Hampshire Cricket History

FC: 1987
November 30, 2020, 10:46 am
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England lost 1-0 to Pakistan (5 Tests). In 1987/8 they lost to them again over 3 Tests, then drew 0-0 with New Zealand (3)

Championship: Nottinghamshire; Nat West: Nottinghamshire; B&H: Yorkshire; Sunday League: Worcestershire

Refuge Assurance became new sponsors of the 40-over league and introduced an additional RA Cup, competed for by the top four sides in the League. For one season, English county cricket reverted to uncovered pitches during the hours of play. The experiment was not a great success, partly because, to help the spinners rain needs to be followed by hot sun and that was rarely the case in a wet summer, and partly because, with bowlers’ run-ups protected, captains tended to turn to their quicker bowlers on damp pitches. There was now a limit on overseas players of one per county unless signed before 1979. One consequence of the new restriction was that counties looked to sign English players developed by their competitors and so the TCCB introduced an ‘Extraordinary Registration’ system, limiting such signings to one per year and two in five years.

MCC celebrated their bicentenary with a drawn match at Lord’s between their side and the Rest of the World. The anniversary was marked in Wisden with an article by EW Swanton who noted that while it continued to be custodian of the Laws and provided the ICC with its venue, Chairman and secretariat, since the changes of 1968 it had been “no more than a guiding voice in the governance of the English game”. Mickey Stewart was the new England cricket manager.

During the winter of 1987/8, England, having lost another World Cup Final (to Australia), went to Pakistan and when Umpire Shakoor Rana invoked Law 42 (unfair play) upon which he and England captain Mike Gatting had a clear altercation on the field, with Gatting pointing an accusing finger more than once. There was no further play that day and the umpire refused to resume on day three without an apology. The Foreign Office and TCCB intervened to prevent the cancellation of the tour, and threatened Gatting with the loss of the captaincy if he did not apologise.

English cricket received £550,000 from the Milk Marketing Board to introduce Kwik Cricket into English primary schools and the colts sections of clubs.

Alison – Part Two
November 29, 2020, 8:38 pm
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Fine tribute here:


FC: 1986
November 29, 2020, 7:56 am
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England lost both three-match series, 2-0 to India and 1-0 to New Zealand. 1986/7 they beat Australia 2-1 (5 matches)

Championship: Essex, Nat West: Sussex, B&H: Middlesex, Sunday League: Hampshire

When England beat Australia in the remarkable Headingley Test Match in 1981, the side comprised eleven white, English-born players, while over the next couple of years, South Africans Allan Lamb, Ian Greig and Chris Smith succeeded Ian’s brother Tony in the England side. In addition, during the 1980s and into the next decade a number of Black players followed Butcher and Cowans into the England or county sides. In March 1986, Cowans’ Middlesex team-mate, Wilf Slack, who was born in St Vincent played for England against his fellow-countrymen at Trinidad, and in August Warwickshire’s, Gladstone Small (Barbados) opened England’s bowling against New Zealand at Trent Bridge. In the following winter, Phil De Freitas (Dominica) had five wickets in his first Test Match appearance at Brisbane. In the England sides of the near future came David Lawrence (born England, first Test Match 1988), Devon Malcolm (Jamaica, 1989), Chris Lewis (Guyana, 1990) and Neil Williams (St Vincent, 1990). They all came through the county game, as did other county cricketers like Alan Warner (Derbyshire & Worcestershire), Martin Jean-Jacques (Derbyshire & Hampshire), Mark Alleyne (Gloucestershire), Cardigan Connor (Hampshire), Ricardo Ellcock (Worcestershire & Middlesex) and Keith Piper (Warwickshire). Alleyne and Piper were two of the notable ‘graduates’ of the Haringey Cricket College, London, run by West Indian Test Match cricketer, Reg Scarlett, before it ran into funding problems and closed.

Hampshire won the Sunday League Trophy in the last year of John Player’s sponsorship. The TCCB enquiry into the playing standards in English Test Match and county cricket, known as the Palmer Report, suggested that the decline in batting standards was mainly the fault of limited-overs cricket. The report recommended that by 1988, the Championship should consist of 16 three-day and eight four-day matches, a knock-out cup of 20 teams to replace the B&H Cup and a Sunday League of two divisions followed by semi-finals and a Final. The Championship regulations now included the provision for a full-playing substitute to replace a player suddenly required in a Test Match by England. Fifth-placed Worcestershire scored 39.23 runs per wicket, while Champions Essex led the bowlers at 24.04 runs per wicket.

England left for Australia in the autumn having failed to win one of their last eleven matches, but they beat Australia, so their captain Mike Gatting retained the Ashes won by David Gower in 1985. The editor of Wisden wondered whether there had ever been an Australian side “as weak as that beaten by England this past winter”. He worried that a weak Australian side might affect attendances, noting that in the three most recent Lord’s Tests Australia attracted 93,329 spectators whereas the figures were just under 70,000 for New Zealand and 57,509 for India. He needn’t have worried.

Ian Botham was suspended for most of the Test season for bringing the game into disrepute having changed a press story and admitted to smoking cannabis. 45-year-old Geoff Boycott led Yorkshire’s batting averages at 52.35 but he was not offered another contract.

In November 1986, the Pakistan captain Imran Khan pressed his authorities to invite two Indian umpires to officiate in a Test Match against West Indies in Lahore, and the ICC responded fairly quickly to this initiative. By 1992 an experiment led to one neutral umpire standing in every Test Match, and in 2002, India’s tour of West Indies was the first in which two neutrals officiated and this is now the accepted practice.

FC: 1985
November 28, 2020, 1:52 pm
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England beat Australia 3-1 (6 Tests), and in 1985/6 lost 5-0 to West Indies (5).

Championship: Middlesex; Nat West: Essex; B&H: Leicestershire; Sunday League: Essex

Texaco took over sponsorship of England’s home ODIs; it ceased with the ICC World Cup in 1999. Wisden reported that world-wide there were 94 ODIs during the year “exactly twice as many” as five years earlier.

The visiting Australians participated in an experiment, playing eight four-day matches against the counties. England won the Ashes, having averaged a record 60 runs per 100 balls – their success helped the income at the TCCB whose takings for the year approached £2.5m, and the counties enjoyed a healthy share-out with most in profit over the year. Hampshire finished runners-up but following the unhappy departure of Trevor Jesty in 1984, they did not field one Hampshire-born cricketer all season. Gloucestershire who finished third were fined £8,000 for the slowest over-rate of any county. Wisden recorded that both counties had exploited “loopholes in the rules of qualification” for signing overseas players. They also reported that licensing hours during matches were being restricted along with “special appeals for orderly behaviour”. Sussex were the highest scoring county averaging 37.64 runs per wicket, while Gloucestershire’s wickets at 23.46 made them the only county under 25, with 13 sides averaging above 30 per wicket.

The editor of Wisden expressed concern that after five seasons, the covering regulations were producing increasingly uniform and batsman-friendly pitches, adding that only once before in 1928, had 19 batsmen averaged more than 50, while 1985 was the first season in which only four regular bowlers averaged under 20 runs per wicket.

In the winter of 1985/6 an England B side made their first tour. This side would eventually be renamed England ‘A’, then England Lions, with a greater focus on young cricketers. Mark Nicholas captained this first touring side, with other players including Bill Athey, Martyn Moxon, Derek Pringle, Jonathan Agnew, Nick Cook, Steven Rhodes and Chris Smith.

Alison Wilcocks
November 28, 2020, 8:15 am
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This message from Mike Vimpany. I knew Alison well in my Committee days (late 1990s and she was a delight – really kind and helpful.

“Sad to report that Alison, Tony Baker’s long term PA at Northlands Road, passed away last weekend after a long illness.  She was a lovely lady and hugely good at her job”.

Pompey, Basingstoke, Isle of Wight, Ringwood?
November 27, 2020, 10:10 pm
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Today’s Daily Telegraph reports that next season, the Women’s ‘Hundred’ will be played on the same grounds as the men’s. The original plan was to take the women’s games to a variety of other grounds.

I guess that will mean even fewer Championship or 50-over matches at the Ageas Bowl – especially if there is also an international T20. Hold fire on those car park tickets!!

FC: 1984
November 27, 2020, 7:07 am
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England lost the Test series v West Indies 5-0 (5 Tests) and drew their one match v Sri Lanka. In 1984/5, they beat India 2-1 (5)

Championship: Essex; Nat West: Middlesex; B&H: Lancashire; Sunday League Essex

Wisden wondered whether the West Indies were “the strongest ever to have taken the field” – as well as their clean sweep against England, they won six consecutive Tests home and away against Australia. For the first time since 1948 at Leeds, England declared and lost a Test Match (v West Indies at Lord’s). The editor noted that bats were now significantly heavier than thirty years earlier with some now above 3 lbs. Bob Willis retired after playing on the losing side in the B&H Final and David Gower took on England’s captaincy.

The summer was very warm and dry and more centuries were made in the Championship than any year since 1962, when counties played more matches. In the County Championship, regulations now stipulated a reduced minimum of 117 overs on each of the first two days and 110 on the third, a rate of 18 overs per hour; the county captains were unhappy and in the winter the target was reduced to 112 overs. Essex won the Sunday League and the County Championship (again) – the latter, the first sponsored by Britannic Assurance and it was a thrilling finish. With two balls remaining Nottinghamshire, 293-9, needed four runs to beat Somerset and take the title. Mike Bore went for a boundary and was caught five yards from the line, leaving Essex Champions. The TCCB’s desire to reduce the number of overseas players was “progressing more slowly than was the original intention” (Wisden). South African Chris Smith followed Allan Lamb into the England side. Nottinghamshire led the season’s batsmen averaging 36.72 per wicket while Essex led the bowlers at 24.42 – just .01 ahead of Nottinghamshire.

Alvin Kallicharan’s 206 for Warwickshire v Oxfordshire was the highest List A score in England until Ali Brown (Surrey) in 2002, while Viv Richards’ 189* at Manchester remains the highest ODI innings in England.

FC: 1983
November 26, 2020, 8:02 am
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England beat New Zealand 3-1 (4 Tests) and, 1983/4 lost 1-0 to New Zealand (3) & Pakistan 1-0 (3)

Champions: Essex; Nat West: Somerset; B&H Middlesex; Sunday League: Yorkshire  

The English spring was very wet and much time was lost in the early weeks of the county season, but the sun came out and by-and-large stayed out. The third World Cup was held again in England, and India surprised most people by beating the West Indies in a low-scoring Final. Earlier in the year, the Ashes series included a thriller in Melbourne when England’s victory by three runs equalled the narrowest runs margin of victory in Test Match history. New Zealand’s Test victory at Headingley was their first in this country, but they were not pleased that the counties fielded weakened sides against them. In July, MCC voted against sending a representative side to South Africa.

The County Championship was increased from 22 to 24 matches. Covered pitches were supposed to favour batsmen but at the end of May at Chelmsford, Essex dismissed Surrey for 14 (Norbert Phillip 6–4). They won the title and with it £14,000. Hampshire (third) scored their runs at the very high average of 40.47 per wicket, while Middlesex took their wickets at 23.90. Yorkshire, without any success since 1969, won the Sunday League. They were not however cheered by this, and engaged in a civil war, sacking their captain Boycott. Wisden’s editor noted proposals for a two-division Championship suggesting it would require an eighteenth county to enter the competition, although TCCB announced no changes until “at least” 1986. In his notes he again expressed concerns about pressure on umpires, excessive short-pitched bowling, and too much appealing, to which he added that “contrivance, not to say connivance” was far too prevalent in pursuing Championship victories. He believed broadly that the game was now “more stereotyped” because of the emphasis on pace bowling and “the corresponding lack of spin”.

Wisden’s editor warned that cricket was declining in the state schools, although his traditional section on “Schools Cricket” still offered 45 pages about the (boys’) public schools. Sir Donald Bradman suggested that umpires might benefit with assistance from television technology

FC: 1982
November 25, 2020, 8:23 am
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England beat India 1-0 (3 Tests) & Pakistan 2-1 (3) and, 1982/3, lost the series in Australia 2-1 (5).

Champions: Middlesex; Nat West: Surrey; B&H: Somerset; Sunday League: Sussex.

In the Post-Packer wake of the improved remuneration of cricketers, some leading world cricketers pursued the rand and in March 1982, English cricketers led the way as the first ‘rebel’ tourists to buck the ban on South Africa and visit that country. Wisden’s editor felt that the “reaction” to their arrival in South Africa was “little short of hysterical”, as a “fiercely political game” developed, although he noted that the Prime Minister (Mrs Thatcher) “refused to condemn them”. The South Africans arranged further tours during the decade by a Sri Lankan side (1982–1983), West Indians 1982–1983 and 1983–1984, Australians 1985–1986 and 1986–1987 and, finally, another English side under Mike Gatting in 1989–1990. Wisden’s editor began his notes observing that for a second year “politics cast a shadow across the cricket fields of the world”.

Bob Willis was appointed England’s captain and while Wisden’s editor took him to task for observing that “leg-spin bowling doesn’t win Test matches” and suggested he allowed the Oval Test v India to “peter out” he praised his “capital start” to this “unexpected” appointment. The editor was concerned about the pressure on umpires during the Pakistan series – particularly from excessive appealing – and did not enjoy the way some Test match and Sunday League grounds began to sound like football grounds – despite all this he noted that public interest in the game was “undiminished”.

In May, Graham Gooch scored 198* for Essex v Sussex at Hove, then the highest List A innings between two first-class counties. In 1980, Wisden’s retiring editor, Norman Preston had noted that the “preponderance” of overseas players in county cricket had persuaded the TCCB to limit them to one each per county from 1982, although he added that their arrival in 1968 had led to greater equality between the counties. At the end of the season, seven of the top 10 batsmen and nine of the first 11 bowlers in the averages were overseas players.

Wisden reported that when the TCCB was not worrying about the South African ‘rebels’ it was concerned about the “structure and viability of first-class cricket in England” and noted “several counties are having difficulty balancing their books”. There was still some enthusiasm for the County Championship to consist of 16 four-day mid-week games – which would have an adverse impact on members and seemed to be “advocating change for change’s sake”. In November, Schweppes withdrew their sponsorship of the Championship. Philip Carling, who had moved from Chief Executive of Nottinghamshire to secretary of Glamorgan, wrote in Wisden about county cricket’s struggle to survive, suggesting the need to reduce the slow procedures of the county committee system in favour of “a real executive”.

Mike Brearley led Middlesex to the Championship and then retired with a Wisden tribute from John Arlott. There were now 16 points for a Championship victory, while the first innings bonus points available remained at four each. The required over-rate was 19 per hour with fines to Kent, Surrey, Sussex and Yorkshire for failing to meet the target. Northamptonshire led the field scoring 36.57 runs per wicket while Hampshire took their wickets at 23.21 each – one of only three sides to average under 25, as batsmen prospered on covered pitches.

Wisden’s editor raised the matter of the South African Allan Lamb being selected for England while his home country was banned from Test cricket. In November the Jamaican-born Middlesex pace bowler Norman Cowans made his Test Match debut for England in the first Test in Perth, and bowled England to victory, although they lost the series. During that Test the Australian bowler Terry Alderman was carried from the field on a stretcher after an altercation with an invading spectator. His shoulder was damaged and he missed several months injured.

FC: 1981
November 24, 2020, 8:05 am
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England beat Australia 3-1 (4 Tests). In 1981/2 they toured India losing 1-0 (6 Tests) then beat Sri Lanka in their inaugural Test Match

Nottinghamshire won the County Championship; Derbyshire won the Nat West Trophy; Somerset won the B&H Cup and Essex the Sunday League.

The editor of Wisden suggested that “more perhaps than any of its predecessors this 119th edition … reflects the extent to which cricket has become embroiled in politics”. February 1981 was particularly troubled: firstly Australian brothers, Greg and Trevor Chappell, were widely condemned when New Zealand reached the last ball of an ODI needing six to tie the match, so the older Chappell, Greg, ordered his younger brother to bowl the ball underarm along the ground and Australia won a match. The action was subsequently outlawed.  Then Roland Butcher of Middlesex, born in Barbados, made his England debut at his ‘home’ ground in the third scheduled Test Match of the West Indies tour. England lost the first Test Match by an innings and the two sides should have then met in the second in Guyana, but England had called up Surrey’s Robin Jackman as a tour replacement for the injured Bob Willis, and when he arrived in Guyana his entry visa was revoked because since 1968 he had been spending his winters coaching and playing in South Africa and had married a South African. In a diplomatic standoff, the Test Match was cancelled and after the threat of cancelling the tour, the England party flew to Barbados, where Jackman and Butcher made their Test Match debuts. The match, won by West Indies, seemed insignificant when England’s assistant manager and coach Ken Barrington died suddenly on the second evening. The last two Tests were drawn.

Later in 1981 New Zealand’s tour of West Indies was cancelled by the latter because the All Blacks rugby side had toured South Africa, and England’s tour of India at the end of the year came under a similar threat because some England players had been black-listed by the United Nations for links with South Africa. In February 1982, Sri Lanka played their first Test Match, losing at home by seven wickets to England.

In England, Wisden’s editor noted that “to the dismay of many traditionalists, the seventeen first-class counties voted that pitches should be fully covered in all Championship matches”. With the brief exception of 1987, that has remained the case ever since, in addition, the limit of 200 overs on the two first innings of the County Championship was removed. Nottinghamshire won the title from Sussex on the penultimate day of the season and by just two points, while Sussex at 33.97 were highest scorers per wicket and Nottinghamshire at 21.48 were the only bowling side to take wickets under 25 runs each; with the covers on, it was a high scoring season. The Nat West Trophy replaced the Gillette Cup; it remained at 60 overs per side, and produced a thrilling Final as Derbyshire (six) beat Northamptonshire (nine) won it by virtue of losing fewer wickets with scores level. Somerset beat Surrey to win the B&H Cup for the first time, thanks principally to 132* by Viv Richards, but they were runners-up to Essex in the Sunday League.

After a disappointing start as England’s captain, Ian Botham was replaced by the return of Mike Brearley, with Australia leading 1-0 after two matches. Then came Ian Botham’s extraordinary century at Headingley, complemented by Bob Willis with 8-43, as England, 227 behind on first innings and following on, 135-7, won by 18 runs. In the next Test at Edgbaston, Botham’s 5-11 took England to victory by 29 runs, then his magnificent 118 at Old Trafford secured the Ashes. Wisden’s editor compared him with Gilbert Jessop.