Hampshire Cricket History

Happy New Year
December 31, 2020, 9:10 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

And I mean that probably more than ever of course, although we might need to be a bit patient I guess. The dreadful events of 2020 started in mid-March so maybe it will turn out to be a full 12-months of anxiety and misery but then things will turn in time for the cricket.

Do you have any fond memories of cricket in 2020? I can’t claim to have given this much thought but I was luckier than most in being able to work with Kevan on the BBC commentaries so I got to see us beat Surrey and you might remember I saw my first-ever straightforward three in an over hat-trick! I was lucky to see Alastair Cook’s century at Arundel – indeed recorded it on my home-made scoreboard! I enjoyed too, the advances of Currie, Dale and Scriven as well as Joe Weatherley looking like a more mature player but I can’t find it in my heart to feel anything other than delight that the nasty virus prevented the start of the nasty Hundred.

Which brings me on to cricket wishes for 2021 – do you have some? I guess things getting ‘back to normal’ is an obvious mantra although normal isn’t always what it was. I’m still hoping for one more Hampshire Championship title before my ‘close-of-play’ and after last year I might even enjoy T20. I won’t mention the other abomination again though!

Back to Forever Changes tomorrow – Happy New Year Bloggers!

FC: 2008
December 30, 2020, 2:07 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

MANY thanks for all those interesting and informative comments about televised sport. Back to the history now – albeit getting quite up-to-date.

England beat New Zealand 2-0 (3 Tests) but lost 2-1 to South Africa (4). In 2008/9 they lost 1-0 to India (2) and 1-0 to West Indies (5 – 2nd Test abandoned after 1.2 overs; poor pitch).

Champions: Durham; FP Trophy: Essex; T20: Middlesex; Pro40 Sussex

In a wet summer, Durham won the County Championship (plus £100,000) for the first time. They were in third place, ten points behind leaders Nottinghamshire when the final round of (16) matches started but Nottinghamshire lost to Hampshire and second-placed Somerset to Lancashire, so Durham’s inning’s victory over Kent gave them the title and condemned Kent (and Surrey) to relegation. Somerset were top-scorers at 35.77 runs per wicket while Durham’s wicket-taking at 23.02 runs each was well ahead of the other 17 counties. Overall more than 50% of matches ended as a draw for the first season in the new century.

 The FP Trophy was split into four regional groups (eight matches home & away) with two knock-out rounds plus a Final. The T20 was increased to 10 matches per side. Hampshire and Essex also competed for the T20 Floodlit Cup to allow for an experiment with floodlights and a pink ball. Wisden was now edited by Scyld Berry, and he began his notes by describing the opening ceremony of the brand new T20 competition, the Indian Premier League, in April as “the most spectacular cricket has ever seen”. Its impact led the ECB to act – initially planning a new T20 structure from 2010 featuring two overseas sides, but as the 2008 season ended, the latest severe worldwide recession bit and those plans were just one relatively minor casualty in the whole downturn. An alternative proposal was a nine-team franchise based at the counties’ international grounds. Within a decade those plans (with on-field amendments) were in place. Giles Clarke and the ECB began negotiating with the American billionaire Allan Stanford to establish T20 tournaments in the Caribbean, which would rival the IPL. There was a five-year deal worth nearly £13m and an additional £30m for an annual international tournament at Lord’s. Unfortunately, USA investigators raided Stanford’s bank in early 2009, and in March 2012, he was found guilty of various financial misdemeanours by a jury and began a sentence of up to 120 years in prison.

Elsewhere in Wisden, Dean Wilson reported that in England at least, the game “within the Afro-Caribbean community is dying”. He identified the loss to England and the county sides, but identified also the same problem in league and club cricket, adding, “cricket is struggling to tap into the inner-city areas.”

Michael Vaughan and Paul Collingwood resigned as England’s Test and limited-overs captains. They were replaced by a single appointment, Kevin Pietersen who, as Berry observed “began by winning everything, then lost everything”. He stayed in charge for just five months and then Andrew Strauss took over. The ECB appointed Hugh Morris as ‘Managing Director – English Cricket’. The ECB renewed its deal with Sky Sports to run from 2010-2013. The BBC did not bid for television rights.

The Cricketer magazine published an edition titled “The Rich List” in which they said England’s contracted players were now earning between £1m and £3m per year, while county “yeomen” such as Robert Key, Ravi Bopara, Paul Collingwood and Chris Woakes earned between £100,000 – £150,000. Overseas players who would generally be on seasonal contracts were earning from £60,000 – £130,000, while for English T20 specialists like Luke Wright, Owais Shah, Michael Lumb and Dimitri Mascarenhas, the figure rose to between £120,000 – £400,000. Mascarenhas was the only English county cricketer in the first year of the IPL.  In July three decisions were referred to the TV umpire on the first day of the Test Match between Sri Lanka and India in Columbo

A Real Turn-Off?
December 29, 2020, 9:44 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

I can’t say I stay up nights, even to watch the Aussies being beaten, but I have the choice since I’m a Virgin subscriber which includes Sky Sports (and BT Sport). It means also that today I can watch South Africa beating Sri Lanka if I wish. I pay for that of course but it’s less each month than going to a couple of premiership football games.

Talking of football however, in these cold, dark days in Tier 4 (it’s snowing in Pompey right now) and a rampant new strain out there, indoors is the new outdoors and I’m watching more sport than usual on TV. I would have watched more of the Six Nations rugby a few weeks back except that it suddenly started appearing on Amazon and I noticed yesterday that all three scheduled football games were on there as well. I pay enough extra already for my entertainment (add Netflix ) so I’ve decided no more – if what I wish to watch isn’t on what I already purchase, I won’t see it.

Then yesterday I learned that India v England in February will be on something called ‘Hotstar’, while the next Ashes series ‘down under’ might be on BT but possibly Amazon. There is lots of evidence – some already reported in my Forever Changes posts since 2005 – that chasing the big money has already lost significant numbers of cricket’s less committed watchers – with a consequent impact on cricket in the culture more broadly. It’s anyone’s guess what impact this ‘diversification’ will have.

I’m lucky that I can afford to watch these channels and I guess you know I’m quite interested in cricket – but I’ve had enough now – can’t watch; won’t watch. What about you bloggers?

FC: 2007
December 29, 2020, 8:09 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

England beat West Indies 3-0 (4 Tests) but lost to India 1-0 (3). In 2007/8 they lost to Sri Lanka 1-0 (3) and beat New Zealand 2-1 (3).

Champions: Sussex; FP Trophy: Durham; T20: Kent; Pro40: Worcestershire

Australia beat Sri Lanka in the latest World Cup in the West Indies a few days after the English domestic season began. It was a wet summer, but Wisden called it “vintage”. Sussex won their third Championship in five years, just 4.5 points ahead of Durham – with it came a prize of £100,000. The top-scoring Championship teams were the top two in Division Two, Somerset (48.89) and Nottinghamshire (44.89) – the latter had been promoted in 2004, Champions in 2005, relegated in 2006 and now promoted again in 2007. The top scorers in Division One were Kent while the best bowling side was third-placed Lancashire (28.88). The C&G Trophy was now the Friends Provident Trophy and added semi-finals after the north/south divisional games; Surrey posted 496-4 against Gloucestershire, a world record for a List A game. Durham won the Lord’s Final, their first trophy, but the rain sent it to a second day so most Durham fans missed it. Kyle Hogg of Lancashire played for three Championship teams – two on loan. In September Middlesex played Derbyshire in the Pro 40; the first floodlit match at Lord’s.

There was a new Chairman at ECB, as David Morgan of Glamorgan was succeeded by Giles Clarke of Somerset. In his Wisden editor’s notes, Engel suggested that the current structure of English domestic cricket was “not merely the worst that has yet been invented but possibly the worst that could be imagined” adding, “the destruction of the once beautiful knock-out cup should be used as a case study of blithering administrative idiocy”. In July, Steve James, published an article in the Daily Telegraph revealing that almost all capped county cricketers were earning £30,000 p.a. with senior players “commanding salaries of £80,000 and above”. In 2009, Wisden published a table of overseas Championship “imports” in the 21st century, including all whose pre-16 education took place abroad. In 2000 the figure was just under 13% of all players, by 2004 it had reached 30%, and by 2007 it was up to 36.78%.

From late January 2007 to mid-May there was a gap in Test Match cricket world-wide – the longest break since 1971–1972. In its place came the latest World Cup that took place in the Caribbean, which Wisden called “joyless and long-winded to the point of tedium”. The Pakistan coach Bob Woolmer died in suspicious circumstances. Australia won the Final, calculated by the Duckworth-Lewis method in farcical circumstances, and there were increasing concerns with betting and match-fixing. In April, Duncan Fletcher resigned as England’s coach and was succeeded by Peter Moores. In June, Ian Botham was knighted.

In September, South Africa hosted the first T20 World Cup and 12 teams contested a somewhat complicated tournament in which England managed to beat only Bangladesh. In England’s match against India, Yuvraj Singh hit six sixes in one Stuart Broad over and India won the trophy, beating Pakistan – the impact of their success led directly to the creation of the IPL. Wisden would soon observe that the IPL was “shifting the tectonic plates of the professional game as never before” with the period when players “primarily” represented their countries “suddenly” coming to an end. In December Muralitharan’s 709th Test wicket took him ahead of Shane Warne.

Forever Changes: 2006
December 28, 2020, 8:19 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

England drew 1-1 with Sri Lanka (3 Tests) and beat Pakistan 2-0 (one concession – 3). In 2006/7, they lost 5-0 to Australia (5)

Champions: Sussex; C&G: Sussex; T20: Leicestershire; Pro 40: Essex

The C&G Trophy, successor to the original knock-out cup of 1963 was for the first time organised in two divisions, north and south, plus Ireland and Scotland but no minor counties, with a Lord’s Final between the top two sides. As in 1963, Sussex won, successfully defending 172 against Lancashire as they had defended 168, 43 years earlier. Sussex also won the County Championship with Lancashire runners-up. Promotion and relegation in the County Championship were both reduced to two-up and two down and Surrey who topped Division Two were the highest scorers at a huge 49.17 runs per wicket, while Sussex (25.68) and Lancashire were the only sides to take wickets under 30 runs each. The List A League competition was now sponsored by Nat West and reverted to the original 40-over format (eight matches each). Two sides were now promoted and relegated with a third ‘play-off’ in which Hampshire (3rd in Div 2) beat Glamorgan (7th in Div 1) and so the two sides swopped divisions.

In the fourth Test at the Oval, the umpires raised questions about the condition of the ball and awarded England five penalty runs. The Pakistan team were outraged and refused to take the field after a break for bad light. After a significant delay and discussions with match referee Mike Procter, umpire Darryl Hair removed the bails and the match was declared forfeit to England. In 2008, the ICC reversed the decision and declared the match drawn but England appealed and the original decision was upheld. In July, 19 Caribbean sides took place in the inaugural but ill-fated Stanford T20 tournament. England toured Australia 2006/7 and by the time the series ended on 5 January they had lost all five matches. During the series, Warne became the first bowler to reach 700 Test Match wickets. For England, the result was a disaster so there was a new investigation culminating in the Schofield Report. which proposed a reduction in domestic cricket. Peter Moores had replaced Duncan Fletcher as England’s coach.

Sky Sports took over the broadcasting of England’s Test Matches from Channel 4 – the BBC did not bid. Matthew Engel observed it was a situation “where the overwhelming majority of the British population will never come across a game of cricket in their daily lives”, adding, the “long-term effects will take a generation to unfold … I think we’re looking at a potential catastrophe”.

Forever Changes: ODIs
December 27, 2020, 12:57 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

There is a very good piece in today’s Sunday Times by Simon Wilde noting that we are approaching the 50th anniversary of the first ODI and describing through his writing and stats how much the game has changed since. We’ll mark it here too, but while Simon notes that it was 50 years ago this week that the emergency meeting was held to plan the game, it actually took place 50 years ago on Tuesday week – 5 January 1971 – so we’ll wait until then. But Wilde is worth a read.

John Edrich RIP
December 25, 2020, 11:09 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

I have just heard that the former Surrey & England batsman John Edrich has died. Not a Hampshire player of course but the news has a certain resonance for me because on Monday 17 August 1959 I saw my first day of county cricket and the first significant moment in the day was ‘Shack’ trapping John Edrich lbw – although I can’t honestly say I remember it.

It was so early that I hadn’t yet worked out how to buy a scorecard, so when the man came round I gave my 4d for the “up-to-date” scorecard, while Parsons and Barrington enjoyed a century partnership. You can just see from my (nine-year-old) handwritten note that chasing 278 to win Surrey finished 12 runs short with one wicket left. Not John’s finest game but he was a very good left-handed batsman at County and International level.

(Incidentally the only survivor from that match on the Hampshire side is Dennis Baldry. I saw him recently at Alan Rayment’s funeral and apart from some eye trouble seemed very fit. Tomorrow is his 89th birthday – he is now our ‘senior pro – Happy Birthday ‘Dobbie’)

Merry Christmas!
December 23, 2020, 9:58 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

I hope you will all manage to have as much fun as possible over Christmas. Thank you very much for sticking with the Blog over this crazy year. There should still be a few Birthday posts on the main website over the Holidays and I’ll be back in a few days with Forever Changes 2006.

Stay safe and well. Not long to next season now.

Cricket in Wonderland
December 21, 2020, 8:22 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

In the current (Christmas) edition of the Cricketer there is a terrific article by Richard Hobson about Alice in Wonderland and her husband Reginald Hargreaves who played for Hampshire. There is also another suggestion that Hampshire might play in Wonderland (Portsmouth) next year – and perhaps even play a 50-over game on the Nursery Ground. Plus there is a slightly odd obituary of Alan Rayment.

FC: 2005
December 21, 2020, 8:55 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

England beat Bangladesh 2-0 (2 Tests) and Australia 2-1 (5). In 2005/6 they lost 2-0 to Pakistan (3) and drew with India 1-1 (3)

Champions: Nottinghamshire; C&G: Hampshire; T20: Somerset; National League: Essex

This was one of the great seasons for English cricket thanks principally to a thrilling Ashes series as England finally emerged as the winners after Australia had held the Ashes across a record 16 years and 44 Test Matches, stretching back to 1989. In Wisden, the editor Matthew Engel described it as “a triumph for the real thing: five five-day Test matches between two gifted, well-matched teams playing fantastic cricket at high velocity and high pressure with the perfect mix of chivalry and venom”. During the series, Shane Warne became the first man to take 600 Test wickets.

It was also significant because it was the last series to be shown on terrestrial television and it got considerable coverage in the newspapers. It seemed to be everything the ECB and the viewing public wanted, but before the year was out the former concluded a deal with BSkyB which gave Sky exclusive rights to live cricket in England from 2006 which would be the first time since the 1950s, that home Test Matches were not shown live on terrestrial television. Figures showed the Ashes average peak of 34% viewers in 2005, declining to fewer than 10% for the two series in 2006. Matthew Engel suggested that in English cricket, there was now “only one stakeholder worth a light: Sky TV”, adding “no amount of money for the counties … can compensate for what has happened”. He also expressed concern that Yorkshire seemed to be moving away from the model of a county owned and controlled by its members, following Durham (“never … a members’ club) and Hampshire, now “controlled by the majority shareholder of Rose Bowl plc”.

The ICC left Lord’s and relocated to Dubai where it remains. On 17 February, Australia beat New Zealand by 44 runs in the first International T20 – the two sides wore retro-style clothing, the ‘Kiwis’ sported fake moustaches, and Rikki Ponting, despite a 55-ball innings of 98, said “it is difficult to play seriously”. In June the Australians played England at the Rose Bowl in the first IT20 in the UK. England scored 179-8, then dismissed Australia for 79 in the 15th over, winning by 100 runs. When England played Australia at Headingley in July ‘super subs’ were used in an ODI for the first time. Sachin Tendulkar’s 35th Test century beat Sachin Gavaskar’s world record, and Brian Lara became the highest run-scorer in Test history

Among the counties, the sides that had been promoted in the top two places the previous year, finished in those same spots in the First Division, with Nottinghamshire beating Hampshire by 2.5 points. Surrey led the batting sides, averaging 41.77 runs per wicket, while Lancashire took their wickets at 26.93. The T20 was expanded to eight matches, guaranteeing each county four home games, plus the addition of quarter-finals. The minor counties took part in the C&G Trophy for the final time after 42 years. Darren Gough and his professional partner won BBC television’s Strictly Come Dancing.