Champions: Hampshire’s County Championship 1973Martin Chandler |
Author: Allen, Dave
Publisher: Hampshire Cricket Heritage
Rating: 3.5 stars
Hampshire have won the County Championship twice, for the first time back in 1961, and then again twelve years later in 1973. By then their batting was led by Barry Richards and Gordon Greenidge, as exciting an opening pair as the game has seen. But then they always say bowlers win matches, and since then Hampshire have fielded men like Andy Roberts, Malcolm Marshall and Shane Warne, but the sides they played in never emulated the men of ’73.
Back in 1973, on paper at least, Hampshire’s was a far from intimidating attack. The seamers were Bob Herman, Tom Mottram, Mike Taylor and Trevor Jesty, none of whom were genuinely fast, and Jesty and Taylor were medium pacers. The spin attack was in the hands of two orthodox left arm spinners, the veteran Peter Sainsbury and New Zealander David O’Sullivan. All had excellent summers, and Mottram by a distance the best of his short career.
A fiftieth anniversary is always worth celebrating, so Hampshire historian Dave Allen has prepared this booklet for that purpose. Back in 1973 the counties played as many as 20 matches, each of three days, and these were the days of a single division and, two decades before Durham’s elevation, 17 First Class counties.
Remarkably only thirteen men appeared for the county in those 20 fixtures. There were three Test cricketers, the aforementioned Richards, Greenidge and O’Sullivan. Of the ten Englishmen who made up the squad none ever played for England, and the only two of them I recall ever being talked about in that context were Jesty and batsman David Turner.
The approach that Allen takes is, following a succinct introduction, to give a week by week summary of Hampshire’s summer. This allows him to make mention also of the other three competitions that the counties had to fight for. Hampshire were third in the Sunday League, but less successful in the two knockouts, the Gillette and Benson and Hedges Cups. There is then a page of quotes from contemporary writers followed by just enough statistics to put the season in context.
Naturally this booklet is aimed at and will appeal primarily to Hampshire supporters, but it also serves as a timely reminder to those of us who were there as to how well the domestic season worked in the days before the counties’ summers were ravaged by The Hundred.
As with the booklet on Derek Shackleton this one is not a limited edition as such, but there aren’t too many copies around. The author himself has a few copies left and he can be contacted via email at email@example.com and a few copies are with Roger Page in Melbourne.