Darren Cowley has left Lymington to play Devon Premier League cricket for Barton, where he was a dominant all-round force 16 years ago.
The 43-year old played in half of Lymington’s matches last summer – the first time he had turned out on a ‘fairly regular’ basis since 2014, but his return was a modest one.
In nine matches, he made 206 Southern Premier League runs – 148 of them came in fours and sixes – making only one half-century. He is pictured (by James Robinson) making 61 at Bournemouth last May.
He took 15 league wickets, but in June found himself suspended for two matches after an unsavoury Mankad run out of a Hampshire Academy batsman.
Discussing Cowley’s return, Barton skipper Adam Parker said: “Darren has had a very successful career to date and is a huge player for us to have.
“Wherever Darren has played he has scored runs and he will also be valuable with the ball in hand for us.”
gging the bowling
Cowley first played for Barton way back in 1996 after his family returned to the UK following a spell living in South Africa.
Cowley had toured India with South Africa under-19s and was being trailed by a number of First Class counties when he first joined Barton.
Barely a month after joining Barton the then 19 year old hammered his first Devon League century, an unbeaten 102 taken off the Sandford attack.
Over the next nine seasons Cowley smashed more than 4,500 Premier and A Division runs for Barton, including tons against South Devon, Plymouth and a Devon League personal best of 123 against Sandford in 2003.
Cowley was seldom out of the Premier Division’s top-10 batters at the end of the summer. Curiously, he never bettered his first season for Barton when he made 601 league runs.
After leaving Barton at the end of the 2004 summer when he left the area, Cowley played for Bournemouth and latterly Lymington in the Southern Premier League.
Although he had a modest 2019 season, Cowley’s departure has left a gaping hole in Lymington’s middle-order and left Matt Metcalfe’s side without a proven spin bowler.
Lymington have also lost batsman/wicket-keeper Harry Fisher to Premier Division champions Bashley (Rydal), but are believed to be close to making a new signing to bolster their pace attack.
Following in father's footsteps ! That's Ross Whyte (left), who is to captain relegated Ventnor in Southern Premier League Division 2 cricket this summer.
But whereas Mark (right) can look back on a trophy strewn era as skipper of the Ventnor team that climbed their way up the Hampshire recreational pyramid – he won ten HCL and Southern Premier League championship medals – Ross faces a totally contrasting scenario.
His first task will be to put Ventnor back on an even keel, the Steephill club having suffered two relegations in the past four seasons.
“First and foremost I am looking to create a team with some established past and present performers, mixed with some young promising Isle of Wight cricketers,” he says.
“Anyone who is interested in playing for Ventnor is welcome to come to free senior training on a Wednesday evening (7.30 pm) at the Steephill Cricket Academy.”
Whyte, who has spent the last two seasons at Lymington and previously Horsham, will have Barbados left-hand opener Anthony Alleyne at his side this summer.
Alleyne (26) has been appointed player/coach by Ventnor and is due to take up his appointment in late April. Having lost his place in the Barbados side 12 months ago, Alleyne will be doubly keen to make an impression in Southern Premier League cricket.
Colden Common & Otterbourne SW are looking to arrange away-day friendly matches on Sundays 21 June, and 9, 16 and 23 August 2020.
Their side will be not be particularly strong, probably HCL county 4/5 standard. Any takers should contact Colin Hutton at firstname.lastname@example.org
It took Burridge all of 45 minutes to thrash Wimbledon by six wickets and clinch a place in next month’s ECB indoor sixes championships in Canterbury.
Less than a day after being crowned Hampshire county champions, they skittled the powerful Surrey Championship outfit for a meagre 52 and polished off the runs at a canter.
Burridge now go through to the south-east regional play-offs at the St Lawrence ground on Sunday March 8, where they will play Berkshire side Purley-on-Thames, who knocked out mighty Finchley at the weekend.
Dan Stancliffe and Sully White bowled with pace and accuracy early on, reducing Wimbledon to 23-2 off the initial five overs in tight playing surroundings at Leatherhead.
None of the Wimbledon batsmen were able to settle and with a brace of wickets each for Brad Griffiths and Andy Peck, the SW19 club was dismissed for 52.
It took seven overs for Richard Kenway and Suji Wickramasinghe to polish off the target and put Burridge to within two victories of a place in the Lord’s indoor finals, graced by 2018 winners Sarisbury Athletic and South Wilts for the past two seasons.
Luke Evans is warming up nicely for the new South Wilts season with a 31-wicket haul for his adopted Australian club, St Patricks in the Cricket Albury Wodonga provincial competition on the New South Wales/Victoria state border.
Burridge carried off the Hampshire indoor sixes crown, defeating Compton & Chandler’s Ford and then Hook & Newnham Basics to clinch a place in the ECB national championships.
Having had their work cut out by Compton & Chandler’s Ford, they brushed aside Hook & Newnham Basics to win the final by a comfortable 56-run margin.
Sully White (35) and Andy Peck (21) came to the rescue after CCF had snapped up three quick wickets and Burridge’s eventual 120-4 proved just too many for the newly promoted County Division 1 side.
Hook & Newnham Basics sent a youthful squad to the Ageas Bowl and accounted for Havant by an identical nine-run margin, teenager Josh Balcombe and the exciting Harry Warner both making 40-plus. Their 145-5 eluded Havant, who made 136-2 in reply.
An unbeaten half-century by Shu Chowdhury, pictured, set up a formidable 148-5 for Burridge in the final. Hook fell well short on 92-5.
Hook & Newnham Basics 145-5 (Balcombe 42*, Warner 41, Neville 30, Gadd 3-39) beat Havant 136-2 (Walker 27, Mistry 27, Taw 21, Gadd 20) by nine runs.
Burridge 120-4 (S White 35, Peck 24) beat Compton & Chandler's Ford 111-5 (A Spearing 27) by nine runs.
Burridge 148-5 (Chowdhury 51*, S White 28, Peck 21, Wyatt 2-30) beat Hook & Newnham Basics 92-5 (Balcombe 18) by 56 runs.
Ryde (pictured above) have sensationally dumped Southern Premier League champions Bashley (Rydal) out of the ECB indoor sixes club championships. They pulled off a surprise 17-run win at the island's Rew Valley Leisure Centre to earn a trip to Taunton for the regional finals next month.
Ryde's 94-4 was built around an unbeaten knock by Mark Oatley (30), with Josh Proctor (16) and Stuart Robertson (14) chipping in.
Bashley progressed to 48 without loss through Michael Porter (18) and Trevor Jacques (18), but fell away to finish with 77-5, Ashley Goldsmith taking 2-14.
Anne Craft has stepped down as Hampshire Cricket League secretary after almost two decades at the helm.
The octogenarian announced her retirement at the league’s annual meeting and will hand the secretarial reins over to Anne Carter, who plays in the women’s league for Langley Manor.
Mrs Craft, who took up her secretarial role in 2001, has been elected a life vice-president of the Hampshire League, with her outstanding service to be formally recognised at the awards presentations in November.
Until recently, the Hampshire League was the largest recreational weekend cricket competition of its kind in the country, with over 300 teams participating. Its has since been narrowly gazumped in size by the neighbouring Sussex league.
“Apart from dealing with the results and finances, Anne was involved in every aspect of the league management – a colossal undertaking, but one she handled with extreme care and efficiency for almost 20 years,” praised chairman Denis Emery.
“Organising the league’s annual end-of-season award presentation dinner functions with precision was just one of many tasks Anne undertook, never mind dealing with the needs of over 300 teams throughout the summer months.
“Her service to Hampshire cricket has been immense and I cannot thank her enough for everything she has done for the past 19 years.”
Cricket has been deeply ingrained in Anne Craft life, her late husband Bill having been a stylish left-hand batsman for Lymington and her two sons, Charlie and Ben good cricketers, schooled at King Edward VI in Southampton.
A tall imposing all-rounder, Ben played throughout the Hampshire junior age groups and was a formidable hard hitting batsman in his time at Lymington.
Anne spent a spell as secretary at Lymington, running the club’s colts teams while her sons were playing – and then sowing the seeds for not only women’s cricket in the town but also the formation – in 2006 – of the Women’s Division of the Hampshire League, which this summer will have 19 participating clubs.
She also ran the New Forest CA Junior Cricket Association for over 20 years.
Her successor Anne Carter hails from Yorkshire and says: “I can proudly say I started my cricketing career at Headingley, with my grandfather, brother and a blue plastic bat - until the groundsman asked us to leave the outfield !
“This was followed by a long interregnum during which I pursued my career.
“Then five years ago, against my will (cricket was like watching paint dry), I was persuaded to join in with the Women’s W10, became hooked and I have played league cricket ever since. I now play for Langley Manor.”
Bashley (Rydal) fear pacey Lymington seamer Josh Proctor could unsettle their bid for a place in the ECB national indoor sixes national championships.
Proctor (left) is set to spearhead Ryde's attack in Sunday's first round tie at the Rew Valley Leisure Centre, where the Dorset indoor champions (and last summer's Southern Premier League winners) begin their title quest.
The winners go through to the ECB south west regional finals at Taunton next month.
South Wilts were beaten finalists in last winter's ECB national championships but, like 2019 winners Canterbury, they won't be making a return visit to HQ on March 29.
A 43-run defeat by Swindon left them beaten finalists in the Wiltshire county players-offs, Rob Pittman (42) and Tom Cowley (28) scoring all but 18 of their 78 all out after the Railwaymen had posted 121-5.
South Wilts ran up 176-2 - Pittman and Cowley each scoring 44* - in the other match before Biddestone were dismissed for 96.
The HCB county play-offs are the the Ageas Bowl on Saturday evening.
Rowledge are closing in on Sydney CC right-arm medium-pace bowler Cameron Holmes as their overseas player for the upcoming Southern Premier League Division 1 season.
Holmes [left] plays Second Grade for the Tigers, who currently lie fifth in the New South Wales Premiership log, his 24 wicket haul including two four-wicket returns.
He has played for Sydney since he was 8 years of age and has 281 victims to his name. As regards batting, Holmes describes himself as a 'resident number 11.'
Holmes's arrival in late April will coincide with a full-time return to the club for left-arm seamer Jake Wish, who is in his final year at Bristol University and be a boost for promising teenager pair Oli Baker (25) and Will Ryman (21), who both took over 20 wickets last summer.
Skipper Ben Wish, delighted with last season's fifth place finish after the previous season's promotion triumph, has confirmed that leading run scorer and Guildford hockey ace Sam Plater expected to available on a regular basis this summer.
Ventnor, with a population hovering around the 6,000 mark, have entered the National Village Cup for the first time and will visit Paultons in the first round on Sunday May 3, the day after the Southern Premier League season begins.
Competition rules permit 'towns' with a population under 10,000 to enter, thus allowing 2019 semi-finalists Sarisbury Athletic to participate. They will host County Division 1 side Sway at Allotment Road.
Liphook & Ripsley, beaten Lord's finalists the previous summer, switch to the West Sussex group and will visit Bedhampton Mariners, with the winners hosting Emsworth.
County Division 1 champions Parley host Beehive & Southwick, while Easton & Martyr Worthy and Rowledge received first round byes.
A total of 308 clubs - the largest field for over a decade - have entered this season's competition, all eyeing a place in the Lord's final on Sunday 13 September.
Local first round ties include: Paultons v Ventnor, Overton v Amport, Sarisbury Athletic v Sway, Hursley Park v Tichborne Park, Oakley v Langley Manor, Hook & Newnham Basics II v Hambledon, Sparsholt v Bramshaw, Lacock v Shrewton, Parley v Beehive & Southwick, Redlynch & Hale v Aldbourne.
The Hampshire Academy have stolen a march on all their ECB Southern Premier Division rivals with a mid-February tour to La Manga, where they played two T20s and two 50-over matches against the Middlesex Cricket Board, who included former England U19 captain Max Holden in their ranks.
They shared the spoils in the T20 matches, lost the opening 50-over match by 43 runs, but were rain robbed of a potential revenge victory over Middlesex in the final game.
Middlesex posted 198 in the first T20 and then took two quick wickets. George Metzger (40) and Fletcha Middleton (36) added 66 for the third wicket before Huw Wheeler, last season’s Under-15 Player of the Year, struck an unbeaten 37 from 29 deliveries, including two fours and two sixes before Hampshire (166) came up 32 runs short.
Second time around, Hampshire’s batsmen were unable to impose themselves against the Middlesex bowling and needed a late flurry from James Trodd (18) to push them to a respectable score of 129.
But it proved enough as seam duo Harry Broderick (3-16) and James Trodd (1-25) struck early blows before spin duo Kamran Khanna and Monaam Abbas restricted the rate. Middlesex could only muster up 116 from their 20 overs leaving Hampshire victorious by 13 runs.
The Academy’s spin twins were on their game in the opening 50-over match, Khanna (3-41) and Abbas (3-29) sharing six wickets as Middlesex were dismissed for 209.
Hampshire slumped to 118-9 before a tenth wicket partnership of 48 between Harry Petrie (25) and Josh Croom (23*) lifted the Academy reply to 166 all out.
The final game of the tour was a scheduled 45-over rain affected affair in which Fletcha Middleton (74) top scored in Hampshire’s 215-9. Trodd (3-25) took all three wickets as Middlesex slumped to 43-3 before the rain in Spain won the day.
The return of Jordan Hobday and Ben Thane after short spells with neighbours Basingstoke & North Hants is a double boost for promoted Hook & Newnham Basics, who are actively preparing for their baptism in the new demanding arena ECB Southern Premier League cricket in just over two months.
Hook, who won the Division 1 championship last season, begin life in the top sphere of Hampshire recreational cricket with a visit to eight-times champions Havant on May 2.
The club’s second team, promoted as Hampshire League County Division 1 runners-up to Parley last season, also venture into new territory into Premier Division 3.
“We’re all very excited indeed. Playing in two higher leagues is a thrilling new venture for the club,” smiled Vince Gardner, Hook’s Director of Cricket.
“Playing wise, having Ben and Jordan back at the KGV is a significant plus. They are both quality all-round cricketers and, provided they stay fit, will be a significant boost to the squad.”
Thane has scored over 8,000 SPL runs, but missed half of the 2019 season for Basingstoke with a leg injury, while Hobday too has struggled with long standing knee problems, requiring several bouts of surgery.
“After years of fitness problems Jordan is looking fit and hungry to prove himself in the Premier League,” Gardner added.
Josh Buckingham, who has led Hook to back-to-back SPL T20 and Division 1 successes in the past two seasons, will continue to captain a stronger looking Hook squad, also boosted by the arrival of pace bowler Matt Jones from Newbury-based Home Counties Premier League side Falkland.
Also looking to taste Premier League cricket for the first time is Overton seam bowler Lewis Watts, who according to Gardner: “Is looking impressive in pre-season training.”
Kevin Light continues to skipper Hook IIs, whose opening match is at home to Gosport Borough, promoted in Parley’s place due to on-going accreditation issues.
Hook are again putting huge emphasis on player fitness – a key component in last season’s success – as they count down to the start of the season in 11 weekends time.
“The lads worked hard on their individual fitness levels and fielding pre the 2019 season and it paid handsome rewards,” emphasised Gardner, who plans to take a pro-active role with the club’s two Premier League sides, with Tony Robson at his side as a batting consultant and Joel Buckingham and Ian Simpson pro-active with player fitness.
“My job is to support the captains and ensure training and preparation during the build-up and during the season itself is well organised. It’s also important that, insofar as our Hampshire League sides are concerned, the multitude of young players coming through our youth system are properly placed.”
Buckingham, whose brother Matt is first team vice-captain, and Light are hoping to face up to some tricky selection issues when the pre-season matches begin in April.
In addition to the aforementioned arrivals and all of last season’s successful squads, Gardner expects Max Simpson, a tall and pacey county U16 bowler, to be pushing hard for an SPL place.
Also knocking on the door will be youngsters like Harry Robson, Will Gardner, Billy Wyatt, Josh Balcombe, Charlie Neville, Alexander Campbell and Ollie James, just a few of the conveyor belt of young talent feeding through following Hook & Newnham’s repeated successes at county U15 level.
They have won the Hampshire Under-15 Cup four times in the past five seasons.
ECB Southern Premier League champions Bashley (Rydal) have snapped up Lymington teenager Harry Fisher, who is expected to bat in the top order and keep wicket regularly for last season’s first time winners.
Fisher, 20, a fresher year Geography student at Exeter University, hit three fifty-plus scores for Lymington last summer besides taking 14 catches – five in one match at Basingstoke & North Hants – in a shared wicketkeeping role.
He arguably produced his best form in Minor Counties Championship cricket for Dorset, hitting an unbeaten 101 against Wales MC and 80-plus scores in the matches against Cheshire and Herefordshire.
“I’m looking forward to playing with my Dorset team-mates at Bashley and keeping wicket on a regular basis,” Fisher said.
Bashley will open their title defence against Bournemouth at Chapel Gate on May 2, with former Lions left-arm spinner Dominic Clutterbuck challenging for a place in the side.
Whoever wins the Hampshire indoor sixes championships at the Ageas Bowl on Saturday evening won't have too much time to celebrate as the county champions will be playing in the first round of the ECB national competition at Leatherhead the following (Sunday) afternoon !
In the HCB semi-finals, Havant play Hook & Newnham Basics (7pm), with Burridge tackling Compton & Chandler's Ford an hour later. The county final is at 9pm.
The Hampshire winners then face the daunting task of facing Surrey indoor champions Wimbledon at Downsend School, Leatherhead, on Sunday teatime at 4 o'clock.
Sway cricketer Jon Waller has revealed that, in between helping the New Forest club to a six-match winning start to last season’s Hampshire League County Division 1 campaign, he spent time in the trenches as an ‘extra’ on the Salisbury Plain set of the blockbuster movie 1917, an emotionally charged and exhilarating World War I drama featuring the Battle of Ypres.
John, pictured left by the New Milton Advertiser. who is one wicket shy of 100 bowling victims for Sway, takes up his fascinating story …
ALL you had to be was aged 18-35, the advert said, while those who could grow moustaches would be prioritised. There were few other details except the promise it was for a “massive feature film” and the production was landing soon in Salisbury.
But few of the 2,000 who responded to the call-out on Facebook in early 2019 could have imagined the project they were applying to be a part of – the blockbuster film 1917 – would a year on be hailed worldwide, winning multiple awards.
The film, which scooped seven British Academy of Film and Television Awards (BAFTA) and seven Oscar nominations, was directed by prominent Oxfordshire Seniors and Shipton-Under-Wychwood cricketer Sir Sam Mendes.
However, the 550 lucky to be chosen as extras – including me – were soon under no illusion as to the expectations the producers held.
Any whisper of the project on social media during filming would result in being ejected, and there were strictly no camera phones allowed on set, we were all warned.
But it was not like the extras could reveal much of the story anyway; many of the crew on set knew the basic plot-line but the full version of the final script was barely known to most.
The scale of the project became clear when all of the 550 extras – many of whom were Bournemouth students or serving or former squaddies – were called to a preliminary set boot camp to check they were physically able to fulfil what was being asked of them.
While in reality they were gentle fitness sessions, they exposed the extras for the first time to the set on Salisbury Plain – including a trench a few hundred yards long that had been filled with chalk pieces, weaponry and the hundreds of costumes painstakingly prepared to the last detail.
Having had their costumes fitted, the extras were taught what turned out to be a crucial skill – how to wrap their own “puttees” around their ankles – and given pictures of soldiers from the war on whom to model their look and research.
There were also historians on hand who gave lectures to educate the extras on the unit they were depicting – the second battalion of the Royal Devonshire regiment – and the realities of First World War combat.
Former Marine commandos observed each extra with his gun, handpicking the best to fire live ammunition, while the rest were shown how to attack as a unit in formation.
By the time the production got to Netheravon in May, much of the film had been shot and extras came with gossip concerning seasoned actors involved: Andrew Scott fluffing his few lines and the possibility of being in a scene with Mark Strong or Benedict Cumberbatch.
Back then there were already whispers the film was going to be a contender at the Oscars – no surprise given some of the talent involved; director Sir Sam Mendes took home the Best Director Oscar for American Beauty while cinematographer Roger Deakins is arguably the greatest living exponent of his craft, having worked on the most of the Coen brothers films and Blade Runner 2049.
As rumours flew it emerged the script, co-authored by Sir Sam, was based on a fable he was told by his uncle, Alfred Mendes, a messenger for the British on the Western Front.
The basic premise sees two soldiers – played by rising stars George McKay and Dean-Charles Chapman – tasked with delivering a message to the Western Front in France during the First World War to call off an attack and save the slaughter of 1,500 men.
The scenes were shot in sequential order, meaning the first few days were relatively gentle as we predominantly sat in the wooded area listening to a recording or being sung to by the real ac-tor.
The atmosphere was largely relaxed but that swiftly changed whenever Sir Sam stepped on set to talk with the main actors, and it transformed the first time the cameras began rolling – a hush descending over proceedings before the countdown and the shout of “Action!”.
What many extras found strange was playing men who faced multiple dangers – the Germans, illness or the cold and mental torture – whereas our main worry was getting sunburn.
There was also the added concern of ensuring the costume was in prime order; the historians and make-up assistants were constantly on set surveying each extra and were absolute sticklers.
So intent were they on getting things accurate, in one scene a historian pointed out an extra in shot was not wearing hobnail boots – causing him to be moved and a mini tantrum about not being on camera, which was swiftly calmed down.
When charging out of the trenches the extras were taught to emerge the way the soldiers would have – even though that wouldn’t be seen on camera, and thousands of cigarettes from the time period were passed out to extras, many of whom insisted on a fresh one each new take.
To aid their waiting some brought books and even a chess set, while one amused himself by donning his gas mask and running around; earning a rebuke from the crew. Others who fell asleep had their guns quietly confiscated by the commandos, earning them a forfeit.
By far the highlight of the experience was the set-piece scene, it took many days to re-hearse before being shot over two separate days.
The hundreds of extras had to charge out of the trench at stages while McKay ran across their path chasing a camera attached to a moving truck – each extra being instructed to “try if they could” to run between camera and actor without hitting either.
And when the cameras started rolling there was the added complication of live explosive charges on the field and stunt men brought in to perform flips and jumps as they went off.
For that scene in particular there was a lot of waiting around, meaning whenever the cry of “three, two, one, action”, went up, the energy was absolutely electric.
McKay had been told to keep running no matter what happened and during the several times he was clattered into, he got up and carried on – including in the take used in the film.
Sway top dogs
One of the big selling points of the movie is the ‘one shot’ set-up; so-called because from start to finish the action follows the two men – seemingly in one cut – delivering the message as their mission progresses.
But that brought unique problems to the £100m-budget production; the film was set in late autumn so the scenes had to be shot with the right amount of contrast and light – not so easy to achieve considering the balmy hot weather in May and June last year (when Sway were in nosebleed territory topping County Division 1).
It meant there were endless rehearsals of scenes, and the actors, crew and at times the production came to a standstill as those involved sat around waiting for the weather to turn.
But it was also hugely exciting when the time came to film a scene in a limited window – and meant the pressure was on to get it right.
The production had anticipated delays; while the three scenes would fill around eight minutes of screen time it had assigned up to three weeks to film them.
The main concern was capturing the huge set piece scene at the climax, which involved lead actor McKay running hundreds of yards along the trench line as all of the hundreds of extras popped out and burst past him going ‘over the top’.
The other two scenes saw hundreds of soldiers being sung to as they sat in a nearby wooded area, and then walking into the trenches – McKay’s character fighting his way through them in his bid to deliver the message.
From the outset the days were long; the call time for extras to arrive to get into costume was often 5am and there were few times that filming finished before 5pm. It was five days a week and some extras got so much into the spirit they decided to live as soldiers and camp out at the site.
Morning starts were always surreal; changing into what was a heavy and cumbersome costume and then on to hair and make-up to spruce up the moustache before queuing so the effects team could literally cover each of us extras head to toe in mud and chalk.
The set was a 10-minute bus ride away and upon arrival everyone had to collect a rifle from an armoury truck before a lengthy march to the trench for filming – a walk which took an age for those tasked with carrying a heavy Lewis gun.
It was an unbelievable experience standing in the trench and hearing the cries of men as they headed over the top. After the shot was complete a loudspeaker crackled and Sir Sam’s voice, triumphant and excitable, paid tribute to the extras for satisfying his vision for the film.
“Men of Wiltshire and beyond I can’t thank you enough,” he said, as the crew whooped and McKay ran around high-fiving extras and punching the air with delight.
There were similar celebrations when 1917 won Oscars and the plaudits are well deserved: for the dazzling technical and artistic achievement, and the effort and detail the production went to ensure it did justice to the millions who made the ultimate sacrifice.
Spare a thought for Lydney, in Gloucestershire, whose cricket, rugby and soccer grounds bore the brunt of Storm Dennis last weekend.
The Hampshire Cricket League is set to announce a three-year sponsorship deal with the Finch Group, the commercial insurance brokers, who have seven offices across the South of England.
Clubs will be asked to endorse the four-figure deal at Thursday’s annual general meeting at the Ageas Bowl.
Finch’s sponsorship of the county’s second largest recreational weekend competition (behind neighbours Sussex) – 301 teams are due to compete in the league this summer – is set to begin on May 9.
Hampshire League chairman Denis Emery, who initiated the deal, said: “We are absolutely delighted to welcome the Finch Group as our first sponsors in over 45 years and who already insure over 100 of our clubs.
“When Vincent Gardner of Finch Group contacted us, we had no hesitation in agreeing to the sponsorship of a company that has been closely connected with the Hampshire League.
“Their support for club cricket in North Hampshire, with Hook & Newnham Basics and the long- standing Guy Jewell T20 Cup competition at May’s Bounty, is well known and greatly appreciated.
Mr Emery confirmed that the sponsorship will pay for Umpire and Scorers courses including first year’s ECB ACO membership.
“We will also use it to update our Web site which will streamline our results and ground reporting,” he added.
Finch Group Managing Director Vincent Gardner commented: “Denis and the HCL committee and all of the volunteers running cricket clubs in Hampshire really need financial support, so I hope that some of our sponsorship will go into supporting grass roots cricket locally.
“Although my personal allegiance is, of course, to Hook & Newnham Basics CC, I am hopeful that this 3-year deal will prove beneficial to all clubs in the county.
• Clubs needing an insurance quote ahead of the HCL’s 1 April 2020 deadline should contact Tony Symons or Jill Jukes at the Finch Group’s North Baddesley office: 02380 769872.
“Tony and Jill have been dealing with cricket cub insurance in Hampshire for over 20 years, so they have a wealth of experience,” Mr Gardner added.
One-time Purbrook teenager Heinrich Klaasen smashed a rampaging 66 off 33 balls (4 fours and 4 sixes) for South Africa in yesterday’s series defining third KFC T20 international at Centurion Park – only to finish on the losing side as England chased down a massive 222-6 to win by five wickets with five balls to spare.
Klaasen, who spent the 2007 and 2010 seasons at Purbrook Heath while on holiday from Menlopark High School in Pretoria, top scored for South Africa, but then sat back and watched as Eoin Morgan set off on a six-hitting blitz of his own, leading England to a remarkable victory. A packed and sun kissed Titans crowd soaked up 26 sixes in all and almost 500 runs in three hours.
Klaasen was a mere 15-year old when he first visited Purbrook in 2007, playing County Division 3 cricket and scoring a century against Highfield either side of fifty-plus scores against Midhurst, Emsworth and Bishop’s Waltham. He returned home with 340 runs to his credit at a handy average of 85 !
Three years later and by this time an automatic pick in the Titans Under-19 provincial side, Klaasen returned to reap more carnage on Hampshire League bowlers, this time in County 1, where he bludgeoned 821 runs, including an unbeaten 212 at Midhurst and centuries against Portchester (133 not out) and Burridge (128).
Having made an indelible mark in only his second white ball appearance in twelve months for the Proteas, Klaasen is now looking ahead to the forthcoming ODI Series against Australia – and a place in the South Africa squad for this autumn’s ICC T20 World Cup in Australia.
NatWest CricketForce continues to provide a pre-season focal point for clubs across the country. As the programme is ever evolving and developing to meet the needs of grassroots cricket clubs, the key focus for 2020 is PEOPLE.
2020 will be another huge year for the recreational game with the launch of Dynamos Cricket and the engagement of many more juniors. Is your club ready ?
This year the ECB wants clubs to not only think about their facilities when considering their NatWest CricketForce project but also their people.
Bringing your club’s community together over the weekend of 27-29 March can not only help to ensure a successful summer of cricket but future-proof it for many years, both on and off the field.
What can my club do in 2020?
In 2019, clubs reported that 13% of volunteers involved in NatWest CricketForce were new to the club, over 25% were female and 36% were under the age of 24 – what can your club do to engage and retain new volunteers?
Can NatWest CricketForce act as the platform to recruit more volunteers into your club? Could you host a ‘Parent Engagement Evening’ at the club as an opportunity for parents of the new recruits to ‘Get Involved’? Could your club use NatWest CricketForce to identify some key roles required for the summer ahead and get people appropriately trained ?
What some clubs said about 2019:
• “We are considering offering a reduction in membership if players attend workforce days during 2020.”
• “Very good way to get the season underway - to find and engage with new volunteers - to bring young and old(er) together for common cause.”
• “NatWest CricketForce has created a community feel to our club at the start of every season.”
What’s in it for my club?
As a thank you to all clubs who participate in NatWest CricketForce 2020 and to highlight the importance of ensuring our clubs are safe environments to be part of, each club will benefit from a NatWest CricketForce First Aid kit designed specifically for the community cricket club.
Added to this, when we announce our official supporters and suppliers for 2020, every club who registers will be added into a prize draw to win some amazing pieces of kit for their club.
So, whether it’s a refurbishment of the clubs changing facilities and toilets to ensure young people can use them, designing a family friendly social area for parents to socialise or hosting a number of events aimed at volunteer recruitment, retention and recognition there’s a reason for every club to Get Involved in NatWest CricketForce in 2020.
Should you have any queries at all, please email email@example.com.
Parley have once again been refused promotion into the Southern Premier League, even though they won the Hampshire League championship last year and were County Division 1 runners-up in 2018.
On-going accreditation issues have once again torpedoed Parley’s ambitions, with the previous season’s outfield marks not achieving the SPL’s bronze accreditation requirements.
With the local West Parley Parish Council having recently taken back the ownership of the pavilion and sports field off Christchurch Road (following the expiry of the previous lease) and adult soccer no longer being played on the outfield, Parley’s cricketers hoped they would be given the green light to play Division 3 cricket in 2020.
Instead, they will remain in County Division 1, with third placed Gosport Borough elevated back to SPL3 in their place, alongside Hook & Newham Basics seconds, who finished runners-up.
Explaining the Southern Premier League’s stance, chairman Steve Vear MBE said: “Parley’s outfield mark for 2019 was scored at 6.20, using the standard SPCL methodology and, as such, does not meet the minimum requirement of bronze accreditation at this time.”
Premier League rules provide that ‘any new club wishing to enter the SPL must give proof of a minimum of 15 years security of tenure of their club and ground.”
On that issue, Mr Vear added that: “While assurances have been given as to the existence of formal confirmation that a 15-year lease will be in place legally prior to the start of the 2020 season, this had not been produced by August 31 2019, as required under the league’s accreditation requirements.
“The SPL does accept that conversations with the West Parley Parish Council had been developing and that there was clear intention to put some things in place – but nothing concrete was provided, and certainly not before the 31st August deadline.”
Mr Vear confirmed the Premier League was keen to support Parley in gaining the necessary accreditation entry and is already in contact with the club to set up next step discussions.
Parley chairman Mark Barber said his club has had many long and detailed discussions as to its future direction.
“The decision to not allow Parley into the Southern Premier League has had many implications throughout the club. Players and officials who have put years of effort into reaching the SPL are now questioning their commitment to the club and cricket as a whole, with a number of lead players linked with moves elsewhere,” he said.
“Whilst the Southern Premier League has no direct link with grass roots cricket, the decisions that it makes can have a huge impact on the amount of people actively involved in the game.
“The SPL’s accreditation process has not changed since 2000, during which time participation levels in the United Kingdom and in Hampshire have seen a sharp decline.
“With so much effort being put into achieving our County 1 status, we have decided to try and maintain our position in this league, and as such we will aim to obtain the required accreditation standards again.
“We have made huge advances in the standard of the outfield. The removal of adult football is already showing huge improvements in this area.
“We plan to take up the Premier League’s to help us ensure that we have a lease/agreement in place to satisfy the accreditation requirements.
“We have played cricket on the current West Parley site for over 70 years, and the land is protected by a covenant to enable cricket to be played. The old lease ended August 2019, and all users are working with the Parish council to ensure security of tenure moving forwards.
“We are aware that there are other clubs in a similar position to us, and we await a reply to our request for a meeting with all the relevant parties to move this forwards and to show a commitment to our current players that the Southern Premier League will allow us promotion should we fulfil the accreditation requirements.”
Bookings are now being taken by the Hampshire Cricket Board for next month’s club welfare officer courses (cost £30 per course, card payments only). The last day to book is Sunday 29th February.
Bookings can be made via www.ageasbowl.com/cricket/cricket-board/courses/safeguarding
Sunday 15th March - Lyndhurst Community Centre (Beech Room) - SO43 7NY
0930-1230 Safeguarding & Protecting Children (SPC), 1300-1600 Safe Hands
Saturday 21st March - Crookhorn College, Waterlooville (Conference Room) - PO7 5UD
0930-1230 Safeguarding & Protecting Children (SPC), 1300-1600 Safe Hands
Wednesday 25th March - Ageas Bowl (Shaun Udal Suite) - SO30 3XH
1830-2100 Safe Hands Refresher (existing Club Welfare Officers only)
Sunday 29th March - Queen Mary's College, Basingstoke (Conference Room) - RG21 3HF
0930-1230 Safeguarding & Protecting Children (SPC), 1300-1600 Safe Hands
Hythe & Dibden have re-engaged 21-year old Zimbabwean Craig Stow as they bid to improve on last season's fourth placed finish and push for promotion from Southern Premier League Division 3.
Stow, pictured, scored 355 runs and picked up 26 wickets for the Waterside club, his highest score of 99 coming when Hythe & Dibden successfully chased down Tichborne Park's 266.
Hythe finished fourth behind champions Bashley (Rydal), Fawley and Hambledon in 2019, having gained promotion back to the SPL after winning the Hampshire League County Division 1 title the previous season.
Zac Miller, with 526 runs, and Tom Gates (469) were both well placed in last season's SPL3 batting charts, while village bobby Andy Wakely took 23 wickets. Looking in good form in the nets, opener Matt Young is confident of a run strewn summer.
Hythe will look to capitalise on a home start, with Trojans and relegated Basingstoke & North Hants visiting Jones Lane in the first two weeks of the season.
Shanklin president Bill Jenkins is 100 years old and is already and is counting down the days to the start of the new season and the promoted Island club’s first match as a Hampshire League County Division 2 club.
He celebrated his century, raising his bat at a special lunch with family and his Shanklin cricket colleagues in the local Conservative Club.
Bill has been with Shanklin for 60 years, having moved to Westhill from Havant, for whom he scored over 10,000 runs.
Reflecting on his century celebrations, Bill quipped: “I never got out in my nineties, always went on to make a hundred !”
An Inland Revenue inspector, he was transferred to the Isle of Wight in 1960, bought a house immediately opposite the ground and within a year was appointed Shanklin captain, a role he held for several years with great distinction.
During his long playing career he also captained the Isle of Wight representative team.
Bill retired from the Inland Revenue in 1982, but continued to play cricket, donning his whites for the last time when he was 70 years of age !
He subsequently became Shanklin chairman - a position he held for many years - and was also the chairman of the IW Cricket Association.
He became President of Shanklin CC in 1996, a position he still holds today.
Bill Jenkins was no mean footballer in his younger days, playing centre-half for Portsmouth Boys before moving back to his native Birmingham, where he played as a centre forward for Bromsgrove in the Midland league.
He was soon spotted by Aston Villa and was immediately given two central league outings alongside former Scottish international Jimmy Gibson.
Aston Villa ceased operating during the Second World War and Bill initially joined the Army Rifle brigade. Among the countries he served in were Africa, Austria and Italy.
At the end of the war he returned to live in Portsmouth and was offered trials with Southend United. However, he knew that it was too late to make a go as a football professional, and so he played locally for Havant Rovers for eight years before breaking his leg in a career ending accident, ironically in a Boxing Day Charity match.
But cricket, alongside his wife Eileen, remained his passion and he was still playing at the age of 70.
Extremely knowledgeable on his sport – especially his horse racing – he was often spotted popping into the bookies, placing a few bets and then watching his winners come in at the same time as watching the cricket !
When asked about how he has managed to remain independent he simply says: “I have been lucky” …