Hampshire Cricket History

FC: 2019
January 13, 2021, 8:17 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

England beat Ireland 1-0 (1 Test) and drew 2-2 with Australia (5). In 2019/20 they lost 1-0 to New Zealand (2), beat South Africa 3-1 (4) but their series in Sri Lanka was abandoned due to the Coronavirus pandemic.

Champions: Essex; RL Cup: Somerset; T20: Essex

In the Championship, Nottinghamshire were relegated, while three sides, Lancashire, Northamptonshire and Gloucestershire were promoted, so that the 8/10 split became 10/8, with not every side in Division One due to play each other twice in the following year. In the event, the 2020 Championship was abandoned due to the Coronavirus pandemic. Essex finished just ahead of Somerset after a remarkable end to the season. Somerset’s penultimate match was at the Ageas Bowl where Kyle Abbott’s match figures of 17-86 consigned them to the defeat which allowed Essex to overtake them. Abbott’s figures were the seventh best-ever in first-class cricket, the best-ever for Hampshire and the best in England since Jim Laker’s 19 at Old Trafford in 1956. Over the same four (three) days Essex beat Surrey by an innings and led the table by 12 points. By chance, the final fixture was Somerset v Essex at Taunton but the home side were frustrated by the weather, with fewer than 150 overs possible over the four days so the draw gave the title to Essex. Somerset were also fined 12 points for a poor pitch (2020) with a further 12 points suspended over the next two years. Two second division sides, Glamorgan (35.14) and Lancashire ((35.47) were top scorers in runs per wicket with Yorkshire (31.82) leading in Division One. Somerset took their wickets most cheaply at 21.25.

At the start of the season Alex Hales was dropped from the England squad ahead of the World Cup, following a 21-day ban for using recreational drugs. England won the World Cup Final against New Zealand at Lord’s on the number of boundaries scored, after the scores were level in the 50-over match and after the Super Over. In the 2020 Playfair Cricket Annual the editor described the 2019 season as “undoubtedly one of the greatest for any cricket fan” – notably the World Cup triumph and Stokes’ heroics in England’s Ashes victory by one wicket at Headingley. Ben Stokes won the BBC Sports Personality of the Year. Wisden’s editor Lawrence Booth suggested the World Cup conclusion was “the most tumultuous few seconds in the history of English cricket … Briefly St John’s Wood was the centre of the universe”. Suddenly “there was lightness in the air” although as those words were published in the spring of 2020, an unexpected darkness relegated them to an irrelevance.

The T20 became the Vitality Blast T20 – still 14 matches plus knock out stages, while the eight city-based teams for the Hundred were named as Southern Brave (based at the Ageas Bowl); Trent Rockets (Trent Bridge), Northern Superchargers (Headingley), Welsh Fire (Cardiff), London Spirit (Lord’s); Oval Invincibles (Oval), Birmingham Phoenix (Edgbaston) and Manchester Originals (Old Trafford). There would be a women’s version, some played at other grounds in their region. The first draft of players took place on 20 October 2019 at the Sky Studios and was shown on Sky and BBC. In the event, the launch in 2020 would be cancelled because of the Coronavirus pandemic.

Wisden published a table of the most successful county sides in the period from 1963 – the start of the knock-out cup – to 2019, taking account of success in the Championship the two limited-overs cups, the (Sunday) league and the T20. Lancashire emerged as the ‘best’ side, despite winning only one Championship title (2011), followed by Warwickshire, Essex, Kent and Surrey. Yorkshire despite seven Championship titles were ninth, while Derbyshire were last.

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