5 June – South Africa v India (d)
10 June – South Africa v Windies (d)
14 June – England v Windies (d)
22 June – India v Afghanistan (d)
24 June – Bangladesh v Afghanistan (d)
Hampshire will stage five day matches in the 2019 Cricket World Cup at the Ageas Bowl, as follows -
5 June – South Africa v India (d)
10 June – South Africa v Windies (d)
14 June – England v Windies (d)
22 June – India v Afghanistan (d)
24 June – Bangladesh v Afghanistan (d)
The cricket outfield at the Trojans Club has been mown at long last : this is the Stoneham scene nine days before Sparsholt's scheduled visit for a Southern Premier League Division 2 match.
Southampton Solent University had their second BUCS Championship match against Leeds & Bradford MCCU washed out midway through the first innings - but they're weren't overly disappointed as it left more time for study in preparation for upcoming exams !
Solent had made 134-4 after 30 overs when the match was called off, Lymington's Ryan Scott unbeaten on 39 after skipper Matt Stokes (37) and Richard Locke (30) had been dismissed.
Beaten by 20 runs by Durham MCCU in their opening match, Solent host Loughborough MCCU at Totton & Eling's Southern Gardens on Tuesday, 1100.
Serious Cricket are delighted to announce that they are the new sponsors of the Winchester & District Cricket Clubs Association Midweek T20 League.
The competition which comprises of 3 leagues & 2 cups involving 19 clubs begins this week, with the fixtures running through to the first week of August.
Clubs are encouraged to play in coloured clothing, the use of pink balls is mandatory & the main focus is on all players being involved in an exciting & fast moving format.
Neil Rider, Managing Director of Serious Cricket, said "We are delighted to be associated with the WDCCA league and look forward to being a partner for years to come. Our commitment to supporting grass roots cricket continues and we are pleased that we can be a part of an exciting format for local clubs."
In late April 2014 when he was diagnosed with cancer, probably the last thing on Kevin Poulter’s mind was sending down another miserly and accurate spell of left-arm bowling.
But driven on by his selection by the England Over-50s for an International tournament in Sri Lanka, he underwent months of excruciating Radiotherapy and Chemotherapy treatment, finally getting the all clear to make the March 2016 trip and represent his country.
With immense courage and amazing willpower, he wheeled away for another two summers for his beloved Hook & Newnham Basics and the Hampshire Seniors’ representative team.
What turned out to be his farewell appearance came against Basingstoke & North Hants, where his local cricketing career had begun as a 13-year old under the tutelage of the late Bernard Harrison and Derek Dicker.
An equally fine golfer who played off a ten handicap, Kevin organised a golf trip to Portugal last October for 12 Hook & Newnham Basics past and present cricketers, knowing it may be his last trip.
He died recently having contracted pneumonia. His countless sporting friends, colleagues and opponents will be at Basingstoke Crematorium on Tuesday afternoon, May 8 at 3.30pm to say their farewells.
KP’s England selection was a reward for his outstanding performances for the Hampshire Over-50s side for whom he took 65 wickets in five seasons.
Naturally competitive, KP was always regarded as a ‘gentleman’ cricketer.
Reflecting on his fine cricketing career, Kevin recalled taking 7-56 in his first game for Basingstoke, a Sunday friendly.
“I played for six or seven seasons for Basingstoke in the Thames Valley League, Bertie Joel Cup and the National Knockout.
“I guess I took 100 or so wickets for Basingstoke, where I also got my top all-time score, 142 in a midweek game.
“I had a couple of years away from cricket until the legend that is Keith Lovelock persuaded me to join his ragtag unit at Basics Polhill in the Hampshire league in 1989.
“They merged with Hook to form Hook & Newnham Basics in 1993, gaining promotion to the Southern League in 1999 and then on to the second tier in 2008.”
He was a mainstay of Hook & Newnham Basics, taking almost 250 Southern Premier League wickets for the Basingstoke club, for whom he enjoyed considerable success in the popular Guy Jewell t20 competitions. He is pictured below celebrating a recent cup final Man of the Match award.
“I probably took 50 odd wickets in the Hampshire League, so round figures, 350 all told,” he thought.
Hook chairman Keith Lovelock said: “KP was a much loved club member and top mate to many.
“He was a role model to all young and old who has left a massive void in our lives.
“Certainly a one off who won't be replaced: to be at the top of your game for one club for 25/30 years is amazing
“Our thoughts love and best wishes go out to Jacqueline daughters Holly Ellie and Corrin,
brother Gary and extended family.
In a separate tribute, Hampshire Seniors president John Richard said: “I loved watching him bowl his left arm overs so accurate and successful.
“I remember an innings against Somerset a year or two ago which showed that could bat well. He was also an excellent golfer and staunch supporter of the Seniors’ group.
“Kevin played his cricket and golf seriously; he was rightly keen to win. For me he was a nice friendly colleague with a ripe sense of humour.
“He was extremely reliable; happy to be Captain of the 50 XI when asked. He was a really good example of Seniors’ cricket and golf."
St Cross Symondians’ all-rounder Matt Stokes hit 63 and featured in an century opening partnership, but was unable to prevent Southampton Solent University from slipping to a 20-run defeat by Durham MCCU in their opening BUCS Championship match at the Racecourse ground.
Responding to Durham’s 234-9 (Luke Evans 4-42), Solent were given a 109-run launch in 28 overs by Stokes (63) and Bryce Hounsome (45).
But the Solent innings collapsed with six wickets falling for only 35 runs, with only South Wilts pair Arthur Godsal (44) and Luke Evans (20) able to steer the side to an eventual 214-8.
South Wilts made an immediate exit from the ECB Royal London national club championship after losing early wickets to Goatacre and ultimately losing comfortably to the newly promoted West of England Premier Division club.
They never recovered after losing three wickets for only nine runs at Bemerton and were unable to defend a modest 144, which Goatacre polished off with eight overs to spare.
Josh Langley (3-19) did the new-ball damage for Goatacre, who were making their debut in the 40-over a side ECB Championship.
Tom Morton, Tom Cowley and Ben Draper all perished early on, leaving James Hayward (30) and Will Wade (16) with the rebuild task.
Joe Cranch (19), Steve Riddell (13) and Rob Pittman (24) made contributions before Jack Haines (4-19) wrapped up the innings.
Haines (56) was equally prominent with the bat, sharing the batting spoils with Oli Jones (53 not out) as Goatacre cruised to a seven-wicket win. James Wade took two of the three Goatacre wickets.
Havant, normally the most successful of the local sides in the national club championship, trimmed Premier League rivals Burridge by 35 runs at the Park.
Peter Hopson (50), above, and Stu Ransley (33) largely underpinned Havant’s 174-5, skipper Chris Stone hitting an unbeaten 36 after Andy Peck (3-21) had made inroads.
Two strikes by Richard Jerry (2-21) put Burridge on the back foot. Marcus Campopiano (49) kept the challenge afloat, but Burridge were picked off by spin pair Richard Hindley (3-24) and Graham Burns (2-16) and fell short at 139-9.
Overnight thunderstorms and flash flooding led to the postponement of Bashley’s home tie with Portsmouth and the Totton & Eling-Basingstoke & North Hants ties. They along with Ventnor’s clash with Waterlooville will be played this Sunday.
ALTON will be parading a world record holder in their ECB Southern Premier Cricket League line-up this summer.
The Brewers have announced a major coup, with overseas signing Marco Marais flying in from South Africa as the world record holder of the fastest ever triple century in first-class cricket.
Marais, 24, a hard-hitting middle-order batsman and useful medium-pacer, is pictured blasting a mammoth 300 not out from just 191 balls for his province, Border, against Eastern Province last November.
The performance, and weight of runs in the South African summer earned him a call up to franchise side Warriors late in the season.
He announced his UK arrival with a six-strewn 80 off 48 balls in Alton’s pre-season friendly at Ifield, a 45-over match which produced a staggering 626 runs.
Marais, who hit three hundreds in CSA provincial cricket this winter, cleared the boundary rope ten times in his 80, with half-centuries by Scott Myers (69) and Dan Harris (57) taking Alton’s score to 322-9. Ifield replied with 304-7.
In 2017 Alton’s batting was hit and miss – so having Marais experience, which includes stints in English and Irish club cricket, and his explosive power should bring consistency and confidence to the rest of the top order.
Scott Myers continues to take the reigns of the first-team, who finished second from bottom of the Premier League last season.
England Under-19 World Cup all-rounder Tom Scriven hit a century in the Hampshire Academy’s towering 164-run pre-season warm up victory over Waterlooville at the Hogs’ picturesque Warnford ground.
Scriven, who played regularly in this winter’s ICC World Cup tournament in New Zealand, struck a six and ten fours in 104, which underpinned the Academy’s 256-7 (George Metzer 34, Miles Kantolinna 25).
Waterlooville, promoted as Southern Premier League Division 3 champions last season, astonishingly lost their last six wickets for only two runs – George Pardoe weighing in with 5-19 as the Ville went from 90-4 to 92 all out, rather quickly !
A Havant XI lost by two wickets to Portsmouth after Ishaf Ahmad had taken 5-17 to bowl the hosts out for 134 (Chris Stone 39), Richard Jerry adding a handy 25 at the end.
Basingstoke & North Hants suffered a double defeat against powerful Surrey Championship club Sunbury, who won the 1st XI contest by 81 runs.
Debutant Ben Thane (44) top scored as Basingstoke mustered 130 (David Griffiths 25) after Sunbury had posted 211-5.
Basingstoke II lost by three runs chasing Sunbury’s 196-8 (Nitin Mathew 3-44), Joe Oates making 36 of their 1943-9.
Hursley Park, facing up to a summer of Hampshire League County Division 1 cricket, were beaten by three wickets by South Wilts II at Bemerton, where a half-century by Lee Wateridge (55) propped up their 139.
Tom Pearce carried on his good work with the ball – he took 3-14 – by making a decisive 24 not out as SW got over the line. Will Flynn took 3-24.
Ryan Covey shone with bat and ball, but was unable to save Liphook & Ripsley from a 84-run defeat by Camberley (212).
He followed up a 5-26 return with 47 in a 93-run start with Rob Nicklin (37), but the SPL1 side lost ten wickets for 45 runs and were dismissed for 138.
Former King Edward VI skipper Rory Morris hit 58 to lead Hambledon to a six-wicket victory over Winchester University (142) at Ridge Meadow.
Totton & Eling chase an ECB Royal London Club Championship giant killing when Basingstoke & North Hants visit Southern Gardens on Sunday, 1pm.
But they won't have Ben Walker, their major close season signing, to help them.
Walker, who left Havant after leading the club to consecutive Premier Division titles, is among several SPL cricketers involved in Dorset's pre-season friendly with the Somerste Academy in Taunton.
Basingstoke: Stokes, Metzger, Williamson, Vinn, C Coombs, Griffiths, Jolley, Benge, A Neal, James, Connor.
Bashley (Rydal), at home to Portsmouth, have lost skipper Michael Porter, Josh Digby and Brad Currie to the same match.
Chris Stone leads Havant for the first time in the all Premier Division meet-up with Burridge at the Park.
Havant: Stone, Gorvin, Hindley, Hopson, Morgan, Ransley, Gadd, Bulled, Jerry, Prentice, Burns.
South Wilts face newly promoted West of England Premier Division side Goatacre at Bemerton.
Ventnor's tie with Waterlooville has been delayed until Sunday April 29 as Steephill has yet to recover from the recent heavy rain.
This is the latest state of 'play' at Stoneham Lane, where Trojans are scheduled to entertain Sparsholt in the opening match of the Southern Premier League Division 2 season on May 5 2018, ie 15 days time.
The square has been mown but save some reinstatement of the 'tyre trenches' just off the main playing area, the outfield remains untouched since Christmas hospitality marquees were removed. The recent dramatic change in temperatures has led to the outfield becoming bare and badly rutted in parts and long elsewhere.
The England and Wales Cricket Board wants to introduce an innovative '100 balls' format into its new eight-team, city-based tournament.
The concept could see innings consist of 15 traditional six-ball overs, and a final 10-ball over.
That would be 20 balls shorter than traditional T20 matches.
Those devising the competition believe a 100-ball 'countdown' would attract new audiences and be popular with broadcasters.
The proposed approach was presented by the ECB to the chairmen and chief executives of the first-class counties and MCC on Thursday.
ECB's chief executive officer Tom Harrison said: "This is a fresh and exciting idea which will appeal to a younger audience and attract new fans to the game."
The new competition's board unanimously supports the development of the 100-ball concept.
Southampton, Birmingham, Leeds, London, Manchester, Cardiff and Nottingham have been selected as venues for the five-week competition, which starts in 2020.
Both Lord's and The Oval will host newly created teams in the competition with the Ageas Bowl, Edgbaston, Headingley, Old Trafford, the Swalec Stadium and Trent Bridge the other grounds chosen.
The BBC will broadcast live TV coverage of the new men's and women's domestic tournament each summer from 2020 to 2024.
The new competition will take place alongside the existing T20 Blast which is expected to be unaffected by the proposed format changes.
The ECB believes the concept will help to appeal to families and a more diverse and younger audience, and provide some distinction from the T20 Blast.
It will feature aligned competitions for both men's and women's teams, with the same format and team identities.
The 100-ball concept will now be further developed but it has been welcomed by the broadcasters and player representatives - both men and women - that have been consulted.
A shake-up for cricket?
The move would be one of the biggest shake-ups to the game since the introduction of the Twenty20 Cup in 2003, the first professional 20-over competition.
Six-ball overs have been standard in cricket since 1979-80, before which overs had consisted of four, five, six or eight balls at various times.
When the new city-based competition was announced last year, the ECB said it marked "an exciting new era" for cricket in England and Wales and could help the sport be "relevant to a whole new audience".
The ECB's aim is for the competition to compete with the world's biggest T20 tournaments, the Indian Premier League and Australian Big Bash.
Eleven England internationals are currently taking part in this year's IPL, rather than the English County Championship which began last week.
Players can earn huge sums of money in the IPL with England's Ben Stokes sold for a record £1.7m last year.
Last year's event saw television viewership of over 1.25bn in the host country alone, while broadcaster Star India paid £1.97bn in September for global TV and digital rights in a five-year deal.
How will city-based tournament work?
◾Eight new teams playing 36 games over a 38-day summer window, with four home games per team
◾No scheduling overlap with the existing T20 Blast competition
◾An Indian Premier League-style play-off system to give more incentive for finishing higher up the league
◾A players' draft, with squads of 15 including three overseas players
◾Counties guaranteed at least £1.3m each per year
Local cricketers, freezing in the snow little more than a month ago, could experience temperatures in the mid-Seventies on Saturday when the curtain goes up on the season with a selection of warm-up matches.
Promoted Basingstoke give former Hook & Newnham Basics skipper and all-rounder Ben Thane (left, Dave Vokes) a debut at Sunbury, alongside promising teenage East Woodhay wicket-keeper Toby Albert.
Basingstoke & North Hants: Stokes, Albert, Thane, Taylor, C Coombs, Birch, Griffiths, Jolley, Benge, Thankachan, Connor.
Basingstoke IIs: Chandler, Harris, Parera, Froud, Oates, Vinn, Mathew, Finchen, Nurse, J Coombs, J Belcher
The Hampshire Hogs’ picturesque ground at Warnford is the venue for the Hampshire Academy-Waterlooville match (12.30), while Bashley (Rydal) and Havant have warm up games ahead of Sunday’s opening ECB Royal London national club championship first round ties (see separate story).
Saturday’s fixtures include: Bashley (Rydal) II v Calmore Sports, Bournemouth v Lymington, Fareham & Crofton v Purbrook (noon), Hampshire Academy v Waterlooville (Warnford, 12.30), Havant v Portsmouth, South Wilts v St Cross Symondians, Sunbury v Basingstoke & North Hants, Totton & Eling v Bashley (Rydal).
Ed Denham has returned to his Bournemouth cricketing roots after six successful summers playing in the Birmingham & District Premier League.
The 27-year old all-rounder is expected to be a major player in Bournemouth’s bid for Southern Premier League honours this season.
A key member of the Bournemouth colts team which was crowned ECB national Under-15 champions in 2005, Denham took 269 wickets and scored over 2,350 runs in his spell in Birmingham cricket.
Leaving Bournemouth in 2011, he joined Wombourne before switching to Walsall, whom he helped win a recent BPL Division 1 title.
Denham celebrated 11 separate five-wicket hauls in his time in the Midlands, taking 8-35 against Moseley and 7-52 versus West Bromwich Dartmouth.
The former Dorset cricketer has also developed into a very tidy middle-order batsman, scoring two league centuries and 11 scores of 50 or more in the BPL.
Bournemouth, who have also snapped up Herefordshire Minor Counties pace bowler Dan Conway, begin their pre-season programme with home matches against Lymington (Saturday) and Bournemouth University (Sunday) this weekend.
They launch their SPL1 tilt against relegated Andover at Chapel gate on May 5.
Ben Wish will once again be leading Rowledge this summer, as the Hampshire/Surrey border club looks to make amends for last season’s relegation.
Competing in Southern Premier League Division 2, the side will be looking to change their fortunes and turn a number of narrow losses last year into victories.
The squad is again likely to be dominated by youth, but the returns of experienced seamer Richard Forbes and middle-order batsman Sam Moseley from injury are seen as positives.
Teenager Fraser Wilson from Sydney, will be the side's overseas player and he will be looking to score runs having just arrived from Gordon District Grade Club, where Hampshire & England leg-spinner Mason Crane wintered in 2016/17.
“We have lost Tom Gleave and the experience and outstanding service of Ian Metcalfe for the season, so it will be up to younger lads with SPL experience like Joe Randall, spinner George Keeley and left-arm seamer Jake Wish to step up to the plate and ease the transition,” Ben Wish said.
“It will also be a season for Ollie Baker, Max Martin and 15 year old Will Ryman to make an impression in and around the first team squad.”
Jake Wish could miss the early matches due to university commitments, but top order batsman Nick Morant, and all-rounders Steve Martin and David Lloyd will provide the experience in the side for Wish, who will one again don the wicket-keeping gloves.
South Wilts have beefed up their pace bowling attack for the upcoming season by signing Ealing’s Arthur Godsal, a first year student at Southampton Solent University, who played for England Under-19s in India last winter.
The 20-year old could make his competitive debut in Sunday’s scheduled ECB Royal London Cup tie against Goatacre.
Godsal played regularly for Middlesex 2nd XI last season, having come through the club’s academy system, which he joined at 11 years of age.
“He swings the ball away and was quick all through the age groups,” said Middlesex head coach Richard Scott.
“Typically, he stopped growing in his late teens and everybody else caught him up. He had a knee injury and subsequent surgery last season, hence we didn’t sign him.”
Godsal, who made his Second XI Championship debut for Middlesex as a 15-year old in July 2013, made his England Under-19 Test debut in Nagpur and ODI debut in Mumbai.
“Arthur is easing back to full fitness, half pace bowling at the moment and, when the grass dries up, we might be able to get him off a full run up soon,” explained South Wilts skipper James Hibberd.
“He’s a handy bat as well and will be a very useful asset.”
South Wilts plan to play St Cross Symondians in a pre-season warm-up match at Bemerton on Saturday.
Many sportsmen, particularly former county, club cricketers and past colleagues, were unable to say farewell to Old Tauntonians ‘giant’, the late Tony Baker, Hampshire’s former chief executive, following his death, aged 77, this past winter.
We are now pleased to provide can now provide a link to the audio of Tony’s service - https://youtu.be/Rxu-le1-2Bw - held at the Basingstoke Crematorium on 10 November 2017, on which you will hear the Canon, Tony’s eldest son Paul and Tim Tremlett, all in fine form reflecting on Mr Baker’s life, particularly his enormous contribution to cricket in the region, both on and off the field.
“His eulogy was one of the most important things that I've ever done, and I had to try and make it amusing and affectionate,” Paul Baker reflected.
“May I suggest that anyone who would like to have a listen does so with a glass of the good stuff in tow, and raises a glass to dad, he'd like that !”
Paul and Johnny Baker are both running the Southampton Half-Marathon this weekend to raise funds for (and awareness of) Parkinson’s Disease, which took Tony’s life. If you feel able to contribute to such a worthwhile cause, please feel free to donate to www.justgiving.com/tonybakerhampshire
For somebody who has yet to make a championship appearance, Bashley-Rydal’s Tom Barber carries quite a reputation.
He fractured the thumb of England’s white-ball captain Eoin Morgan in Middlesex training two weeks ago and recently broke Stuart Meaker’s record for the fastest delivery in testing at the national performance centre at Loughborough, writes Simon Wilde of the Sunday Times..
When Daniel Vettori, the county’s Twenty20 coach, watched him play for the second XI at Uxbridge last summer, he rated him as being as gifted a left-arm speedster as Mitchell Starc at the same age, and in last month’s North-South series in Barbados, watched by Andrew Strauss, he had batsmen ducking for cover.
He could be London’s most dangerous Barber since Sweeney Todd.
Given Middlesex’s intention to rotate their deep pace-bowling resources, with Barber and Steven Finn sitting out the opening game against Northants, Kevin Shine, the ECB’s lead fast bowling coach, says he would be happy for Barber, 22, to play six to eight championship matches this summer, but it will be interesting to see how he fares in white-ball cricket, where there is such a premium on wicket-taking bowlers at the top of the innings.
Amid talk about a new generation having less interest in the long-form game and seven England fast bowlers being at the IPL rather than playing four-day cricket with their counties, Barber says he wants to represent Middlesex and England in all formats.
“Yes, for Twenty20s, you practise yorkers and slower balls, and in the championship it’s about line and length and hitting the top of off stump, but if the ball’s coming out at pace and swinging back in, that’s what you want, whether you’re playing championship or opening the bowling in T20s,” he says.
Barber has two assets that will interest England’s new selection panel over the coming months and years: one is his pace, the other his angle of attack.
The sterility of four right-arm seamers of similar pace operating together as they did in the Auckland Test cannot be repeated, and if George Garton of Sussex is likeliest to become the first left-arm fast bowler to appear in a Test for England since Ryan Sidebottom in 2010, Barber may not be far behind.
Barber has long possessed the knack of propelling a cricket ball at high speed but his ambition was spurred by the sight of England being blown away by Mitchell Johnson in Australia five years ago.
“That was a series where I thought, ‘I want to do that. I want to be that guy who runs in and really intimidates batsmen’. Mitchell Starc is the left-armer I look to most now.
He’s a similar sort of bowler to me in that he’s tall, bowls high pace and swings the ball back in. He’s the one I want to emulate.”
Barber, who is 6ft 3in, did not get here without a struggle. Born and raised in Dorset, he started as a professional at Hampshire but it didn’t work out and he was recommended to Middlesex by Paul Prichard, Dorset’s head coach. Richard
Johnson, their bowling coach, agreed to spend the winter of 2016-17 working with him on an action in need of refinement.
The challenge was to ensure he used all the power he had — using his front side more, being balanced at the crease and bowling as quickly as he could while retaining control. “I’d got into some bad habits and was just using a quick arm,”
Barber said. “It was difficult at first. Now, I’m seeing the effects. I’m a different bowler. I didn’t know which way the ball was going. Now, I know I can swing it in, push it away, and set up a batsman.”
A few weeks after Vettori watched him at Uxbridge, Barber made his Middlesex Twenty20 debut — against Hampshire — in front of 22,000 spectators at Lord’s.
He took one wicket, got the speed gun up to 92mph and cracked Rilee Rossouw on the head. The
speed he recorded at Loughborough was 90.6mph on a system different from the ones used by TV companies and reckoned to be about 4mph slower.
As championship cricket vies with Twenty20 for the attentions of the modern cricketer, it is likely to be fast bowlers who are most conflicted. Why bowl 20 overs a day in one when you can earn more bowling four in the other?
Alan Richardson, who commands at Worcestershire a strong group of fast bowlers, including the promising Josh Tongue and George Scrimshaw, reckons one of the main issues is that limiting age-group cricketers to five-over spells means educating them about how to construct two or three longer spells a day is something
that has to be taught much later, by which time the urge to pack a variety of tricks into four or five overs is already ingrained. “We have to instil patience,” he said.
On the plus-side, white-ball variations can be introduced selectively to the longer formats and could help
future England teams win Tests away from home. Lancashire’s Saqib Mahmood, who like Barber shone in the North-South series, is among those who could take this route to the top.
Article reproduced by kind permission of the Sunday Times.
Opening batsman Rob Gibson has followed his captain Ben Walker out of the Havant exit door, though their respective departures from the double ECB Southern Premier League champions are totally unconnected.
Whereas Walker has decided to drop down two tiers and play for Totton & Eling, 24-year old and now city-based Gibson has joined Middlesex Premier League club Richmond.
Gibson, who cut his teeth locally with Hambledon, explained: “I have absolutely loved my time playing for Havant, but unfortunately the practicalities of having to travel down every weekend, combined with the inability to train during the week, has meant that joining a London club was a much more sensible option.”
He will be joined at Old Deer Park by his Durham University team-mate and Basingstoke & North Hants all-rounder Will Phillips, who also works in the City.
Gibson, whose availability for Havant in recent seasons has been affected by university commitments, enjoyed his best season for the SPL champions in 2013 when his 689-run tally included two centuries.
Team-mate Chris Morgan has scotched rumours that he is joining the Havant Park exit party.
He said: “I will very much be donning the maroon cap this year and, given everything, more motivated to win games of cricket than I have been in a long time!”
Bashley (Rydal) face an on-going battle against the elements to get their award winning BCG ground fit for next Sunday's ECB Royal London Cup first round home tie against Portsmouth. The ground was flooded again by a recent downpour, leaving the club's volunteer ground-staff just seven days to get things ready. Once the surface water has soaked away they plan to start rolling in next week's forecasted sunshine. Bashley have won the Southern Premier League's Ground of the Year award for the past two seasons.
Sparsholt's Norman Edwards Ground off Lock's Lane is looking trim and healthy once again. The club won the Southern Premier League's Most Improved Ground award in 2017, due to the hard work and endeavours of groundsman Dave Banks and his team of volunteers. Like the majority of clubs, Sparsholt have been battling against the elements for the past five months, but the ground is looking in good shape.
The curtain goes up on the new Southern Premier League season in three weekend’s time – but it’s looking increasingly unlikely Trojans’ scheduled Division 2 opener against Sparsholt will go ahead, certainly at Stoneham Lane.
Three months and more have now elapsed since the lucrative Christmas hospitality marquee was taken away from the site, leaving the already unkempt outfield scarred with deep tyre tracks and unusable for any sport.
It is now mid-April but little, if any, work to repair the outfield (it is likely to need significant expenditure) appears to have taken place.
Trojans Club chairman Campbell Williams explains: “As you'll be aware, it's been very wet and cold since about November. The Trojans outfield is used during winter, this time part of it with the marquee, but also for rugby.
“The Southern League visit in mid-March was cancelled due to snow.
“We are doing what we can, and plan to have the pitch ready with significant investment to achieve this in machinery and materials, but needs to stop raining to allow work to commence.
“So, no different from other clubs, or previous years, except this year we have more investment scheduled.”
Trojans are already on an official warning from the Southern Premier League following poor outfield marks in past seasons.
It’s three weeks until stumps are pitched. The clock is ticking but time is not on Trojans’ side …
Local cricket’s prayers have been answered by next week’s long overdue and favourable weather forecast.
Unbroken sunshine and temperatures in the low 20s cel are forecast for next week, giving saturated cricket grounds a chance to dry out and, fingers crossed, get some pre-season matches under way over the weekend April 21/22, Sunday being the date of the opening round of the ECB Royal London national club championships
Relegated Hambledon have bolstered their pace bowling armoury by signing 22-year old Sam Beagley as their overseas player for the upcoming Southern Premier League Division 3 season, which begins against Fair Oak on May 5.
Beagley hails from Norwood CC, who play in the Ringwood District League in East Melbourne. Opening batsman Will Bond will again skipper the Dons this season.
Ben Walker has dropped a pre-season bombshell by quitting Havant, the club whose run scoring prowess helped his club with back to back ECB Southern Premier League championships.
Instead, he has decided to drop down two divisions on the SPL pyramid and join Totton & Eling, where he originally cut his teeth as a teenage all-rounder.
Walker, 29, has won the Premier Division batting prize for the past two seasons and during his time at Havant scored 5,608 runs, including seven hundreds and made 50 or more 38 times.
Prior to a troublesome knee effectively ending his bowling career, Walker took 154 Premier Division wickets for Havant, helping the club win six titles, the past two of which he captained.
“It’s a decision I’ve not taken lightly,” he explained.
“My life situation has changed drastically and for the better. I’m now living with my girlfriend in Southampton, so location-wise Totton is the closest club.
“I’ve played at Totton years ago and I feel there is unfinished business for me there, where I have a opportunity there to make a difference and help their youngsters become better players.
“I’m also lucky enough to be representing Dorset in Minor Counties cricket this summer, which will be a great experience and a stern challenge for me.
“To work along side Dorset coach Paul Pritchard (ex-Essex captain) is brilliant for me personally.”
Walker says he will look back on his time at Havant with real fondness.
“My time spent at Havant, the best club around in my opinion at the moment, has been amazing.
“They supported me through the rough times when league bans and issues occurred and gave me the honour of captaining the club to two Premier Division championships and T20 successes.
“I wish the club all the success moving forward and hope they continue to dominate in all competitions.
“The lads at Havant are my best friends and they will continue to be them.
“Joining Totton & Eling is a new challenge that’s exciting.”
Walker expects to make his competitive debut for Totton & Eling against newly promoted Waterlooville in Southern Premier League Division 2 at Southern Gardens on May 5.