Date added: October 11, 2011 Category: Andrew Carr
In the fifth of seventeen articles, one for each first class county (except Durham who have yet to produce 11 test cricketers), ANDREW CARR picks the best eleven who played for England.
The phrase ‘ancient and modern’ seems to most applicable to Hampshire.
One can go back to the 18th Century and The Hambledon Club (and its ground Broadhalfpenny Down) which dominated the game of cricket in England, both on and off the field, for about thirty years until the formation of the M.C.C. in 1787. They were the ancestors of Hampshire CCC. There is a wonderfully evocative essay, by the late Geoffrey Moorhouse, about Hambledon and Broadhalfpenny Down in his superb book ‘The Best Loved Game’, Hodder and Stoughton, London 1979.
One can then come forward to the 21st Century and The Rose Bowl, now a test match venue, and the immense contribution to the club made on the field by Shane Warne, and off it by Rod Bransgrove.
In 2011, they were relegated from Division 1 having finished bottom, fourth in Group B of the Clydesdale Bank 40, and having topped the South Group in the Friends Life T20, they were beaten on a rain-interrupted Finals Day in a one-over eliminator, after a tie with Somerset using Duckworth Lewis.
I cannot move on to selection issues without mentioning too the contribution of Colin Ingelby-Mackenzie. He was, as Wisden described him:
“...the most engaging personality, blessed by the sunniest of dispositions and possessed of the energy, enthusiasm and commitment to become a man of real achievement. He loved life and lived it to the full.”
He led the county to its first championship title in 1961, and although he was not in contention for test recognition, he was a fast-scoring and entertaining batsmen, and very popular both on and off the field.
The top five (albeit one bats at number six in the order...) picked themselves, as there were no other real competitors for places, other than Paul Terry, whose international career was brief and painful – in his third innings, his left ulna was fractured by a ball from Winston Davis and he was never considered again. I still see Michael Carberry, a one-test wonder at present, as a future possibility for selection.
Bobby Parks did keep for England as a substitute (v New Zealand at Lord’s in 1986) and is, statistically, the most successful keeper for the county with 700 career dismissals, but got no further. George Brown kept for England as well as opening the batting, so gets the gloves and opens with Chris Smith.
Three splendid all-rounders, Trevor Jesty, Jack Newman and Peter Sainsbury never received test honours, although Jesty played some ODI’s, so consequently all are ruled out of selection. I feel I should also mention James Southerton, who played for the county (and others) and took part in the first test match of all in 1877 at Melbourne. He remains the oldest test debutant at 49... He was also the first test cricketer to die.
The chosen attack is biased towards seam with two outstanding purveyors in Kennedy and Shackleton (ranked 7th and 8th on the all-time wicket-takers list – 2,874 wickets @ 21.23 and 2,857 wickets @ 18.65 respectively), supported by the quicker Bob Cottam and Butch White, who was genuinely fast on his day. Spin is handled by solid pro Shaun Udal.
For the future?
The Royals do have several potential ‘princes’ among them Michael Bates, Danny Briggs, Liam Dawson and James Vince. I would also include James Adams (their 2012 captain), though his age (31) may start to count against him with so many promising youngsters around the county circuit, and Michael Carberry. They all have the talent to challenge for places at a future consideration of the selection of this eleven – it’s up to them.
So Finally... the HAMPSHIRE XI
G. Brown +
C. L. Smith
R. A. Smith
C. P. Mead
K. P. Pietersen
L. H. Tennyson *
S. D. Udal
A. S. Kennedy
R. M. H. Cottam
D. W. White
So what do readers think, whether Hampshire supporters or not, of this best eleven? Look forward to receiving feedback!
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