Hampshire Cricket History

September 22, 2015, 1:04 pm
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I sent this Tweet to Kev

“Groundhog Day? Yorkshire 37-3, catch dropped in slips around 100 – Notts 39-3, catch dropped in slips around 100.”

Next ball, a wicket fell!

Perhaps I’ll keep them coming …

37-3 Last Week
September 22, 2015, 11:42 am
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39-3 Today

It may mean nothing of course, but Hampshire are best placed of the three ‘contenders’ at lunch

(“I could have been nobody …”)

PS Just back from rehearsing the Southsea Skiffle Orchestra to discover that the live TV broadcast promised by Sky in the Radio Times is not happening. It’ll have to be that nice Mr James

PPS Today’s BBC News: “Yorkshire will dominate the County Championship and win the competition for the “next five or six years”, club president Dickie Bird says.” I sat with Dickie briefly last Thursday just as Yorkshire started their (eventually) winning innings. Dickie was convinced Hampshire would win – so …

Back to the present
September 22, 2015, 7:58 am
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Thanks for all those thoughts about the future of the Championship etc – very interesting

Now it’s four days of the here-and-now. Liam Dawson says he’s ‘up for the challenge’ but he would wouldn’t he as Mandy once observed

Apparently no Hales or Taylor (exhausted?) but Broad is playing. I hope that if we go down it’s by 8 points or more, then no one will look back at last week’s forfeit …

Are they Worth It?
September 21, 2015, 7:30 am
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The next argument around the future of County Cricket centres on the economic value of the Members. When I first watched Hampshire Desmond Eagar would write quite regularly that the members were the lifeblood of the club but that has changed dramatically in the years of the major TV deals.

The figures (approximately) are that members provide an annual revenue of around £500k whereas income from the central pot of the ECB is over £3m

I do have a simple, self-interested view of the £500k which is that if it’s considered insignificant perhaps I can have the £100k needed to create the Museum that was designed for us a couple of years back. The answer is (understandably) no – which suggests that the full £500k is not insignificant …

However, setting that aside there are I think two other key arguments to pursue – you might think of more in which case let us know

  1. Members bring all kinds of other economic benefits in that they are most likely to spend cash at the bar, on meals, scorecards, Handbooks etc. They buy the Golden Gamble tickets and support special lunches and other social events throughout the season. In addition, their money is in the bank regardless of days like last Wednesday when it pours all day
  2. For me, equally important is the cultural importance of people who commit themselves to a club on a seasonal if not long-term basis, often in years when for all kinds of reasons they cannot attend regularly. In many cases, they are known at work or in their locality as the cricket person and perhaps rather more, the Hampshire cricket person; they follow on the radio, through social media, in newspapers etc. I don’t believe that when reciprocal deals are on offer, the majority of people shop around for the cheap option. The vast majority of members are proud to belong to their club and wish to express that pride in all the obvious ways. It should follow that their views and preferences are important

The current argument implies that members are often obstacles, and that the real need is to get to all the people who don’t follow their county club. From that comes the tired old idea about ‘giving people what they want’. It’s a very dubious argument. If young people never spend a day at a Championship match how do we know whether they will ‘want’ it? As some of you have pointed out, when we went as kids, we watched relatively little – but we enjoyed playing our own games, collecting autographs and simply learning to be there. I’ve spent much of my life teaching young people about modern art, avant-garde film, jazz and all kinds of things they’re not expected to like. Like learning to bowl wrist spin, it takes time but the rewards are huge. They don’t have to love only Boyzone and T20 for life.

More ‘Movie’ News
September 21, 2015, 6:38 am
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DOAG in Portsmouth has been cancelled …

The Go-Between
September 20, 2015, 6:21 pm
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You might know this novel (by LP Hartley) or a film version with Julie Christie and Alan Bates. In recent weeks I’ve been writing about cricket at the start of the 20th Century and I’ve used references to the novel in one part of it. The story is about an illicit love affair – a story of class differences with similarities to Lady Chatterley’s Lover. But it also features quite significantly, a cricket match. There’s a brief conversation in the book about the match between the ‘Hall’ (think Downton!) and the village

“Is there to be a cricket match?”

“Yes, we have it every year. It helps to keep them quiet.”

I’ve just seen there’s a version on BBC TV tonight at 9pm. The previews are good. It’ll have more cricket than Downton (or This is England I suspect)

In Whose Interest?
September 20, 2015, 8:07 am
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OK here’s the next point about the future of the Championship. It emerged during the conversation on Wednesday evening and I’ve also read it in a letter in the Cricket Paper.

It centres on the assumption that there is a generation that currently supports the Championship that is gradually dying off and won’t be replaced because younger people don’t watch it. In addition, there is an argument that Championship fans should acknowledge this and stop operating out of ‘self-interest’ because it is a financial drain. The ‘future’ is a smaller Championship and greater investment in T20 – including city-based franchises which are likely with the next TV deal in 2019. The self interest issue is intriguing since cricket is now marketed to ‘customers’ and as far as I’m aware beyond the ethical argument (environment, sweat shops etc) customers do precisely act out of self interest. They buy what they want! When we were members of a members’ club, we had a greater collective responsibility. We don’t now, because we have no say in how things happen.

Rod acknowledged he’s less bothered about the 50 over competition but Andrew Strauss is pushing that because he wants England competing for and winning a World Cup.

I don’t accept that the Championship is exclusively for old folks like me but I understand it’s not played on days to suit working people. So I’ll suggest that we need to be sure that future generations won’t come to the Championship once they retire – especially given greater life expectancy. Many people who have been club players and occasional spectators enjoy watching regularly in later years. Attendant upon that is my argument that while we go out of our way to market to the family/child audience, we just plonk the Championship down as usual and make no specific effort to attract older spectators – particularly those who don’t know they might enjoy a day at the cricket.

For example, I’m very actively involved in over-60s projects in Pompey among which I run a Skiffle Orchestra which meets monthly and includes around 25 people. Some have never played before, some never in public but now we do occasional gigs and rehearse every month. It’s one example of a project for older people that doesn’t involve walking frames or bingo. I also give lots of talks to U3A groups. Why don’t we run such things at the Ageas Bowl through the winter and include for every participant (say) three free Championship passes for two people? We’d attract lots of people who might come as much for the company as for the cricket. Gradually they might get to enjoy it. They might take out a membership. The Championship might become more successful …

Maybe that wouldn’t suit?


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