A brief history of Hampshire County Cricket Club, now Hampshire Cricket
A History of Hampshire County Cricket Club Introduction Hampshire County Cricket Club, now known simply as Hampshire Cricket, is one of eighteen first-classcounty clubs within the domestic cricket structure of England and Wales. Hampshire teams formed by earlier organisations, principally the Hambledon Club, always had important match status and so the county club was rated accordingly from its inception in 1863 until 1885, however, because of poor performances for several seasons, Hampshire then lost its status for nine seasons until it was invited into the County Championship in 1895. Since then we have been classified as an official first-class team by cricket’s various governing bodies, including the MCC (Marylebone Cricket Club), TCCB and current corporate body, the ECB. In 1963, and with the dawn of limited overs cricket, we became classified as a List A team and then a senior Twenty20 (now known as T20) team since 2003.
A Potted History The club was founded in 1863 and played at the Antelope Ground, Southampton until 1885 when we relocated to the County Ground in Northlands Road, Southampton where we remained until 2000 when we moved to the purpose-built Rose Bowl in West End in the Borough of Eastleigh. Our first match was played in 1864 (hence the name now given to the Supporters’ Club), where we lost to Sussex at the Antelope Ground. This first game set the trend for the coming seasons as we struggled to come to terms with the demands of the game and therefore, due to too many poor results across many seasons, we lost our important match status in 1885, only then achieving official first-class status in 1895 when we were invited to join the County Championship, the ultimate county cricketing honour which we have now won twice in the 1961 and 1973 seasons. Hampshire played their first one-day match in the 1963 Gillette Cup but had to wait 12 years for silverware winning the Sunday League in 1975 and then twice more in 1978 and 1986. Indeed the shorter forms of the game has seen much success as we twice won the Benson & Hedges Cup (1988 and 1991); the Cheltenham & Gloucester Trophy (2005), the Friends Provident Trophy (2009), The CB40 (2012) and the T20 competition in both 2010 and 2012, also setting a record of reaching six consecutive T20 Finals’ Day between 2009 and 2015.. Having first played Twenty20 cricket in 2003, Hampshire won the Friends Provident t20 in 2010.
When the County Championship was restructured in 2000 into two leagues of 9 teams, we were relegated for the first time in 2002 before bouncing back in 2004 until relegation once more in 2011. We had to wait until 2014 when a glorious spell of bowling by James Tomlinson in Cardiff secured the Division Two title and we returned to League One, narrowly avoiding relegation in 2015 on the final day of the season following an extraordinary run of results and then finishing in the bottom two in 2016, only to be reprieved after Durham were punished with relegation by the ECB for financial mismanagement.
Leading Lights Phil Mead: the club's leading run-scorer with 48,892 runs in 700 matches between 1905 and 1936. Derek Shackleton took 2,669 wickets in 583 first-class matches between 1948 and 1969 Alec Kennedy, whose career lasted from 1907 to 1936, was the first player to score 10,000 runs and take 1,000 wickets for Hampshire. Colin Ingleby-Mackenzie was both Hampshire last amateur captain and first professional captain. Michael Carberry became the first player to score 3,000 T20 runs for the county in 2017.
A Summary of Honours First XI County Champions: 1961, 1973 Division Two League Champions: 2014 Gillette/NatWest/C&G/Friends Provident Trophy/CB40: 1991, 2005, 2009, 2012 T20 Champions: 2010, 2012 T20 Finals Day: 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 Sunday League: 1975, 1978, 1986 Benson & Hedges Cup: 1988, 1992
Second XI Second XI Championship: 1967, 1971, 1981, 1995, 2001 Second XI Trophy: 2003, 2008
Southern Vipers T20 League Winners: 2016 T20 Finals Day Winners: 2016
Hampshire Cricket – A Detailed History A Latin poem by Robert Matthew in 1647 contains a probable reference to cricket being played by pupils of Winchester College on nearby St. Catherine’s Hill. If authentic, this is the earliest known mention of cricket in Hampshire. But, with the sport having originated in Saxon or Norman times on the Weald, it must have reached Hampshire long before 1647. In 1680, lines written in an old Bible invite "All you that do delight in Cricket, come to Marden, pitch your wickets". Marden is in Sussex, north of Chichester, and interestingly close to Hambledon, which is just across the county boundary in Hampshire. Hampshire is used in a team name for the first time in August 1729, when a combined Hampshire, Surrey and Sussex XI played against Kent.
The origin of the legendary Hambledon Club is lost. There remains no definite knowledge of Hambledon cricket before 1756, when its team had gained sufficient repute to be capable of attempting three matches against Dartford. Hambledon earned recognition as the best parish team in Hampshire, but no reports of their local matches have been found. We do not know when the Hambledon Club was founded and it seems likely that some kind of parish organisation was operating in 1756, although there may well have been a patron involved.
The Sussex v Hampshire match in June 1766 is the earliest reference to a Hampshire county team, although it was nearly 100 years until Hampshire’s official birth. It is however likely that this match did involve the Hambledon Club with historians believing that it was at about this time that the club, as distinct from a parish organisation, was founded.
The Hambledon Club was a multi-functional club and not dedicated to cricket alone. Its membership attracted large numbers of sporting gentry and it dominated the sport, both on and off the field, for about thirty years until the formation of Marylebone Cricket Club in 1787.
Following the demise of the Hambledon Club towards the end of the 18th century, although there was some cricket activity within the county between 1828 and 1863 (including one match versus MCC in 1861), it was not until 1864 that we began to see anything like a resemblance to that which we know today,
Hampshire County Cricket Club was founded on 12 August 1863 and played its first match against Sussex at the Antelope Ground, Southampton on 7 and 8 July 1864. Sussex won by 10 wickets with James Lillywhite claiming ten wickets in the match for 80 runs, including his 100th career wicket. Between 1864 and 1885, Hampshire were recognised as a first-class team, but in 1886 lost that status following years of difficult circumstances and poor results and although a team did play against Surrey and Sussex in 1886, the matches were considered to be of minor standard.
In 1895, we recovered our first-class status and were invited to join the now official County Championship, finishing that season in tenth place, sixteen points behind winners Surrey.
Between 1900 and 1905, Hampshire’s woes continued as key players, Major Poore and Captain Wynyard were faced with either moving to South Africa or increased military duties at home, finishing last or equal last in 1900, 1902, 1903, 1904 and 1905, but from 1906 and with the qualification of Phil Mead, Jack Newman and later George Brown, Hampshire became a much more competitive side, though not until 1910 did they win as many games as they lost in a season.
During 1912 and 1926, though we never got near County Championship honours, this was to be the most successful period winning 98 and losing 96 of 292 games (only once otherwise until 1954 did we win more games than we lost).
Mead, Brown, Kennedy and Newman were in their prime during this period, and they had the services of Lord Tennyson who captained the side from 1919–1932 as well as captaining the England team in three Tests, and the occasional aid of many other amateurs including the great C. B. Fry, who averaged an amazing 102 in seven games during 1912.
In 1922, Hampshire won one of the most remarkable victories in County Championship history when, they defeated Warwickshire by 155 runs after having followed on when dismissed for just 15. They scored 521 after being invited to bat again, set Warwickshire 314 to win and bowled them out for 158. Brown, with 172, and Livsey who scored 110* at number 10, were the heroes.
From 1927, Hampshire declined severely as their stalwart professionals declined and the level of amateur support fell off alarmingly. Up until 1955, we only finished above 10th on 2 occasions, 1932 and 1948.
With Stuart Boyes and Lofty Herman not fully adequate replacements as bowling mainstays for Kennedy and Newman, the bowling was never strong, and the batting generally uncertain especially with Mead not playing from 1929 onwards.
After World War II, Derek Shackleton became the county’s outstanding bowling mainstay well backed up by Vic Cannings, but not until 1955 did these two have enough support to see an upturn in the fortunes of the club when we finished third with Shackleton taking 160 wickets, Cannings and Peter Sainsbury close to 100 each and backed up with the bat by Roy Marshall, one of the most exciting batsmen of the time.
The following years were mixed: a rise to second in 1958 with Malcolm Heath replacing Cannings as Shackleton’s partner was followed by two disappointing years before winning the 1961 County Championship, our first ever County Championship, finishing the season with 268 points, 18 ahead of Yorkshire, winning 19 of our 32 matches and losing only seven matches all season.
The club were led by Colin Ingleby-Mackenzie with Marshall scoring the most runs for the club with 2,455. Derek Shackleton took the most wickets for the club with 153, and Butch White’s tearaway speed was equally dangerous in a dry summer. Lean years once again followed until in 1968, Barry Richards joined the county as we became firmly established as a power in limited-overs cricket. Bob Cottam was the second-highest first-class wicket-taker in 1968 and the highest in 1969, before joining Northamptonshire.
In 1973, we won the County Championship for a second time, winning the competition by 31 points from Surrey, winning 10 of their 20 matches and drawing the other 10. During this season they were led by Richard Gilliat with Gordon Greenidge scoring the most runs (1,620) whilst Bob Herman and Mike Taylor both took 63 wickets. To date, this remains our last success in Division One.
In 1979 West Indian Malcolm Marshall, widely regarded as one of the best bowlers to ever grace the game joined us, the start of a 14-year stay, but an even longer association and affinity with the club, even many years after his premature passing in 1999 at the age of just 41.
During his county career, Malcolm would go on to take 824 first-class wickets at an average of just 18.64 together with a further 239 wickets at 24.88 in one-day cricket.
Hampshire’s West Indian connections continued in 1984 with the arrival of Cardigan Connor. Cardigan was regarded as one of the best players not to play Test cricket and in his 14 years took 614 first-class wickets for Hampshire at an average of 31.74 and 411 wickets at 25.07 in one-day cricket.
In 1985 Hampshire finished second in the County Championship, finishing 18 points behind winners Middlesex. Chris Smith led the way with the bat, scoring 1,720 runs. and was well backed up by the bowling of Malcolm who took 95 wickets at the impressive average of 17.68.
The 1990s brought about further success in the first half of the decade but struggles in the latter half. In 1991, we won the NatWest Trophy, defeating Surrey by 4 wickets, with Shaun Udal claiming the man of the match award followed by 1992 success in the B&H Cup, beating Kent by 41 runs, a match which included a scintillating 90 from Robin Smith and three wickets each from Malcolm and Shaun Udal.
The end of the 90’s saw the focus very much on a move from Northlands Road. Although steeped in history, it was not financially viable for us to remain there and so in 1997 work begun on a move to West End (see the section on the Rose Bowl for more details).
In 2000 Australian great Shane Warne was signed as the club's overseas player and a year later Rod Bransgrove stepped in to save the club financially, bringing a new management model and a bold vision for the future.
Relegation followed in 2002 saw us back to Division Two having finished third bottom in Division One, despite the signing of former England batsman John Crawley from Lancashire. A year later, the great Robin Smith retired from all forms of cricket after 23 years with the club whilst 2005 saw strong performances in both first-class and one-day forms of the game as we narrowly missed out on winning the County Championship Division 1 by just 2.5 points to Nottinghamshire but won the C&G Trophy against Warwickshire with Sean Ervine securing legendary club status as he followed up his semi-final century against Yorkshire with 104 at Lords as we won by 18 runs to bring home our first silverware in 13 years.
Prior to the start of the 2008 season, Shane Warne announced his retirement from first-class cricket, and with former captain, Shaun Udal also announcing the end of his playing career Dimitri Mascheranas was named Warne's replacement as captain. It was to be a troubled start to the season as we struggled near the foot of the Division 1 table for the majority of the season with coach Paul Terry standing down to be replaced by Giles White. What ensued was a series of strong performances and we went from relegation favourites to title outsiders going into the final round of matches, eventually finishing 3rd, twelve points behind winners Durham.
More Lords success came in 2009 as we won the Friend’s Provident final beating neighbours Sussex thanks to a man-of-the-match performance from Dominic Cork as his deadly swing bowling gave him figures of 4 – 41. A year later, we created history by winning the 2010 Friends Provident T20 in front of our own fans as we beat Somerset in the final, a game remembered for groundsman Nigel Gray rushing on to the wicket to repaint the lines as the game reached a very dramatic climax.
Although relegated in 2011, the 2012 season under new captain Jimmy Adams would prove to be highly successful as Jimmy lifted both the Friends Life T20 in Cardiff and the CB40 at Lords where a final ball dot ball from Kabir Ali led to Hampshire winning as a result of losing less wickets than opponents Warwickshire.
Despite constant success in limited overs cricket we continued to struggle in First class cricket leading to coach Giles White moving into a Director of Cricket position and Dale Benkenstein being appointed the new coach at the beginning of 2014. Benks had great Championship pedigree, lifting the trophy as captain of Durham and he brought instant success as we won not only promotion back to the County Championship First Division but the victory over Glamorgan at Cardiff also brought the Second Division title.
The 2015 season was reasonable successful with Hampshire qualifying for a record 6th successive Twenty20 Finals Day, but First class performances at the beginning of the season were poor leading to Jimmy’s resignation as captain who was succeeded by James Vince. Vincey already had captaincy experience leading the county in List A and T20 matches and he led a remarkable revival that saw us win four of their last five games as we completed the 'Great Escape' to preserve our top division status. Victory over Nottinghamshire in their final games thanks to 10 wickets from West IndianFidel Edwards, and Yorkshire's victory over Sussex meant that Sussex and Worcestershire were relegated to Division Two with Hampshire staying up.
In January 2016, Hampshire Cricket was announced as one of six new teams in the inaugural Women's Cricket Super League. Hampshire, in partnership with Berkshire, Dorset, Isle of Wight, Oxfordshire, Sussex and Wiltshire cricket boards along with Southampton Solent University, came together as the “Southern Vipers” and were led by England’s legendary captain, Charlotte Edwards. Finishing the regular season top of the league, the ladies won the T20 Super League final defeating Western Force in the final by 7 wickets with New Zealand’s Suzie Bates named player of the tournament.
The women very much overshadowed the men where it was a season of disappointment. A large number of injuries, poor form and tough circumstances – all of which were well documented - saw us suffer a poor season, being knocked out in the group stages of both the Natwest t20 Blast (missing out on Finals Day for the first time since 2009), and the Royal London One-Day Cup. The championship season was much the same as in 2015, with another slow start that left too much to do at the back end of the season, and we were relegated back to Division Two after defeat against Durham on 23 September 2016, to be reprieved as Durham were themselves relegated after taking up a financial rescue package from the ECB.
The season also saw Dale Benkenstein head back to South Africa with Craig White taking over and as the final throes of the season played out, so long serving left arm seamer James Tomlinson retired, making the announcement in only the way Tommo could!