Bournemouth will host Isle of Wight champions Newport in the qualifying round of this winter's ECB national indoor sixes club championships, the final of which is at Lord's in March. The tie will be played at the Dorset indoor centre at Hurn on Sunday 19 February, the same day as Hampshire champions Sarisbury Athletic go to Swindon to play the yet to be confirmed Wiltshire county winners.
Coming soon ! Chris Cowdrey and David Gower’s brand new theatre tour ‘The Holy Bail’ is coming to two local venues in March - the Pavilion Theatre in Bournemouth on Sunday 5 and the Anvil at Basingstoke on Friday 17 March 2017. Ticket details from the websites of the two hosting venues.
Hampshire's James Vince is at the forefront of Sydney Thunder's unexpected bid for a place in Australia's KFC Big Bash League finals.
The Thunder won the T20 competition last winter, but were virtually out for the count after suffering four successive defeats in the defence of their title.
But since Vince arrived in Australia, the Thunder have suddenly hit their straps.
He looked on as England One-Day captain Eoin Morgan hit a straight six off the last ball to enable the Thunder to pull off a miraculous victory over Kevin Pietersen's Melbourne Stars and give their title defence a late start.
But since Morgan departed to join England's ODI squad in India, Vince has come to the Big Bash party in some style.
He smacked a quick-fire 44 off 28 balls (one six and six fours) as Thunder beat George Bailey's Hobart Hurricanes (161-8) by six wickets in Tasmania.
And then fired 28 off 18 deliveries as the Thunder crushed arch rivals Sydney Sixes by eight wickets in front of a record sell-out 39,756 crowd at the SCG.
Sixes managed only 99-9 off 20 overs - a record low score Thunder rattled off in ten overs to move to within one win of snatching an unexpected place in the semi-finals.
If they make it four wins in a row against the Adelaide Strikers at an already sold out Olympic Stadium on Wednesday, the Thunder could sneak a place in next week's semi-finals.
Bailey, who begins a two-year contract with Hampshire in April, has also been in good T20 form with back-to-back fifties.
He made 59 in Hurricanes' defeat by Sydney Thunder - a knock he mirrored a few days later at the Etihad Stadium, where Hobart chased down Melbourne Renegades' 222-4 to pull off arguably the most remarkable win in T20 cricket history.
Ben McDermott, son of former Australia quick Craig McDermott, smashed 114 off 52 balls before Stuart Broad clinched an astonishing two-wicket Hurricanes' win off the last ball.
Hobart Hurricanes must win their final match against Adelaide Strikers to stand any chance of breaking into the Finals.
Former Gosport Borough batsman Chris Lynn, who played Southern Premier League cricket for the Privett Park club in 2008, remains the leading run scorer - and six hitter - in the BBL.
His 309 runs for the Brisbane Heat have included 17 sixes.
Lynn's BBL season may, however, have ended following his One Day International call up for Australia against Pakistan. He played in the Aussies' victory at Brisbane, but a neck injury ruled him out of yesterday's ODI defeat by Pakistan at the MCG.
Teenage Hampshire leg spinner Mason Crane has continued his remarkable series of performances in the New South Wales Premiership with a career-best bowling spell for his adopted club, Gordon at the Allan Border Oval.
After the tenth round of 15 fixtures, Crane had become the second highest wicket taker in the powerful Sydney First Grade competition, with 31 scalps (and 47 in all cricket) on the back of a superb 7-93 return against Mosman, who were dismissed for 226 – a total Gordon breeze past, with Crane starring yet again with the bat.
Coming in at eight, he rattled off 52 (one six and six fours) - his third successive half-century and a fifth overall for Gordon, who reached 343 but were foiled in their bid for an outright victory in the two-day match when Mosman batted out at 194-3, Crane picking up one more wicket.
The former Lancing College teenager aims to take his wicket tally to 50 when Gordon host North Sydney in their nest two-day game at Chatsworth Park on Saturday.
Hampshire's Winchester-based batting starlet Joe Weatherley celebrated his maiden double-century playing for his adopted Australian club Woodville in the South Australia Premiership pennant in Adelaide.
The 19-year old, pictured being congratulated by opener partner Conor McInerney (94), was playing his second Grade match for Woodville, with whom he spent last winter.
Weatherley, who plays ECB Premier Division cricket locally for St Cross Symondians, cracked three sixes and 23 boundaries in a magnificent 220 as Woodville piled up a huge 419-2 before Prospect reached 52-1 by stumps.
"It transpired I helped create a Woodville club record opening partnership of 203 (it was previously 187), but fell one run short of their all-time individual score of 221 set years ago.
"Nonetheless, it was a wonderful day - one I'm unlikely to forget for a while," he smiled.
Weatherley's previous best score was an unbeaten 180 for Hampshire seconds against Nottinghamshire last summer.
"We had to declare in a three-day game so was robbed of a double hundred," he smiled.
Hampshire team-mate Brad Taylor is also playing for Woodville, but will have to wait until this Saturday before getting a chance to bowl.
Bournemouth have agreed a partnership agreement with Bournemouth University that will mean the whole student cricket squad will become members at Chapel Gate.
Bournemouth will now enable the University's training provision with joint club/university training sessions having commencing on January 9 2017.
The University’s ECB level 4 head coach, Steve Wilson, is now part of the Bournemouth cricket set up, which the British Gas Southern Premier League Division 1 club regards a tremendous asset.
“Bournemouth University play in the second tier of BUCS competitions and are a strong side and it is hoped this development will enable them to progress further,” said a club spokesman.
All University matches will now be played at Chapel Gate, with university cricketers eligible for selection for Bournemouth league sides.
Bournemouth have lined up a South Australian Grade cricketer as their 2017 overseas player and plan to make an announcement within the next two weeks.
Basingstoke & North Hants have appointed former Hampshire and Kent medium-pace bowler David Griffiths as club coach at May’s Bounty.
Isle of Wight raised Griffiths spent an injury ravaged 12 years on the county circuit, having been capped by England at Under-19 level. He managed to make only 100 appearances in all formats and, having been released by Hampshire in 2013 spent the next three seasons with Kent.
Griffiths, who spent his formative years with Shanklin, is now an ECB Level 3 coach.
He said: “I've been eager to get into coaching and I see a huge opportunity for both the club and myself.
“I want to help turn talented young cricketers into potential Premier league and first class cricketers and this fits with Basingstoke's aim to reach Southern Premier Division status."
Basingstoke & North Hants chairman Andy Giles reflected: “We've been looking for a coaching solution for a few years and we're thrilled to have David on board.
“He brings the wealth of experience of a top quality cricketer, and we want to pull on that to help develop our younger players into quality club cricketers and beyond.
“David will have responsibility for 1st team squad training, but also a role to help nurture those who are leaving the youth system.
“We're very excited about David's arrival and it's a great opportunity for all."
James Vince launched his Australian KFC Big Bash League stint in blistering style with a quick-fire 44 which pointed Sydney Thunder to a crucial six-wicket win over Hobart Hurricanes in Tasmania.
The Hampshire captain opened the batting for the Thunder, who were asked to chase down the Hurricanes' 161-8 off 20 overs, writes Mike Vimpany
Vince smashed the first ball he received from left-arm spinner Clive Rose through the covers and went on to breach the boundary rope five more times, in addition to launching Dan Christian for a sumptuous straight six into a near capacity 18,000 crowd.
His 44 came off 27 balls - his innings ending when he was caught on the deep mid-wicket boundary.
Defending BBL champions Sydney Thunder eventually got home by six wickets with 19 balls to spare - one-time Hampshire all-rounder Shane Watson cracking a rapid 55 not out.
"James hit the ball beautifully," praised Watson. "He times the ball so sweetly and will be a great addition to our squad. We have to win our last two matches to stand any chance of qualifying for the semi-finals."
Dropped from Australia's 1-day squad for the upcoming five-match ODI Series against Pakistan, Hampshire's 2017 overseas signing George Bailey hit an unbeaten 59 for Hobart.
Teenage Hampshire prospect Mason Crane is fast creating an all-rounder niche for himself in New South Wales Premiership cricket.
The 19-year old leg spinner took his Sydney wicket haul to 39 at the weekend - 22 of his victims have come in the First Grade arena - and also hit back-to-back fifties, writes Mike Vimpany.
Crane produced a man-of-the-match performance for his adopted Australian club Gordon against Parrammatta, hitting an innings defining 51 before celebrating his first five-wicket return to lead his side to a 22-run victory.
Then, playing in the NSW Under-21 Shield, Crane hit another half-century, but on this occasion finished a loser against Sydney University, who posted a match winning 270 off 50 overs.
Playing their first match since the festive break, Gordon slumped to 103-6 before Crane arrived at the crease to strike a run-a-ball 51 containing six boundaries.
He was eventually last man out, having led the Gordon recovery to 217 all out.
Rusty after a three-week lay-off, Crane bowled a loose opening five overs, but bounced back to take two wickets in three , writes Mike Vimpanydeliveries and reduce Parrammatta to 91-5, from which they too rallied and looked favourites to win with their reply at 172-5.
But Crane returned to bowl the 'death' overs at the end of the innings and took three more wickets to finish with a pleasing 5-66 - and the MVP award.
Crane is certainly enjoying his first winter abroad and according to club coach Trevor Chappell, the former Australia Test and One Day international cricketer, has "fitted in a treat" at Gordon.
"He's got a bubbly, infectuous enthusiasm and a real determination to succeed," Chappell said.
"Mason gives it everything in training and on the pitch and has already illustrated to us why he's rated so highly in England. I fancy we'll hear a lot more of him."
The 22 wickets he has taken in the First Grade (arguably Australia's top club competition) has put Crane fifth in the overall NSW bowling charts.
But, delighted as he is with his 39-wicket haul in all competitions, Crane revealed he is putting a lot of emphasis on developing his batting.
"It's an area of my game I need to improve on. I wasn't a bad bat in my schoolboy days, scoring eight centuries at various age group levels at Lancing College, but I'm playing professionally now and need to contribute more," he admitted.
"We've got a few batting coaches at Gordon and I've been working hard in the nets with them.
"Before Christmas, I posted a 69 against Manley and made 80 in a record century last wicket partnership off the Sydney University attack.
"Then hit fifties in both this past weekend's games, so it's very pleasing.
"I need to replicate this form when I go back to Hampshire and hopefully push up for a regular place and contribute more to the team."
Crane reckons that his first trip abroad has also helped his overall personal development.
"I've been on relatively short England tours in the past, but coming to Australia under my own steam has really helped me grow up.
"I didn't know anyone when I arrived here in October, but Gordon - where the legendary Victor Trumper played his cricket - is a terrific club and they've really made me feel at home.
"Hopefully, I'm repaying them on the field."
Crane will remain in Sydney until early March before flying home - and then heading off to the UAE to play in the England Lions' North-South matches in Dubai.
"Unfortunately, I'll miss Hampshire's pre-season tour to Barbados, but returning to the Emirates will be another fantastic opportunity for me," he added.
Bashley (Rydal), Bournemouth and South Wilts will host Minor Counties cricket this summer, with Dorset twice hosting Oxfordshire on local grounds.
Oxford come to the BCG for a Minor Counties Trophy match on Sunday April 30 and play Dorset in a three-day Championship match at Bournemouth's Chapel Gate ground on July 16/18, the same weekend as South Wilts host Wiltshire's game with Devon. Bemerton will also host an early season 50-over friendly between Wiltshire and Gloucestershire II.
Last ball six-hit hero Eoin Morgan has backed Hampshire skipper James Vince to be a success for Sydney Thunder in Australia's Big Bash T20 League.
Vince will play in Thunder's final three BBL matches, starting against Hobart Hurricanes in Tasmania on Sunday, as a replacement for Morgan, who flies to India to skipper England in the forthcoming ODI Series, writes Mike Vimpany.
“Vincy’s a very classy player, he’s bit more orthodox than me,” Morgan said. “He’s played at Hampshire for a long time and his England experience in the white-ball form has been brilliant.
“The T20 series he played in the UAE against Pakistan he got man of the series.
“We’ve got quite a strong squad of players at the moment so unfortunately he misses out of the tour to India.”
Vince joined a 20,000-plus crowd at Sydney's Olympic Stadium and looked on in astonishment as Morgan carried Thunder to a dramatic BBL season-saving win against Kevin Pietersen's Melbourne Stars in his final appearance of this season's tournament.
Morgan smashed a last ball six in an unbeaten 71 off 50 balls, as Thunder's stuttering title defence finally kicked into gear with their first win in five matches.
Chasing the Melbourne Stars' score of 8-166 - Pietersen hit 60 off 37 balls - Thunder needed 16 from the last over.
Then five off the final delivery from Ben Hilfenhaus, which left-hander Morgan smoked for a straight six.
It may be cold outside, but the Winchester & District Cricket Association has begun preparations for the new summer season.
They are once again planning T20 style midweek evening cricket, with teams playing in coloured kit and with an orange or pink ball.
The Winchester League will have two divisions, playing on Tuesday and Wednesday evenings, alongside the popular Tichborne and Igglesden Trophy knockout competitions.
Clubs wishing to participate are requested to email Martin Peters: firstname.lastname@example.org
Hampshire captain James Vince is expected to make his KFC Big Bash League debut in Hobart on Sunday - against his incoming Australian county team-mate George Bailey !
Vince has arrived in Australia as a replacement for Sydney Thunder batsman Eoin Morgan, who heads to India shortly to captain England in the upcoming one-day series, writes Mike Vimpany.
He will watch Thunder's BBL match against Kevin Pietersen's Melbourne Stars at the Olympic Stadium tonight - and then head across to Tasmania for Sunday's T20 showdown.
Vince will play the final three fixtures of what has proved a tricky campaign for the 2016 BBL champions, who have lost all four games so far.
The 25-year old confessed to be a long time admirer of the KFC Big Bash League.
"I’ve watched the tournament back home over the past two or three years," said Vince who has played 7 Tests, 5 ODI’s and 5 T20I’s for England.
"The tournament has grown each year and it’s right up there behind the IPL as one of the best competitions in the world."
"I spoke with Eoin about the possibility of playing out here when we were at the World T20 earlier last year and luckily I’ve gotten the opportunity."
Despite a challenging start for Sydney Thunder in the KFC Big Bash League so far, Vince is determined to make a positive impact on the side.
"It’s not been an ideal start," Vince said.
"I’m just going to try and contribute to winning a few games. I’ve enjoyed my experiences of playing here in the past, I think the pitches in Australia really suit by style."
Vince was dropped by England after managing just 53 runs in three ODI innings in Bangladesh in October, while he failed to reach 50 in seven Tests against Sri Lanka and Pakistan during the English summer.
But he has a fine record as a top order batsman in T20, however, with almost 3,000 runs at a strike rate of 128.44, and 20 scores of more than 50.
Rowledge will have 22-year old Australian left-hand batsman Tom Treble as their overseas player for this summer's British Gas Southern Premier League Division One campaign. Treble plays for Geelong in the demanding arena of Victorian Premiership cricket and began the Melbourne season in good form, with back-to-back scores of 49 (Greenvale Kangaroos) and 61 (Prahan). Alongside the New South Wales Premiership, the Victoria Grade competition is arguably the strongest in Australia.
Tributes have been made to all-round Gosport sports legend Jim Stares, a stalwart of the town's cricket and football, who has died, aged 84.
He played for the Borough with distinction at both sports, a left wing-half in 1950s and Sixties soccer and an outstanding cricket all-rounder, hugely respected as an in-swing bowler. He later developed a passion for golf.
A gasman by trade, Jim played Hampshire League soccer for Fareham Town in the 1950s before switching to Gosport Borough, where he later assisted Charlie Howard in managerial affairs.
But cricket was undoubtedly his first love - he lived and breathed the game, playing at every opportunity, initially for Gosport Amateurs then, after an amalgamation of clubs, Gosport Borough, whom he skippered for many years.
Long standing team-mate Peter Edgar recalled: "Jim was a forceful, attacking bat and one of the best in-swing medium-pace bowlers I have seen in local cricket.
"He was also an outstanding fielder at cover-point, possessing a devastatingly accurate and powerful throw, which bagged many unsuspecting run out victims in his early days."
Bowling economically off only a few paces, more often than not with the new ball, the competitive and coke drinking Stares took 243 wickets for Gosport after the formation of the old Southern League in 1969.
His wicket tally would be multiplied five-fold in all the cricket he played in a career spanning four decades.
The highlight of Stares' career came in 1980 when he played a significant part in Gosport Borough reaching the final of the John Haig Trophy, the national club cricket championship, at Lord's, beating powerful sides like Wimbledon and Neil Foster's Colchester & East Essex on the way.
Gosport were comfortably beaten by top Birmingham Premier League club Moseley on the day, but Stares collected a post-match performance award for his miserly nine-over bowling spell on the day.
Speaking from his home in Western Australia, former team-mate Peter Farley remembered: “Jim played an immeasurable part in the success of Gosport Borough cricket over many years.
“Who could forget his amazing contribution in the John Haig National Club K.O. final at Lords – eight overs 0–9 and 29 runs late in our innings, including our only six which sailed into the Tavern Stand.”
* Funeral service: Portchester Crematorium, Friday January 20 2017 at 10.30am.
Former Hampshire cricket captain Mark Nicholas is undergoing tests in a Melbourne hospital after twice being taken ill during Australia's Boxing Day Test against Pakistan at the MCG.
The 59-year old anchorman and Channel 9 commentator was initially rushed to hospital after collapsing with stomach pains during the first day's play, writes Mike Vimpany in Australia.
Paramedics had helped him from the broadcaster's facilities, reportedly sweating profusely and in pain on a stretcher.
He was discharged on Monday night but forced to rest at his hotel on Tuesday. He opted to return to work on Wednesday, having felt in good enough health to return to the commentary box.
He worked through the opening two sessions of play of the second Test before feeling unwell again, not long after interviewing Pakistan fast bowling great Wasim Akram during the tea break on day three.
He required wheelchair assistance and was taken by ambulance from the MCG.
"Mark is taking leave to resolve his health issues," a Nine spokesperson said.
"He wants to thank everyone again for their kind wishes and continued support."
An attacking middle-order batsman and occasional medium-pacer, Nicholas led Hampshire for more than a decade, including to four one-day titles - the NatWest Trophy in 1991, the B&H Cup in 1988 and 1992, and the Sunday League in 1986.
Promising Longparish and Hampshire junior age group cricketer Billy Mead has underlined his all-round sporting talents - by becoming a national schools rackets champion.
The 17-year old Marlborough College student won the prestigious Renny Cup at the National Schools Rackets Championships at Queens.
He dug deep showing real character and determination to pull back from two sets down to win the title.
Seeded fifth in the week-long tournament, Mead lost the opening game in his first round match, but then didn’t drop another as he swept into the final beating a succession of opponents from Cheltenham, Tonbridge, Eton, Harrow and Rugby.
He went into the final against the second seed from Wellington College in great form and with high hopes.
But all did not go according to plan.
“I struggled to find a good length and hit too many balls back into the centre of the court for my opponent to kill with ease,” he explained.
“Very quickly the first game went 9/15 and then the second I lost 10/15. I really had to dig deep and do it the hard way.”
Mead, who took up rackets four years ago when he went to Marlborough, promptly won the next two games 15/7 and 15-9 to take the final to a fifth leg.
Mead went 6/1 up, checked his opponent’s comeback to lead 12/6 and,after numerous twists and turns in a nail biting final, he eventually secured the crucial Renny Cup winning point from 14/10 up.
Marlborough professional Rob Wakely, who won the Renny Cup himself 40 years ago, said: “It was a fantastic effort of will for Billy to pull himself back from two games down in a best of five match and he richly deserves his victory at the end of his college singles career.”
Mead, who lives next door to distinguished former Times cricket correspondent John Woodcock in Longparish, will swap his racket for his cricket bat when he returns to Marlborough for the Lent term.
The Hampshire Under-17 cricketer has been appointed Marlborough captain next summer and will lead the college team in a February half-term tour to Barbados.
* Billy Mead is pictured with the Renny Cup alongside Marlborough rackets professional Rob Wakely.
Havant open the new-style ‘white ball’ 50-over format – and their defence of the ECB Southern Premier League championship - with a home match against Alton at Havant Park on Saturday May 6 2017.
Arguably the stand out opening day fixture is between Burridge and Bashley (Rydal) – runners-up and third in the log this summer – while former champions South Wilts begin with Lymington’s visit to Bemerton. Newly promoted Andover host St Cross Symondians.
Premier Division clubs will wear coloured kit and use power-plays for the first time in 50-over cricket next summer. Four rounds of 50-over matches will be played before the traditional all-day ‘time pennant’ games come into play on June 3, with a nine-week series of 11 o’clock starts. The PD reverts to 50-over cricket for the last five weeks, finishing on September 2.
Bashley (Rydal) host South Wilts in an eye-catching ‘time’ starter. Havant play Andover.
The remainder of the four-division Premier League will be 50-over cricket, played in traditional white kit, with relegated Ventnor going to Basingstoke & North Hants, Bournemouth hosting Rowledge and newly promoted Calmore Sports entertaining Hook & Newnham Basics at Loperwood Park
OTs & Romsey and Trojans, who enjoy the longest rivalry in the entire SPL, go head-to-head in a Division 2 opener on May 6, while Langley Manor face Totton & Eling in an intriguing derby.
Fawley have fingers firmly crossed that the future of their Holbury ground – the Waterside Club has recently closed due to financial problems – will have been resolved long before Purbrook’s scheduled visit there.
For the Hampshire League fixtures, see www.hantscl.com/2016/12/23/2017-fixtures
Basingstoke & North Hants have announced exciting plans for a £1.5m pavilion and clubhouse redevelopment at their idyllic tree-lined May’s Bounty ground, where cricket is believed to have been played for well over 150 years.
The project, which is very much at embryo stage, envisages the demolition of the existing pavilion – which the club believes is no longer fit for use – and its replacement (on the same corner site) with a brand new and enlarged two-storey building, as illustrated on the above artists impression.
It is hoped that, once it is open and fully operational, the new modern facility will attract Hampshire to play county championship cricket at May’s Bounty for the first time since Durham’s visit in 2010.
Since then, only Second XI Championship and junior county age group cricket has been played on the ground.
Basingstoke themselves field five Saturday league teams, a Sunday XI, colts teams and host the annual and long established midweek evening Guy Jewell knockout competitions.
Rugby and soccer is played on the adjoining Castle Field during the winter months.
Basingstoke Sports & Social (BSSC) club chairman Steve Rayner explained: “The existing clubhouse and changing facilities at May’s Bounty are fast becoming inadequate for the purpose of weekend sports and evening events.
“The building – the roof in particular - is in need of constant maintenance and is becoming expensive to maintain.
“The purpose of the redevelopment is to provide a new building that offers the flexibility and accommodation for multi-sports and events so that the club maybe used year-round and accessible to all who wish to use it, particularly the disabled.”
The May’s Bounty proposal includes four ground-floor unisex changing facilities for cricket, football and rugby, two unisex dressing rooms for indoor sports, such as squash, alongside a physiotherapists and first aid room and two lots of changing rooms for referees and umpires.
The upper deck of the pavilion will have a spacious balcony looking out across the main cricket ground, an enlarged social function room and licensed bar and refreshment areas.
Basingstoke’s emerging proposals have already received a positive feedback following a recent public exhibition.
“The proposed plans were well received by the members, residents and sporting bodies, with over 150 people attending the exhibition at the club over the two days.
“So far there have been no negative responses,” smiled Mr Rayner, who is hopeful an application for planning consent will be made in early 2017.
So, how does the Basingstoke Sports & Social Club plan to raise £1.5m to fund the project ?
Rayner explained that he had been in constant communication with Sport England, the England & Wales Cricket Road, the HCB, Hampshire Cricket, the RFU, England Squash and Racketball and the Basingstoke & Deane District Council and, more recently, with the Football Association regarding the May’s Bounty redevelopment and funding.
“The cost of the project will be around £1.5m. The club has 10 per cent to put down and, if required, can raise a further £200k.
“The remainder of the money will need to come from grants, donations, business etc.
“We have just received our Community Amateur Sports Club status, which I understand gives us other opportunities for funding.”
Basingstoke are hoping that, provided planning permission is obtained and all the funding is in place, they will be in a position to start the May’s Bounty pavilion and clubhouse redevelopment in March/April 2018.
South Wilts will host an early season friendly between Wiltshire's Minor Counties side and Gloucestershire 2nd XI at Bemerton on Saturday April 8 2017. Devon will be the Minor Counties Championship visitors to Wilton Road for a three-day match commencing July 16.
Chris Park is set to have a busy 2017 summer season ! Besides captaining Dorset's Minor Counties Championship side, he will also skipper Bournemouth in the British Gas Southern League, where he remains as Director of Cricket.
Park returned to the Chapel Gate scene this summer, having spent ten years with Northamptonshire Saints. He scored 413 runs for the fourth-placed Lions and won the SPL1 wicketkeeping award with his 26 dismissals.
Bournemouth, who will announce their 2017 overseas signing next month, have snapped up Brentwood School and Essex Academy opening bowler Stephen Heywood, who is studying at the town's arts university. Spin pair Dom Clutterbuck (Oxford) and Jem Warner (Durham) are in their respective MCCU squads for 2017.
Masses of cricket equipment, donated by seven recreational cricket clubs in the Winchester area, has been shipped to the East Africa Cricket Foundation (EACF) programme, based in Nairobi, Kenya.
Jim Ley, Sparsholt’s Youth Chairman, coordinated the collection after clearing out his own club’s shed at the Norman Edwards Ground.
The other clubs in the Winchester Warriors district to donate kit were Compton & Chandler’s Ford, Easton and Martyr Worthy, Hedge End, IBM Hursley, Otterbourne, and Twyford.
David Waters MBE, Project Director of EAC Foundation, and a lifelong Sparsholt member, (pictured right with Jim Ley) was delighted and incredibly appreciative of the amount of equipment collected.
He said: ‘We are working with over 6,000 boys and girls from extremely deprived backgrounds and in slum schools in Nairobi and beyond. This equipment will make a massive difference to those children and young people in Kenya and we really appreciate all the Winchester Clubs’ efforts’.
Sparsholt are well known for their charitable work, having donated CALA HOMES sponsored team shirts to the Rwanda Women’s Cricket Team ‘White Clouds’ and annual fundraising activities including a 2016 Bike Ride in aid of the Hampshire Air Ambulance.
The experiment giving umpires the power to send off abusive players was monitored in three ECB premier leagues during 2016, and the result proved so impressive that change in the Laws seem inevitable.
The leagues of Hertfordshire, Home Counties and Bradford - alongside the MCC-sponsored universities and a few schools - agreed to arm their umpires with the power to caution and in extreme cases to send off abusive players, and all three leagues noted that on-field behaviour improved markedly, writes Charles Randall.
Mark Williams, a member of the MCC Laws panel, said each league reported they were strongly in favour of continuing the system and regarded removing the ‘card’ sanction as a “step backwards”.
No level three or four transgressions such as violent behaviour, which would trigger a sending-off, were recorded during the summer. Williams said: “The key was that the players, umpires and captains were aware. There was banter about sending-off and so on, but nobody crossed the line.
“One umpire told me about one player in the Bradford League who never used to shut up during a game, but he didn’t say a single word all afternoon. This is an example of players realising there could be consequences for what they do.”
The important point has been made many times that cricket remains the only sport where serious misdemeanor cannot be dealt with on the field. Even though sanctions can be imposed afterwards - perhaps suspension by the player’s club - violence cannot be punished immediately. For example, a bowler could spit at the umpire and simply continue with his over. Sadly that actually happened.
A brutal, embarrassing exposure of a cricket umpire’s vulnerability was broadcast by Radio 5 Live in November. The mainstream Sunday programme 5 Live Investigates, hosted by Adrian Goldberg, used recent research by Portsmouth University, based on a survey among 763 umpires. About half of the umpires said they had been verbally abused at least twice a season, and no fewer than 21 respondents disclosed they had been physically attacked, a shocking number.
Diminishing enjoyment and abuse were cited as the two main reasons - no doubt connected in many cases - why umpires decide to stop. Nick Cousins, head of the England and Wales Cricket Board Association of Cricket Officials, said: "The game cannot afford to lose these people. If we are being told that large numbers of them are considering giving up the game because of increasing amounts of player abuse, then the one thing we can't do is nothing.”
The Portsmouth research by two professors, Dr Tom Webb and Dr Mike Rayner, looked at cricket after conducting studies into football and rugby, and their findings even attracted the attention of the Daily Telegraph, not usually noted for bothering with recreational cricket. Dr Webb was quoted as saying: “The results were something we would not have expected of cricket. To see such high numbers being verbally abused was surprising and, although the physical abuse was around three per cent, that still surprised me, as I didn’t expect there to be any at all. It is worrying."
Dr Webb, a senior lecturer in sports management, added: "Participation in sport generally is not that great, and it will only get lower if you are forcing these volunteer officials out. The sense was that umpires do need some form of disciplinary recourse during the game, as they do in other sports, or it will get worse.”
The MCC issued a “training document” for umpires and players early in 2016 before the trial that gave umpires penalty-run and sending-off power to deal with bad behaviour. Changes to the Laws could be considered in October 2017 after last summer’s experiment and “positive” trials in New Zealand.
To assess the effects in the 2016 trial the MCC panel wanted different penalties to be applied in different environments. The ECB’s Code of Conduct Levels of 1 to 4 was used as a guide to what behaviour constituted what level of breach, with some minor alterations. Cricketing offences such as the time wasting by the batting or fielding side (Level 1) were removed so that the offences were entirely focused on player behaviour.
St Cross Symondians’ colts captain Alex Ayres is the inaugural winner of the Peter Lewin Memorial Bowl, a trophy which is to be presented annually to Hampshire’s Under-15 Cricketer of the Year.
He is pictured receiving the award from Ann Lewin, who bequeathed the Bowl to Hampshire Cricket in memory of her late brother Peter Lewin, who managed county junior age group sides for over 30 years from the Sixties onwards.
Alex has been a regular member of Hampshire junior age group squads for a number of years
“This summer, he batted consistently throughout the season scoring 189 runs in seven county innings and kept wicket in an extremely tidy fashion taking 14 catches and two stumpings,” explained Hampshire U15 manager Mike Edwards..
“Alex is a diligent, hard-working young cricketer and shows a real desire to continually develop and improve: he goes about his work with minimum fuss and maximum efficiency.”
Ayres played Hampshire League cricket for Amport this summer, scoring 62 in one County Division 2 match against Hungerford.
He captained St Cross Symondians’ colts to this summer's Hampshire Under-15 Justice Cup triumph over Hook & Newnham Basics and then on to further success in the ECB Under-15 National Club Finals, in which the Winchester club were national finalists.
New Ventnor cricket skipper Rob Snell has heaped praise on teenage medium-pace bowler George Willis, pictured, who was named Manager’s and Captain’s Player of the Year at the club’s glittering awards ceremony at Steephill.
Snell, who replaces Mark Holmes as first team captain, said: “George has taken massive strides in his development from 12 months ago, from a fringe second teamer in 2015 to someone who worked his way up to become 1st XI opening bowler in Southern Premier League cricket by the end of the season just gone.
“He was unquestionably our best outfielder and probably saved us at least ten runs a game by throwing himself around the field.
“He took the best boundary catch I have ever seen against Burridge.
“In addition to that, he’s a top Clubman: he will do anything asked of him and hopefully he will kick on again next summer.”
Snell himself was named Players Player of the Year, having topped the Ventnor batting charts with 464 runs, which included a heroic 93 in the final match of the season in which the relegated Islanders triumphed by three wickets to win for the only time.
Teenage duo Ben Attrill and Harry Ridley won the 2nd XI awards, with Sam McQueen and Findlay Robertson third team prize winners. Spin all-rounder Dan Cox was named Young Player of the Year, with Martin Blackman picking up the Sunday team prize. Steve Snell, Somerset's Cricket Academy Director who spent his formative years at Steephill, presented the awards
George Willis is pictured in action by Roy Honeybone