Hampshire Cricket History

1961: Postscript (Part One)
February 23, 2021, 11:31 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

This is my penultimate 1961 entry – apart perhaps from some photos


At the season’s end most of the Hampshire players went off to other jobs, reporting back for pre-season practice in the early spring. There were no 12-month contracts then, although with Trueman, Statham and Flavell declining to tour, ‘Butch’ White went to India & Pakistan, where ‘England’ played eight Test Matches; the tour, like all ‘England’ tours in those days still organised under the auspices of MCC. ‘Butch’ ended top of the tour bowling averages but struggled with injuries and played only two of the Tests against Pakistan. Those injury problems persisted during the 1962 English season, reducing his effectiveness somewhat and he took just 71 wickets – the only season through the decade when he failed to take at least 85; four times passing 100. These days, top pace bowlers seem to suffer more from injuries but perhaps those winter breaks were one key factor back then?

In 1963, Wisden published its centenary edition, reflecting mostly on the preceding English season, and number 100 was perhaps appropriately the last of the ‘old order’. Yorkshire albeit with six fewer victories than Hampshire in 1961, regained the title in 1962 with a victory over Glamorgan on the final afternoon, despite losing the whole of the second day to the rain. They overtook Worcestershire who nonetheless moved up to second place preceding back-to-back titles in 1964 & 1965. Hampshire fell to 10th, having drawn 19 games – the same number they had won in 1961. The Test series against Pakistan was rather dull, England winning four matches, with one drawn in the rain, which caused more general problems late in a season that Wisden described as “dull and cold”. There were five ‘no result’ Championship matches, as opposed to two in 1961.

There were significant changes looming for the 1963 season. Frank Worrell’s West Indian side who had recently played a thrilling series in Australia (including the first Tied Test) lit up a summer, matching the Beatles who came from ‘nowhere’ to dominate the world of entertainment. Cricket’s changes included the return to ‘uncovered’ pitches, the abolition of the distinction between amateurs and professionals and with that the end of the traditional matches between the Gentlemen and Players, and most significantly, the introduction of a one-day knock-out cup which would also be the first county competition with a named commercial sponsor – in this case Gillette. It began with just the 17 counties contesting 65-overs per side, and after a play-off between the bottom two sides in the 1962 Championship (Lancashire and Leicestershire), the 16 remaining teams were whittled down over three rounds before the two finalists met at Lord’s in early September. While we can see this as one of the most significant developments in the history of county cricket, it meant that in that first year, eight sides, including Hampshire, were knocked out in the first round proper in a mid-week match in May – and some of the losers played only away. The matches were played in white clothing with a red ball and no fielding restrictions, but a start had been made.

In the following season the competition added a round as the first-class counties were joined by the stronger Minor County sides, while the overs were reduced to 60 per side – but not necessarily an equal 12 per bowler. In 1963 the limit was 15 overs each; in 1964 it reduced to 13 and when Hampshire lost to Warwickshire that year, the winners used eight bowlers, with Ibadulla bowling 13 overs (3-43). The restriction to 12 overs each in a maximum of 60 was introduced in 1966 – and in the first of those matches for Hampshire, Peter Sainsbury recorded figures v Lincolnshire of 12-5-18-1. Hampshire won (Danny Livingstone 92).

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Thanks to Colin who spotted that I wrote Norfolk in the final paragraph (1966) it should have been Lincolnshire

Comment by pompeypop

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