however, might have taken a very different course had Bowell been caught in the slips for nine.

Afterwards, with the ball coming along easily on an excellent wicket, Brown and Bowell became masters of the situation, and the first wicket did not fall until after luncheon, Bowell hit 14 fours in his 95, drove, cut, and hit to leg in fine style, and, after his early escape, was never at fault. With two men out for 187, Mead joined Brown a few minutes after 3 o’clock, and, except when Brown gave a chance to cover-point when his score was 185, neither batsman looked like getting out. Brown showed unusual care during parts of his fine innings, but hit freely all-round the wicket. He drove very hard, and made many splendid leg-side strokes. So far, he has hit 20 fours, was as sound and determined as ever, and his square cut was very effective”.

Brown’s innings was at that time the fifth highest in Hampshire’s history, while the great Wilfred Rhodes took 0-69. After a rest on Sunday, would Hampshire’s bowlers capitalise on that great day? Don’t miss the next thrilling episode!

Brown G Cigarette Card 1908-1933 tif copy

June 26, 2020, 6:03 am
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To a Blog near you – live cricket to rabbit about

Meanwhile on with 1920. I’m not sure how much you are following this; I know around 90 people check in every day but it’s not a ‘series’ that necessarily invites lots of comments. Let me suggest however that the next three days of cricket from back then (four days as it’s a weekend game) are very much worth following. All the tales so far have been leading up to this …

25 June 1920
June 25, 2020, 6:04 am
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Hampshire resumed on 260-5, with Tennyson 38* and Newman 4* both capable batsmen, although Livsey listed at nine suggested something of a tail. They were then 92 runs ahead and would surely need to double that lead at least to have hopes of a third win in four matches. It was not to be however. The pair added 32 runs before Tennyson (53) and Newman (24) were dismissed, precipitating a procession with wickets falling at 292, 296 (twice), 305 & 315 (Richmond 6-150). Nottinghamshire required 148 to win, and while Newman struck twice to have the Gunn brothers back in the pavilion with 51 scored, Whysall (39), Hardstaff (43) and Payton (35*) ensured a comfortable six wickets victory at around tea-time.

The Times again relegated County Championship matches to the lower reaches of the cricket page, highlighting instead the Army v the Royal Navy at Lord’s; Winchester v Eton, and Oxford University’s draw with Surrey at the Oval.  I’m delighted to report that for Eton, The Times felt “Allen’s bowling calls for special praise”; no wonder since he took 9-34, despite Eton’s “bad catching” – sadly Gubby’s not related as far as I’m aware. For Eton, the future Hampshire amateur Ronnie Aird scored 49 but Winchester would go on to win the game. Meanwhile, the performance of Aird’s future county was summarised succinctly at the foot of the page:

“Nottinghamshire beat Hampshire at Trent Bridge, yesterday, by six wickets. Hampshire had made an excellent recovery on Thursday by scoring 260 for the loss of five wickets, but yesterday the improvement was not maintained, and the game was all over by half past four. During the match Richmond took 12 wickets”.

In the (first-class) services match at Lord’s HWM Yates who had played 13 matches for Hampshire before the war, scored 97 and Robert Fowler, who would play three matches for Hampshire in 1924, scored 12 in an astonishing Army total of 424 in 77 overs and one ball. By the close, the Royal Navy were already 153-5 – 577 runs and 15 wickets in one day! OW Cornwallis, the opening batsman for the Royal Navy would be in the Hampshire side for one match (v Kent) in the following season but in the worst of circumstances never took the field. His brother was bowling for the opposition, but at lunch on day one they learned that a third brother had been killed in Northern Ireland; they withdrew from the match, and while WS Cornwallis enjoyed a successful career for Kent, OW was never selected again for Hampshire. His naval team-mates in the match at Lord’s included other occasional Hampshire cricketers RAD Brooks, AE Evans, and GC Harrison (below).

And so Hampshire packed their bags again and travelled further north to the special challenge of Yorkshire, the reigning Champions, at Headingley. Yorkshire, Holmes & Sutcliffe, Rhodes, Robinson and the rest were arriving on the back of an innings victory against Leicestershire at Hull – so up-and-down Hampshire would not be starting as favourites.

Harrison CG 1914-1920