The first known report of cricket in Lymington appeared in the Salisbury & Winchester Journal of July 20th 1807. The paper reported that ‘On Monday and Tuesday last was played at Lymington a match of cricket between 11 Gentlemen of Lymington and the district against 11 of Southampton which was won by the former by 37 runs’.
A return match played at Peartree Green proved to be rather less successful for Lymington who totalled 101 in their two innings in reply to Southampton’s 269. A third and deciding match at Brockenhurst was won by Southampton whose score of 111 was more than ample to overcome Lymington’s 18.
The next mention of cricket in the town came in September of 1813 when the Salisbury & Winchester Journal reported that, ‘On Monday last a grand match at Cricket was played on Pennington Common, for eleven guineas, between eleven gentlemen of the New Town and eleven of the Old Town of Lymington, which at first was well contested, but was ultimately won by the former, who beat their opponents by six wickets’. The article went on to report that ‘Both parties repaired to the Ship Inn, in Lymington, where a sumptuous supper was provided, and where, being joined by a number of friends, they remained till a late hour. During the evening many national toasts and sentiments were given and loyal songs sung, and the company separated in the greatest good humour and harmony.’ Even in those early days, it was apparent that post-match socialising was as important a part of cricket as it is today.
The following year the Hampshire Courier reported that a match between eleven married and eleven young men of the town was ‘decided in the favour of the latter, having three wickets to go down.’ Again, following the match the players ventured to the Ship Inn for supper.
In 1816 there was a report of Lyndhurst defeating Lymington by an innings and 123 runs, while the Hampshire Chronicle described a match on Pennington Common between ‘eleven young gentlemen of the borough of New Lymington and 11 young gentlemen of the manor of Old Lymington, which was decided in favour of the former by 16 runs’.
Cricket was clearly becoming a very popular pastime in post-Napoleonic War England. In 1820 a match on Pennington Common between Lymington and Milford drew a large crowd which prompted the press to comment that, ‘so great an assemblage of company can never be remembered, and the Common bore the appearance of a pleasure fair.’ Intriguingly, the report also reveals that the match was to be played for a ‘purse of 20 guineas’. Placing bets on the results of fixtures was an important part of the game. The report of the Lymington/Milford encounter went on to describe the variations in odds during the match: ‘Betting, at the outset, was 5 to 3 on Milford, which varied after the second innings of the Lymington Club to even, and afterwards, from Milford having 15 runs to get and 4 wickets to go down, 5 to 1 was freely offered throughout the field.’ Those lucky punters who placed their money on the home side were celebrating as Lymington won the match by 6 runs.
Ringwood were regular opponents in the early days of Lymington cricket, and a score sheet for the fixture between the two clubs in 1825 reveals several names which would feature in the development of both the club and town over the prevailing years: Green, Skeates Snr, Miller, Fig, Rogers, Skeates, Beckley, Hicks, St Barbe and Winsey. Ringwood would appear to have been the stronger of the two clubs on this occasion, beating Lymington by a convincing margin of an innings and 74 runs. Lymington’s top scorer was Rogers with 26 while Ringwood’s Critchell took 12 wickets in the match. Again the newspaper report mentioned the post match jolification: ‘The remainder of the day was spent in harmony and conviviality, and parted by singing the national anthem of ‘God save the King,’ and each party giving three hearty cheers as a token of good fellowship.’
Other opponents around this time included Minstead, Christchurch, Newport, Milton and Brockenhurst. Indeed, it was the latter club who in 1836 may well have been the first opponents to visit Lymington’s new ‘Bar Field’ ground which was used for the first time in this year.
Lymington cricket appeared to be thriving by the early 1840s. The club boasted a membership of upwards of 60 and it was reported that the team was unbeaten during the first half of the season. Lymington’s visit to Bolton Bench in 1846 to face the New Forest Cricket Club was captured in a painting which appeared Admiral Burrard’s ‘Red Book’. The illustration (above) depicts the last wicket stand which saw the New Forest successfully overcome Lymington’s 137 all out.
Lymington’s fortunes on and off the field fluctuated greatly from year to year, and it seems that the club even disbanded for a short while during the latter part of the 1840s. Happily, the club was revived and there followed a period of some success. 1853 was perhaps the best season since the formation of a cricket team in Lymington. At the end of the summer, following a win over South Hants, the Hampshire Independent wrote, ‘The Lymington Club have thus closed the season with high honour to themselves, and, with continued and liberal support, bid fair to prove themselves one of the strongest teams in the county.’
Interestingly, even back in those days matches between Lymington and teams from the Isle of Wight could be niggly affairs. Lymington’s attempts to boost their side with the inclusion of three South Hants players for their visit to Newport in 1854 was not well received on the other side of The Solent, despite the fact that the mainlanders were well beaten.
Whether or not any ill-feeling from that fixture was carried over is a matter of conjecture, but it may perhaps have contributed to an unsavoury incident some some eight years later on another visit by Lymington to Newport’s Trafalgar Road ground. Reports suggest that a disturbance broke out among the ‘large concourse of spectators’ and a Mr Charles Ingwell was charged with assaulting the police after giving ‘annoyance to spectators’. Ingwell was duly fined 20 shillings, plus 5 shillings costs.
By the 1860s press reports were beginning to mention individual performances rather than just the match results. Names that would become synonymous with Lymington cricket for many years began to crop up on a regular basis: Jenvey, Maturin, Crouch, to name but a few. Dr Henry Maturin was a renowned local club cricketer around this time and went on to appear for Hampshire on twelve occasions between 1864 and 1882. A distinguished all-rounder, Maturin’s availability for Lymington matches often appeared to be the difference between victory and defeat. This was no greater illustrated than in the innings victory over Lyndhurst in 1865 when he took 8 wickets and scored an unbeaten half century. Indeed, Lymington’s reliance on Maturin was subject of a good deal of debate in the local press during this year. A Hampshire Advertiser report concluded that Lymington’s defeat against a combined Brockenhurst and Pylewell XI was to be expected due to the absence of Maturin and another accomplished player by the name of Chapman, ‘whose effect on the score is like that of the weather on the thermometer’.
Scores in the latter half of the 19th Century could vary greatly. In 1860 Lymington recorded a creditable 233 against old adversaries Ringwood, but in the return fixture at Bickerley Common, Lymington were bowled out for just 9 in their first innings with seven Lymington batsmen failing to trouble the scorers.
A Professional Outlook
An elegantly-posed photograph (above), dated 1863, is believed to be the oldest pictorial image of a Lymington cricketer. The caption underneath reads: ‘Mr Cutts, Professional Cricketer, Lymington’. This would almost certainly be the same Mr Cutts who played for the club during the 1865 season and took 5 wickets in a heavy defeat against South Hants. The picture would also be the first reference to the club employing the services of a professional within its ranks – a practice which has continued into modern times. The benefits of a good professional were not necessarily confined to the cricket field, as was noted by the club in 1871: ‘It is understood that a professional is engaged to instruct the younger hands, and improve the older ones – a wise step, and one sure to pay.’
Like today, the recruitment of a professional made a good story for the local press. The Lymington Chronicle in 1874 made a colourful comment about Lymington’s professional bowler Gilbert: ‘His balls are sent in straight as an arrow and with the force of a catapult’.
Frank Goulding proved to be another successful professional recruit. In a comprehensive innings victory over Bournemouth in 1878 Goulding took 13 wickets and scored 55. In 1882 Goulding scored 96 – the highest recorded score yet by a Lymington batsman – against RA Golden Hill, and took 7 for 13 in the defeat of Brockenhurst. So it was perhaps with some regret that the club announced Goulding’s decision to take up the post of professional bowler with Boston Park Cricket Club in Brentford.
Goulding’s departure was tempered somewhat at the 1883 club AGM by the stunning news that Lymington had secured the services of the former England and Surrey cricketer Harry Jupp. This signing was a major coup for Lymington – only six years previous Jupp had been the first Englishman to score a Test half century in England’s first ever Test match against Australia in Melbourne. Jupp’s sound defensive technique earned him the nickname ‘Young Stonewall’. He also obviously displayed terrific powers of concentration. On several occasions for Surrey Jupp achieved the rare feat of being on the field for every run scored in a First Class match, batting through both of his side’s innings, occasionally keeping wicket too. Although Jupp made just two Test appearances – both on the inaugural Australia tour, he played in 378 First Class matches, scoring 15,319 runs including 12 centuries.
Some reports suggest that Jupp not only made England’s first ever Test half century, but that he was England’s first Test wicketkeeper too. The story goes that regular keeper Dick Pooley was unavailable for the start of that First Test due to being detained in jail in New Zealand following a dispute over betting with some inhabitants of the Shaky Isles.
There are many stories about Henry Jupp, but perhaps the most popular is the tale of when he was bowled first ball whilst batting for his local Dorking club. Instead of leaving the field, Jupp calmly replaced the bails and prepared himself for the next delivery. “Ain’t you going, Juppy?” enquired the umpire. “No”, replied Jupp, “not at Dorking I ain’t”.
Quite how or why Jupp came to play for Lymington is unclear, although it is known that he was running the Sun Hotel in Weston near Southampton two years prior to joining the club. It is known that Jupp went on to play for Buckinghamshire in 1886, three years before his death, in London, aged just 48.
Predictably, Jupp’s effect on Lymington’s results in 1883 were apparent as the club enjoyed a successful season. As well as taking a host of wickets – 11 versus Lyndhurst, 10 against Southampton – he also appeared to bring out the best in his teammates too. Against local rivals Milton, a bowler by the name of Hampton took all 10 wickets for 30 runs in Milton’s second innings, thus becoming the first of only three Lymington bowlers in the history of the club to achieve that feat. Later in the season the same bowler would almost repeat the achievement, taking 9 for 24 against Mudeford with the press reporting that Hampton received ‘a present of ‘talent’ money at the close’.
Henry Jupp wasn’t the only Test player to appear for Lymington around this time. Christopher Heseltine of Walhampton made 72 First Class appearances for Hampshire and, like Jupp, played twice for his country. In his second and final Test in 1896 Heseltine took 5 for 38 against South Africa at Johannesburg, and in later life was awarded an OBE.
Of course, employing professionals didn’t come cheaply, and Lymington’s 1884 AGM revealed that Jupp’s account for the previous season had amounted to £35-18s-2d. Perhaps with this in mind, the club decided against hiring a professional for the forthcoming season, except for important matches. Lymington’s results suffered accordingly with defeats against Bassett, Portswood, Brockenhurst and Battersea Park who amassed a massive 335 before bowling out Lymington for just 72.
Lymington’s results improved over the next few seasons, and the team generally won more matches than it lost. Totals of over 200 were still quite rare and matches were usually low scoring two innings affairs. One such example was the 1890 fixture against Lyndhurst who were twice bowled out for 43, with Lymington replying with 49 all out and 38 for 1. One performance in 1890 well worth noting was that of William Dible who took 8 for 5 against St Martins Athletic. Dible had just five years previously taken 7 for 60 for Hampshire against Sussex.
In 1893 HA Adams became the first batsman to record a century at the Sports Ground. His 110 runs, in a Lymington total of 172 was said to have included a drive for 8 (at the time there was no limit on the amount of runs that could be taken from a single delivery). Adams proved to be a prolific runscorer for the club during the mid 1890s. In 1893, as well as the aforementioned century, he also registered scores of 78 against Milford, 67 against Fawley and 71 against RA Golden Hill, not to mention 76 for the Lymington Single XI against their Married counterparts.
Ups and downs
Lymington’s fortunes continued to prosper, and in 1896 the club recorded one of the most convincing victories in its history. At the Sports Ground on Whit Monday Lymington scored a massive 372 for 4 declared against Yarmouth thanks to centuries from Heppenstall and Hibbert. The unfortunate Islanders were then bowled out for just 9 runs in 20 minutes. Yarmouth fared a little better in their second innings but were still dismissed for 50.
However, Lymington were themselves on the receiving end a year later as they were skittled out for just 8 runs against old rivals Ringwood. The first eight batsmen all registered ducks as Lymington were at one stage 2 for 8. Earlier, Ringwood had been dismissed for 61 with JW Gibson taking 6 wickets.
Fortunately, such batting calamities were few and far between, and with a run of victories over the likes of Ringwood, Brockenhurst and Pylewell Park in 1899, Lymington could look forward to the new century with a great deal of optimism.
There were some noteworthy individual performances in the early stages of the 20th century. Toogood, the club’s professional bowler for 1900 was, as his name suggested, too good for 91 opposing batsmen during the season, while in the same year Walter Turner produced the highest score yet by a Lymington batsman when he scored an unbeaten 163 in the 121 run victory over Trojans. Turner would later play First Class cricket, and in 1919 scored 172 for Essex against Middlesex.
Herbert Cullin Heppenstall was captain of the side around this time. A batsman of undeniable ability, he captained the side between 1898 and 1911, and went on to be president of the club until 1944. An important figure around the town, he was joint founder of Lymington Hospital and became Mayor of the Borough in 1922. During the First World War Herbert Heppenstall commanded the Lymington Company of the Hampshire Volunteers (a kind of ‘Dad’s Army’ of its day) which included several names well known to the cricket club such as Fred and Frank Totterdell and a young Leonard Hoare.
On the rise
As the standard of pitches at the Sports Ground improved, so did the scores. Among the batsmen to take full advantage of this were Lt Abercrombie and Charlie Down. Lt Cecil Halliday Abercrombie was a highly promising all rounder for Lymington and went on to make 126 for Hampshire on his debut First Class debut against Essex in 1913. Tragically, just three years later Abercrombie was killed aboard HMS Defence during the Battle of Jutland. Charlie Down was another accomplished all-rounder who would represent the club both on and off the field for many years. An elegant batsman and useful off-spin bowler, Down was perhaps a little harshly described as a ‘highly successful trundler’. He would be elected as a life member in 1952 in recognition of more than 50 years service to the club and he died, appropriately enough, while listening to a Test Match on the radio.
Almost 100 years before Lymington formed a women’s section, there was in 1903 a report of a ladies’ cricket match at the Sports Ground watched by ‘a very good attendance of the elite of the neighbourhood’. There was no mention of Lymington’s opponents, although the home side were apparently victorious with one lady scoring 40 in each innings.
Lymington continued their steady growth in the years leading up the the First World War. In 1913 a new pavilion was erected at the Cricket Field (as it was then known). In front of more than a hundred members and supporters of the club, the new building was officially opened by the Viscountess St Cyres of Walhampton. The town band played, and a commemorative match was staged between twelve from Lymington, Boldre and Pylewell against twelve from Brockenhurst, Milton, Milford and Sway – the latter scoring 137 for 7 in reply to the former’s 160.
Although there was the first mention of a Lymington Second XI in 1914, precious little cricket would be played for the next four years while the War dominated everyone’s thoughts.
Lymington’s Golden Age
Lymington finally recommenced playing in 1920. In time the 1920s and 30s would be seen as a golden period in the history of the club, not far behind the 1980s in terms of playing strength and success. The team contained hugely talented cricketers such as captain Dr Kay, Herbert ‘Ticker’ Firth, Dick Jenvey, Herbert Blagrave and Joe Walsh, to name but a few. Dr Kay was well known for his big-hitting, and legend has it that he once struck a ball out of the Sports Ground into St Thomas’ Street – if correct, a truly massive shot.
Cricket weeks were introduced in the early 1920s. In 1923 cricket week not only saw high scoring matches, but also a century from one of the elite band of Lymington players who appeared in Test matches. At the age of 57, General Robert M Poore (above) scored 124 against Dorset Rangers in a Lymington total of 459 for 8 (FC Weaver 127). Poore had previously made three appearances for South Africa and in 1899 scored 1,399 runs for Hampshire including 304 against Somerset at Taunton. Those runscoring feats earned Poore the Wisden Cricketer of the Year award for 1900.
A sign of how much the club had progressed came in 1925 when the First XI lost just three times in 26 matches. There were noteworthy wins over Trojans and the Hampshire Hogs, while Harland & Wolff were shot out for just 14 with Ticker Firth taking 6 wickets for 4 runs. Firth was a watchmaker in the town (hence the nickname) and a prolific all-rounder for Lymington. In 1926 alone he had the distinction of scoring 1,000 runs and taking 100 wickets. Walsh, Blagrave and Jack Booth were also in the runs in 1926, all three scoring centuries.
Herbert Blagrave was a pace bowler and free scoring batsman who had twice represented Gloucestershire. In later years he would become a racehorse trainer and president of Southampton Football Club. Joe Walsh was elected as First XI skipper in 1934 and would go on to captain the side for more than a decade. In the year 2000 club historian Norman Gannaway was invited to select his Lymington team of the Millennium and had no hesitation in naming Joe Walsh as his captain. As a skipper and bowler, Walsh used craft and guile to outfox his opposition, and he was as meticulous on the cricket field as he was off it. A cricketer of outstanding all-round ability (he averaged 80 in the 1943 season), Walsh possessed what Norman described as, “an innate shrewd awareness, with a clearly competitive outlook”.
The visit of I. Zingari to Lymington for a two day match in 1926 brought 933 runs spread over both days. For Zingari’s one-legged wicketkeeper Bunny Tattersall, the match also meant a 180 mile dash to collect a mechanical limb to replace the one which had been damaged during the first day’s play.
Almost certainly Lymington’s highest ever 7th wicket stand came in 1928 when Ben Maturin (175) and Ticker Firth (122 not out) added 293 runs against the Hampshire Hoggetts. Bert Matthews achieved another record-breaking feat a year later when he took all 10 Hordle wickets for just 15 runs for Lymington Second XI. Incredibly, Matthews repeated the act in 1931 when he took 10 for 27 against RAF Calshot.
Lymington’s good form continued into the 1930s. An MCC XI was defeated over two innings during cricket week in 1931 with Firth taking 9 wickets in the match. The following year Lymington notched up a massive 451 for 8 declared to beat Chiswick Priory with Owen Ayles scoring 108. The Second XI, under the captaincy of John Howlett, was also dominant, losing just twice in 1932 – ironically to Boldre on both occasions.
Strange as it may seem now, for many years spectators had to pay an admission fee to enter the Sports Ground to watch Lymington matches. By 1929, however, gate receipts had fallen to £7 11s 1d and so the club decided scrap entrance fees in 1930 and rely on collections instead. This appeared to be a shrewd move as the collections amounted to £11 10s 5d.
The Stone Cup
When, in 1933, the Mayor, Alderman EAG Stone, generously donated a cup to be competed for by local cricket clubs, he could scarcely have realised that for the next 55 years the Stone Cup would become such an institution in the local cricketing calendar. Each match was held at the Sports Ground with the innings of the team batting first lasting no longer than one hour. The competition proved to be a great draw for local cricket spectators, and the collections from the sizeable crowds in turn helped to boost Lymington’s ailing finances.
Lymington were dominant in the early years of the Stone Cup, initially entering two teams. Indeed in the inaugural season Lymington’s A team met the the B side in the final, Firth’s 5 for 20 tipping the balance for the former. In an earlier round Perce Goff had scored an amazing 158 against Brockenhurst B.
The Lymington B team had to wait just two years to avenge that cup final defeat, beating their club counterparts in the 1935 final by 6 runs in front of a large crowd. Perce Goff proved to be the match winner, taking 5 wickets, including that of the dangerous Dick Jenvey. Jenvey had, in the previous season, recorded the highest individual total by a Lymington player when he scored 202 not out against Aldenham at the Sports Ground. He batted for five hours and the innings included 17 fours and 5 sixes. Jenvey’s record stood for 67 years until Australian Brian Clemow scored 213 not out in a Southern Premier League match against Cove at the Sports Ground in 2001. As well as being a talented batsman, Dick Jenvey was also a highly adept groundsman who kept the Sports Ground square in top condition for a number of years.
Harold Gossip, who had shared a century stand with Jenvey during his famous Aldenham innings, also enjoyed a successful 1934 season scoring nearly 400 runs including an unbeaten century versus Poole. The following season Gossip would gain the distinction of becoming the first Lymington batsman to be dismissed under the revised LBW law when Lymington took on New Milton. Ironically, many years later Harold Gossip’s son Nick would become a stalwart of New Milton Cricket Club, although occasionally touring with Lymington.
Lymington’s GL Jones made nine First Class appearance for Hampshire during the 1937 season, recording a top score of 37 not out against the touring New Zealanders at Dean Park. In his five innings for Lymington Jones averaged a remarkable 129.5.
Adolf Hitler, presumably a secret cricket lover, waited for the 1939 season to end before invading Poland. This gave Lymington‘s WEN (Bill) Scott ample opportunity to score a hatful of runs, including exactly 100 in the draw with Bournemouth and 70 in the 10 wicket win over Ringwood. Hailing from the Isle of Wight, Scott came to Lymington in the 1930s in pursuit of a banking career, and soon formed an opening partnership with Jack Williams (ironically, another banker). Just two years before joining Lymington Scott had played five times for Hampshire, making a highest score of 35 at Portsmouth against a Nottinghamshire side including Harold Larwood.
Cricket continued to be played during the War years, although there was generally a limited programme of fixtures and Lymington ran just one XI. There were still a number of outstanding performances to report. In 1944 Jimmy Green took 9 for 36 against a combined Boldre & Brockenhurst XI, while a year later Arthur Smith took 8 Calmore wickets for just 10 runs. Lymington teamed up with Southampton Touring Club (who included Arthur Holt and Lloyd Budd) to defeat the renowned British Empire XI by 42 runs.
Many of Lymington’s wartime fixtures were against service XIs. One such match versus HMS Safeguard was abandoned due to the smoke caused by an Air Raid Precaution smokescreen drill. During the War Lymington also started playing Sunday matches, although only on the strict instructions from the local vicar that the games commence after the end of the morning church service and conclude before the start of evensong.
The War affected just about everyone’s lives in the town, not least Lymington cricketer Dick Marshall. He had been captured by the Germans in North Africa and spent the duration of the War in a POW camp. A giant of a man, Marshall was a successful seam bowler and a fine striker of the ball. On a visit to Winchmore Hill he achieved the rare feat of hitting a six on to the roof of the pavilion. A butcher by trade, Marshall was a handy man to have in the club because, as Lew Gregory puts it, “we never went short of sawdust or white coats for the umpires!” Marshall became chairman of the club a number of years later, and was generally described by all who knew him as, “a lovely man”.
The Stone Cup resumed in 1946 and was won by Lymington who beat RAF Calshot by 74 to 62. Arthur Curtis, a fierce competitor and fine cover point fielder, scored a century in the competition against SMES, and also notched up 708 runs in all other forms of the game during the year. Best bowling analysis in the Stone Cup undoubtedly went to Arthur Smith who took 9 for 32 against the Lymington Youth Fellowship. By the late 1940s Smith had established himself as one of Lymington’s all-time great bowlers. As if to emphasise this he took each of the five wickets to fall when Worcestershire brought a near full strength side to the Sports Ground in 1948. The fixture came about thanks to Worcestershire’s Reg Perks who had been stationed locally during the War. Although Lymington were predictably no match for the county side, Smith’s spell of 16 overs, 5 for 33, and Dick Rowe’s six-strewn 44, were the two performances that caught the eye.
Another county side graced the Sports Ground a few months later when Hampshire defeated Lymington, despite the fact that the hosts used 15 batsmen. Hampshire’s Tom Dean took 10 for 48 as Lymington’s XV totalled just 97 (Mike Dupre 25). Johnny Arnold scored 70 as Hampshire earned a comfortable victory.
The decade ended with Frank Robinson taking 5 for 6 as Lymington skittled out Pylewell Park for just 13.
With several members of the team coming towards the end of their careers, Lymington First XI sometimes found the going tough during the 1950s. However, the Second XI under Dick Jenvey’s captaincy enjoyed one of their best ever seasons in 1950 with excellent performances from Terence Walsh who took 9 for 14 in the win over SRDE at Somerford and Bill Brooks who scored exactly 100 against Hordle. Spinner Terence Walsh possessed the most peculiar bowling action, releasing the ball at a decent pace from almost behind his right ear, making it extremely difficult for the batsman to pick up the flight.
Over the years, Terence Walsh’s unorthodox action would bamboozle many a batsman. There is a story of one such batsman, Reg Haskell, walking away from the crease having been comprehensively bowled by Terence, repeatedly muttering to himself, “I don’t believe it”.
The finest performance of the 1950 season came from 16 year old debutant Raymond Flood who scored 85 in a then record stand of 139 for the fifth wicket with Sid Fryer against Pylewell Park.
When club stalwart Frank Robinson sadly passed away in 1953 it was decided that a trophy in his name would be awarded to the Second XI player of the year. The very first recipient was bowler Ken Savill who not only took 60 wickets in the season but also achieved the extremely rare distinction of taking all 10 in an innings at Pylewell Park
1958 saw the resignation of Leonard Hoare as Honourary Secretary, to be replaced by Lewis Gregory. Leonard had held the post since 1922 when, in his own prophetic words, he had agreed to do it “until someone else can be found.”
Many local cricketers owe Leonard a big debt of gratitude for introducing them to the game. Ray Flood had begun his cricketing life at the Sports Ground as a scoreboard operator on the orders of Len Hoare who was a schoolmaster at Lymington Church of England School. “I didn’t have much choice, really” he recalled, “Mr Hoare told me, “You WILL do the scoreboard on Saturday, Flood!” and that was it.” Leonard later sent Flood for a trial with Hampshire and the young batsman went on to play 24 First Class matches for the county with a top score of 138 not out against Sussex at Hove in 1958.
Leonard would also encourage boys from the school to push the big old roller up and down the Sports Ground square, and was perhaps best remembered for taking a collection box around the boundary during important Stone Cup matches, and shaking it vigorously until spectators eventually put some money in. In 1949 he had the honour of becoming Lymington Cricket Club’s first Life Member.
Youngsters coming to the fore at the beginning of the 1960s included Robin Goff, Michael Pardey and John Chidsey, the latter scoring 500 runs in 1961. But it was generally a barren spell for Lymington as was reflected by the 1960 season when just 5 matches were won out of the 30 played.
It would take a good few years for things to improve significantly. Arguably, the turnaround in fortunes can be attributed to the introduction of Sunday cricket at Lymington, and the arrival of influential players such as Chris Allen, Brian Hobby and Andrew King.
Lymington had traditionally only organised Saturday fixtures, and several members of the side would go off and play for other local sides on Sundays. But with the encouragement of Chris Allen and Andrew King, Lymington adopted a full Sunday programme in 1966 and this trend began to be reversed. Players such as David Thompson, Chris James and Alan Wheeler came to play Sunday cricket and, in due course, would turn out for the club on Saturdays too.
Brian Hobby was one of Lymington’s most effective all rounders during the 1960s and also a thoughtful captain. He joined the club as an opening batsman, but developed into a fine seam bowler who could bowl big away swingers. Former teammate Chris James considers Brian to have been, “a typical English seam bowler: not overly quick, but on the uncovered wickets of his day he could be extremely effective.” Brian was also an accomplished batsman with a highest score of 110 for Lymington; and he was always the most immaculately dressed member of the team, whether on or off the field. On a very hot day in 1968 Brian took nine wickets against Bournemouth Amateurs to win the game, and while the rest of the team came off hot and thirsty, Brian reportedly left the field with not one bead of sweat on him, and his hair still immaculately groomed!
Andrew King had moved into the area in 1966 when he took up a teaching post at Brockenhurst Grammar School. He went on to play for Lymington for seven seasons before taking up another teaching post in Sussex. During his time at Lymington Andrew was instrumental in bringing several fellow teachers into the club, including Steve Goater and Peter Green, and the excellent pace bowler from Yorkshire, David Maughan. King himself was a more than useful wicketkeeper/batsman who was always highly competitive. In 1969 alone he scored more than 1,100 runs and took 40 catches and 10 stumpings.
Perhaps the finest batting performance of the decade came in 1969 from 19 year old Graham Waters. His 172 against Gosport at the Sports Ground included 6 sixes and 25 fours. The enigmatic Waters then followed it up with 140 against Hythe, before making himself unavailable for the following week due to a pop festival. Andrew King recalls, “It must have been a good pop festival because we didn’t see him again for about six weeks! He didn’t play too many games for the club; when I last heard of him he was a postman.” Waters arguably holds the record for the biggest six in the club’s history, certainly one to rival Dr Kay’s strike into St Thomas’ Street some five decades earlier. As Brian Hobby remembered: “Graham hit the ball way over the houses at The Tins end and it ended up on the steps of the old Lyric cinema in St Thomas’ Street. It was definitely the biggest hit I ever saw at the ground”.
With the influx of players, results slowly improved, and in 1970 Lymington lost just two of its 41 matches played. One of the most notable successes came against Guildford side Burpham who returned home with a crushing 10 wicket defeat courtesy of an unbeaten stand of 165 between Robin Goff and Dave Paramore.
In 1970 Lymington tasted success in an evening knockout competition for the first time in more than twenty years when they defeated Calmore by 11 runs in the final of the Sidney Wyatt Cup at Bolton’s Bench. Paramore guided Lymington to 105 for 3, before Hobby’s 4 wickets helped restrict Calmore to 94 for 6.
There was further good news with the selection of Peter Barrett for England Schoolboys (Peter’s England Schoolboys cap is pictured on the back cover of this brochure). The following year Peter, with 762, was one of five Lymington batsmen to top 500 runs; the others being Andrew King (905), Robin Goff (807), Bill Craft (531) and Garth Thomas (514).
In 1971 Lymington again reached the Sidney Wyatt final, but were this time beaten by Paultons. In the Stone Cup Lymington, defending a respectable 131 for 5 (Bill Craft 44), appeared to be cruising to victory until Lyndhurst’s John Harris smashed a superb 82 to win the match with seven balls to spare.
The coming of league cricket
The Southern Cricket League had been formed in 1969, but Lymington had opted not to be involved. Strange as it may seem, there were those on the committee who felt that league cricket was a passing fad that wouldn’t last. However, by 1973 Andrew King had managed to persuade the club that the time was right to join the newly established Hampshire Cricket League, and on Saturday May 12th, 1973 Lymington took on Worthies in their first ever league match. Appropriately enough, King struck the first ball of the match for four and Lymington went on to score 307 for 3 declared with King (102), Peter Barrett (104) and Steve Goater (66) all finding league cricket much to their liking. Worthies were then dismissed for just 30 with Chris Allen taking the first eight of his huge haul of Lymington league wickets for just 14 runs. Ironically, Lymington’s 277 run victory was not only their first, but would also prove to be largest winning margin ever recorded by the club in a league fixture.
Success continued throughout the 1973 season, and just one match (against Petersfield) was lost as Lymington cruised to the Hampshire League Division 2 title. Chris Allen topped the league bowling averages with 50 wickets among a personal total of 140 in all cricket. Elegant middle order batsman Bill Craft notched up 1,083 runs in all competitions.
The following season Lymington more than held their own in Division 1, and had the added bonus of a rare Stone Cup win when they defeated old foes Lyndhurst by 5 runs. The Second XI were also in league action for the first time, competing in the newly established New Forest League. A creditable fourth place out of 17 was due largely to the fine form of Len Booker who took 37 wickets and scored 235 runs, while there were also contributions from Peter Soffe (257 runs) and Chris James (242).
In June 1975 Peter Barrett made his First Class debut for Hampshire against Yorkshire at Sheffield’s Abbeydale Park.
In 1976 no fewer than five bowlers – John Stanley, Mike Barton, Len Booker, Chris James and George Hollobone – took 20 or more wickets for the Second XI. Jack Barrett, a sound batsman and widely regarded as one of the finest slip fielders in the history of the club, topped the batting charts with 265 runs as Lymington finished third. The First XI, meanwhile were not so successful, finishing in 13th place. Only batsmen Don Whitlock (308) and John Lawson (207) scored in excess of 200 as runs were generally hard to come by in a campaign marked by heavy reverses against Hythe & Dibden and New Milton. Butch White inspired Milton to a 7 wicket win over Lymington, the lightening quick Hampshire bowler taking 5 wickets before wrapping up the match with a series of huge sixes. The Hythe defeat saw Lymington skittled out for just 42 with Phil Pick taking 6 for 15. Hythe also recorded a comprehensive 8 wicket win over Lymington in the Sidney Wyatt final.
Butch White’s fearsome pace would achieve legendary status in local cricket. Robin Goff recalls how on one occasion against the Hampshire Club & Ground side he upset Butch by edging a ball to the boundary. “He wasn’t happy and he let me have a short one next ball. I felt it go past my ears and heard it thud into Brian Timms’ gloves before I could even lift the bat”.
Lymington made the local news headlines in 1976 when it was announced that a team of touring Rhodesians wanted to play a match at the Sports Ground. This proved to be a highly contentious issue at the time as it would have contravened the British Government’s policies on sporting links with Rhodesia and the fixture was dropped.
Into the Southern League
The club took the major step of entering both its two Saturday sides into the Southern League in 1978. The Second XI, which had won the New Forest League the previous season, took its place in a Second XI Championship. But both teams were to find the going extremely tough in that first season, with the First XI winning just twice (against Poole and New Milton), and the Seconds winning just three times. Steve Coltman was top runscorer for the Firsts with 307 runs, while youngsters John Williamson (215) and Roy Harris (209) were the main contributors for the Second XI.
Sadly, having organised and hosted the Stone Cup since 1933, Lymington decided to hand over the running of the competition to the New Forest Club Cricket Association in 1978. Interest had certainly waned in recent years and the once profit-making competition had started to incur financial losses. The club also pointed to over-use of the Sports Ground square as another reason.
In many ways, the end of Lymington’s association with the Stone Cup was a sad development. Over the years it had become part of local cricketing folklore, with oft-told tales of huge crowds at the Sports Ground for important matches. Having won the competition six times in its first 15 seasons, Lymington thereafter only won it on one more occasion, in 1974. Various theories suggest why Lymington, after that successful early run, fared so badly in the competition in later years. Brian Hobby feels that many players preferred not to play the limited overs format as it was not considered to be ‘proper cricket’. Some may have even felt that the Stone Cup was below them in some way. It was certainly true in later years that Lymington rarely fielded their best XI in the cup, and the team also suffered from a lack of competitive league cricket, something that unquestionably gave Bournemouth League clubs such as Rydal a distinct advantage in cup competitions. Rydal’s Brian Pardey also makes the valid point that most Lymington batsmen were generally too correct for the shorter format of the game when the long handle was often called for. One exception to this was George Crouch, a hugely powerful puller and hooker of the ball who was well suited to limited overs cricket.
In 1977 the club entered a side in the New Forest Indoor League at Brockenhurst College. Indoor cricket would prove to be a popular winter pastime for Lymington cricketers and some years later the club would enter the Farley’s Indoor League at Eastleigh’s Fleming Park.
The calm before the storm
The introduction of Hampshire’s Mike Bailey helped the team climb the table to 12th place in 1979. Bailey showed his undoubted class in the 74 run win over old rivals New Milton, scoring 67 and taking 5 wickets. Other contributors in that victory were Mike Halliwell with 52 and Colin Coxon who scored an unbeaten 54.
Despite 370 runs from the club’s new young batsman Jon Hardy, only four matches were won in the 1980 season. The Seconds also suffered from a lack of batting, highlighted by the low scoring match against New Milton when Lymington, replying to Milton’s 91 all out, were themselves shot out for just 64. Tony Jenkin at least provided some cheer against Petersfield with match-winning figures of 7 for 64.
Fortunes sank even lower the following year with the Firsts finishing 16th and the Seconds just one place higher. To make matters worse, at the end of the season prolific spinner Don Whitlock joined Rydal. Away from the rigours of league cricket Brian Rickman took 6 for 8 (including a hat trick) as Exbury were dismissed for 28.
Brian Rickman’s speciality was the famous ‘ice-ball’, a lobbed delivery which could induce confusion in the batsman who was unsure whether to charge up the pitch and hit it on the full or wait for it to bounce. The end result was generally either a catch in the deep or a stumping. The ultimate gentleman on and off the field, Brian did everything possible to encourage youngsters to play the game, and to that end founded The Elite cricket team in 1983 principally for those too young or too old to take part in league matches.
1982 got off to the worst possible start for Lymington cricket when the hugely talented Under 15 colt Quentin Lacey was involved in a horrific accident while cycling home from school. Quentin, described as a “born leader” by his colts manager Chris Whitehouse, fought a brave battle to recover from his terrible injuries, and in 1986 was awarded life membership of the club.
On a happier note 1982 marked the 175th anniversary of Lymington Cricket Club, and to celebrate the event Norman Gannaway produced an extensive history of the club. Four years later Norman penned another book, ‘The Barfield’, to mark 150 years of cricket at Lymington Sports Ground. Norman’s association with Lymington stretched back to 1942 when, as a young lad and with the encouragement of Mr Leonard Hoare, he became a scorer for the club. Over the years Norman also filled various roles, including president, secretary, umpire and club historian, and under the pen name ‘Spectator’ wrote regular nostalgic articles for the club programme.
Jon Hardy’s election as First XI captain in 1982 was to trigger the most successful period in the club’s history. After a poor start to the season the team rallied to finish in tenth place. This improvement co-incided with the introduction of several new faces – New Zealander Andrew Jones and South African Peter Williams among them. A run to the Echo Trophy semi-final was another sign of the team’s growing potential.
Two Sunday Second XI batsmen deserve special mention for noteworthy performances in 1982. Against Hythe & Dibden at the Sports Ground, Edward Wilson scored a remarkable 167 in a Lymington total of 259 for 5. Wilson’s innings included 11 sixes and 6 fours. In a 10 wicket win at Pennington, James Lowe scored an unbeaten 64 out of a total of 68 for 0, Lowe’s fellow batsman John Pawley ending on 0 not out.
The ‘big jump’
Reflecting on the First XI’s marked improvement during the previous season, Chairman Richard Truscott warned members against getting too carried away in 1983. “There is a small difference between abject failure and medium success”, he stressed, “but a big jump to being a serious contender for Southern League honours”. A few months later Jon Hardy and his new look squad were preparing to make the ‘big jump’.
The Chairman needn’t have worried. From the opening day 7 wicket success at Gosport, to the final day victory at New Milton, Lymington were unstoppable. In the space of four months the team swept all before them, creating records left, right and centre, and etching their name both in club and league history. Not only were the team unbeaten all season, but such was their superiority that they dropped just 9 points all summer. The formidable bowling attack of Peter Williams, Stephen Andrew, Jeff Hose, Alan Wright and Dick Page never once conceded more than 200 in an innings, while tailender Page was not required to bat in any match.
The young captain Hardy led from the front with 607 runs, while Andrew Jones had an inspired season, averaging 107 with the bat, taking 12 wickets and holding on to 17 catches.
Lymington also had a good run in the Bertie Joel Trophy, defeating Gosport, Wimbledon, Worcester Park and Maidenhead & Bray, before eventfully losing to Epsom.
Peter Tapper kindly volunteered to sort out the travel arrangements for Lymington’s tie with Worcester Park. However, with all the plans in place and a coach booked for the trip to London, Tapper was somewhat embarrassed to discover that Lymington had in fact been drawn at home!
A season of so much joy and celebration ended on a desperately sad note with the tragic deaths of 16 year old Glenn Whitehouse in September, and Peter Barrett just a month later. A pace bowler with huge potential, Glenn had taken 19 wickets for the Second XI during the 1983 season, and was surely destined for greater things. Peter had played for the club since the age of 15 and had made six First Class appearances for Hampshire.
1984: double trouble
Despite the departures of Andy Jones and Peter Williams, Lymington carried on their unbeaten run well into the 1984 season. The team was further weakened by Hampshire’s selection of both Stephen Andrew and Jon Hardy – the latter scoring an unbeaten 94 against Somerset on his First Class debut. But in Hardy’s absence Lymington broke the Southern League record for consecutive victories in some style with a massive 178 run win – their 25th in a row – over New Milton.
On July 24th, the Echo even suggested that Lymington should put the champagne on ice following their 7 run win over nearest rivals Gosport. However, with the title within touching distance Lymington incredibly lost their next three matches against Bournemouth, Alton and Trojans, and hopes of a second consecutive title were gone.
Peter Tapper ended the season with 500 runs ahead of youngster Max Smith who totalled 376. Tapper and Clive Plant both shared the Southern League six-hitting award, and spinner Chris Allen also clinched the League’s bowling award with 36.
Lymington also came tantalisingly close to winning the Echo Trophy. Following huge wins over Trojans (Jon Hardy smashing 110 not out and a car window) and South Wilts (Lymington scoring a then record 221 for 6), in the semi final Lymington registered a nailbiting 1 wicket win over Winchester. Having restricted opponents Waterlooville to 92 for 5 in the final at the County Ground, Lymington appeared to be cruising to victory. But from 50 for 2 Lymington collapsed, losing their last 8 wickets for just 29 runs, with Ville’s man-of-the-match Neil McGarry taking 5 for 13 in 6 overs.
The club’s Second XI lost their first eight matches but recovered well to finish 10th in 1984, while the Third XI, in its first season in the New Forest League, secured a mid-table finish. Bob Iles snared a highly creditable 48 wickets, ahead of Luigi Di Maria who took 20. Jack Barrett headed the Third XI batting averages, while promising batsman Neil Perrett scored a century for the Sunday Seconds. Off the field, in an effort to raise vital funds the club launched a matchday programme.
1985 saw the arrival of several new faces at the Sports Ground. All rounder Neil Trestrail joined the club from Sussex League side Horsham. Trestrail’s club debut was most definitely worthy of mention – a half century and 7 for 55 in the friendly fixture with Trojans. Also arriving at the Sports Ground were Surrey Second XI batsman Paul Taylor and Chris Noble from Ellingham. In July the team was strengthened further by the arrival of South African leg spinner Richard McGlashan who made an immediate impact with three wickets in each of his first three matches and went on to score the League’s fastest fifty (29 balls) of the season.
While perhaps not being the all-conquering force of two years previous, Lymington were nonetheless never out of the top two all season. The side lost just two matches on their way to the championship, although once again they almost contrived to throw away the title. Going into the last match at Bournemouth, just 8 points were required to ensure the championship. Neil Trestrail’s 5 for 32 helped dismiss Bournemouth for 159 with the final wicket – that of tailender Paul Garlick – coming off the very last ball of the innings. Garlick’s dismissal, courtesy of a catch by Paul Taylor off Trestrail, gave Lymington a crucial extra two bowling points. This meant that only two batting points were now required. This seemed a mere formality as Lymington cantered to 142 for 3, but high drama followed as the innings then collapsed to 149 for 8. It was left to Jeff Hose to score the 150th run of the innings to ensure the precious eighth bonus point with just a few balls of the innings remaining. Despite going on to lose the match by 5 runs, the bonus points were enough to give Lymington the title by just 0.14 points on average.
As Lymington’s relieved players cracked open the champagne at Kinson, 35 miles away Trojans, the team who Lymington had pipped for the title, were also celebrating, believing that Lymington had not reached the required points total. They wrongly assumed that the two extra bonus points gained for bowling out a team only applied if the team went on to win the match.
Lymington’s title success proved to be a real team effort, with everyone chipping in at various times of the season. Paul Taylor led the batting averages with 413 runs, but there were also significant contributions from Max Smith (329), Tapper (281), Trestrail (226) and Will Seaby (169). Chris Allen topped the bowling averages with 32 wickets at just 12.68, while the ever reliable Dick Page took 27 and McGlashan 19.
Trojans gained some compensation for losing the league title by defeating Lymington by 19 runs in the semi-finals of the Echo Trophy. In the Sydney Wyatt Trophy Lymington were defeated by Lyndhurst in the final for the third year running.
The Second XI finished the 1985 season in seventh place, with teenage wicketkeeper/batsman Derek Pepperell enhancing his growing reputation with scores of 66 versus Waterlooville and 74 not out (in a Lymington total of 111 for 4) against Deanery. Nick Gannaway’s Third XI won 11 matches to ensure a second place finish, the highlights being Luigi Di Maria’s 8 wicket haul against Romsey and David Coles’ 89 at Minstead. Chris Cooper received the Third XI player of the year award for his 279 runs, and it was estimated that the 19 year old had scored more than a thousand runs in all cricket during the season.
Sunday cricket was positively booming in 1985. The First XI lost just once, while George Hollobone’s Second XI (more popularly known as ‘Hollobone’s Heroes’) won two matches and drew most of the rest. It’s hard to believe nowadays when the popularity of social cricket is on the wane, but back then Lymington also fielded a Third XI under the name of the ‘Woodside Wanderers’. The team won 10 of its 16 matches in 1985 with Tim Hunter scoring 106 not out against Exbury.
Indoor cricket was also rising in popularity, and a Lymington team was entered into the Farley’s Indoor League at Eastleigh’s Fleming Park. In the New Forest Indoor League Lymington achieved their second consecutive promotion in winning the Division Three title.
Neil Trestrail would go on to become one of Lymington’s all-time highest runscorers in the Southern League. A hugely likable and colourful character, Neil’s competitive streak sometimes led to the odd spot of bother on the cricket field (on one never-to-be-forgotten occasion an opposing captain actually took a swing at Neil during the toss-up!), although differences of opinion are invariably sorted out amicably over a pint in the clubhouse after the game.
Damian Shirazi, who lists Neil as one of the major influences in his development as a cricketer, sums Neil up well: “An unbelievable competitor and shrewd captain; nasty and aggressive on the pitch; an absolute gent off it.”
Lymington relinquished their league title to South Hants Touring Club in 1986 in a season decimated by the weather. But Lymington still managed a second place finish and again reached the semi-finals of the Echo Trophy. Another South African, Paul Smith, troubled opposition batsmen with his lively pace all season, taking 30 wickets at 12.66 apiece. Paul Taylor’s 422 runs made him Lymington’s top scorer with Peter Tapper next on 268. Derek Pepperell performed well enough to be selected for Hampshire Under 19s, and would later appear for Hampshire Second XI and Dorset.
In an indifferent season for the Second XI, newcomer David Griffiths topped the batting averages – something he would do on a regular basis over the next 20 years – with 261 runs at 21.7. Tony Thorp became the first Lymington Third XI player to score a century with 102 in the defeat of Minstead, and Luigi Di Maria and Matt Hayward both figured in the New Forest League Division 3 averages with 40 and 35 wickets respectively. To accommodate the growing number of youngsters progressing onto senior cricket from the colts section, a Fourth XI under the captaincy of Chris Walford was established in 1986. Despite predictable teething problems, there was great encouragement in the displays of young bowlers John McGuirk and Neil Pardoe who both took 16 wickets, and Dominic Di Maria who scored 108 runs.
On Spring Bank Holiday Monday Lymington hosted three special matches to celebrate 150 years of cricket at the Sports Ground. A match between a Lymington side captained by Robin Goff and a New Forest XI was won by the home side by 5 wickets, while down at Woodside a New Forest Under 19 side recorded a last ball victory over Lymington Under 19s. There were also many familiar old faces on show as the New Forest Veterans comfortably defeated a Lymington side featuring the likes of Jack Barrett, Bill Craft, Lew Gregory, David Heppenstall and three Flood brothers including former Hampshire batsman Raymond. Umpiring in the main match at the Sports Ground was Walt Drodge, a highly respected umpire who stood in First XI matches for a number of years. During the season Walt was given the honour of officiating at Arundel when the Duchess of Norfolk’s XI hosted the Indian tourists.
The 1986 edition of Wisden mentioned six past and present Lymington players – Jon Hardy, Stephen Andrew, Andrew Jones, Richard McGlashan, Peter Williams and Paul Smith.
Perhaps as a result of Lymington’s emergence as a force in recent years, the Southern League decided to change their rules on the use of overseas players. From the 1987 season clubs would have the choice of fielding either one overseas player or one contracted county professional, unless the county professional was deemed to be ‘home-grown’.
Back to reality
After the euphoria of the previous four seasons, Lymington First XI were highly disappointed to finish ninth in 1987. Neil Trestrail, despite missing a fair proportion of the season due to work commitments, was Lymington’s most successful player with 414 runs at an average of 69 and 19 wickets at 12.8. The Second XI fared even worse, winning just 6 matches, although they did record a noteworthy 5 wicket win over Second XI championship leaders Bournemouth with captain Jerry Holt scoring an unbeaten 44.
John McGuirk’s 27 wickets for the Third XI earned him an end-of-season call up for the Seconds, while a half century from captain Chris Walford against Michelmersh inspired the Fourth XI to a first win of the season in early August.
Lymington’s Sidney Wyatt Cup quarter final clash with Bashley produced the highly unusual spectacle of two tied matches, before the Hampshire League side eventually won through in the second replay.
A midweek league featuring a host of local clubs including Lymington, Hordle, Bashley, Pennington, Burley, New Milton and West Hants Water Company was established in 1987. Under Ronnie Hawker’s leadership Lymington won three of their 11 matches in that opening season. Another midweek competition, the Whitbread pub six-a-sides, saw Lymington’s White Hart team beat their namesakes from Penton Mewsey in the final. In an earlier round Lymington’s Peter Tapper (182) and Guy Hayward (77) had amassed a huge 277 for no wicket in just 12 overs against the Royal Oak at Bartley’s quaint ground in the middle of the New Forest.
The White Hart, run by the inimitable John Mayman, had become a second home for Lymington cricketers during the winter months, not to mention a useful recruiting ground for needy captains on a Friday night during the season. Fourth XI captain Chris Walford spent many Friday nights at the pub hoping to persuade anyone who looked remotely athletic into playing for his side the following afternoon. “We generally succeeded in getting a side together,” Chris commented, “although in hindsight it must have cost me a small fortune in beer!”
Chris Walford was a dedicated clubman who took on a number of roles and spent endless hours organising and captaining sides. Eventually Chris decided it was time to take a rest, and announced his decision to move to Milford Cricket Club where, it was intended, he would simply play cricket without the burden of so much off-field responsibility. However, all didn’t go according to plan.“Within weeks I was Milford’s captain, secretary and groundsman!” he laughed.
In early July Lymington hosted a strong Inanda team featuring eight former Rhodesians. Lymington were skittled out for just 53 giving Inanda a handsome 160 run victory. With the Lymington club President David Heppenstall having strong links with Rhodesia, many of the visitors ended up at his house until the early hours of the morning sampling KWV wine and listening to Rhodesian records.
During the winter a Lymington Cricket Club XI defeated a Lymington Town FC XI 7-3 with Luigi Di Maria bagging four goals. The footballers gained their revenge during the summer in a return cricket match with Russell Perrett – who would go on to play for Portsmouth, Cardiff and Luton Town – making 64 in the footballers’ 65 run victory.
Trestrail’s University Challenge
Neil Trestrail’s appointment as First XI captain led to the club bringing in several new young players from Southampton University whose cricket team played an annual pre-season fixture against Trestrail’s MCC side. In 1988 students Gary Corcoran and Jeff O’Hara joined the club, while the university connection in later years saw the arrival of Will Buck, Will Follett, David England and Phil Pineo among others. A promising local lad by the name of Sean Morris also joined the club in 1988 with a big reputation after scoring five centuries for his Stowe school side, and when the club’s plans to sign up the 18 year old Hampshire prospect Alan Mullally fell through, Trestrail turned to another county player Tony Middleton. Clive Kitcher, Guy Andrew and David Coles further reduced the average age of the side.
With a young and talented new-look side in place Lymington started the season well, and on June 25th the team rose to the top of the table following a 5 wicket win over champions South Hants. Although the team then suffered a 49 run home defeat by Bournemouth, Lymington were still in with a chance of the title until two late season defeats by United Services and Waterlooville forced them to settle for the runners-up spot.
Captain Trestrail was top runscorer with 420. Corcoran was just behind on 398, albeit from three less innings, while Chris Allen yet again finished as top wicket taker with 36. Trestrail would end a highly satisfying season by guiding the Save & Prosper Southern League representative side to victory over the Three Counties League from Wales in the Famous Grouse inter-league final at the County Ground. Trestrail’s battling 79 was an innings he later described as one of the best of his career.
When Stephen Andrew suffered an
injury during Hampshire’s County Championship match against Somerset at Southampton, the 12th Man who came on to replace him was none other than Lymington’s Derek Pepperell who proceeded to take a catch on his championship debut. To complete the Lymington connection Jon Hardy was playing for Somerset in the match
After a good start to the 1988 season the Second XI slipped to a final position in the lower half of the table, while the Thirds and Fourths both endured mediocre campaigns in their respective divisions of the New Forest League.
The highlight of the Sunday friendly programme was an unbeaten 149 from Sean Morris in the 125 run win over Lyndhurst, while elsewhere there were centuries for David Coles (v Old Symondian Ramblers), Tony Jenkin (v Brockenhurst) and Darren Price whose 110 not out helped the Woodside Wanderers defeat the Sunday Second XI counterparts by three wickets in a typically competitive inter-club match.
In October 1988 the club held its first golf tournament at Barton Golf Club. Entitled the ‘Lymington Open’, the inaugural competition was won by Darren Price who finished just ahead of Neil Perrett. The Open has been played ever since, and in 1999 was complemented by an annual corporate spring golf tournament which has since raised thousands of pounds towards club funds.
Deportation for Dr Du Plessis
The 1989 season got off to a troubled start for Lymington when South African signing John Du Plessis was prevented from entering the UK. During a five hour interrogation at Heathrow the immigration authorities claimed that Du Plessis should have acquired a work permit, even though the 27 year old – a doctor by trade – was effectively holidaying in England and not intending to earn money from cricket. Pleas to the South African Embassy and UK Immigration Appeals Office fell on deaf ears and Du Plessis was deported back to Cape Town just eight days after arriving.
An indifferent start to the season was compounded by Derek Pepperell’s sudden departure to Bournemouth at the start of June (Pepperell ended the season with 855 runs), and the team eventually had to settle for a disappointing 7th place finish. Low point of the summer was the dismal 30 run defeat by New Milton – the team’s first derby reverse in seven years. On the plus side Lymington recorded their best performance against leaders Bournemouth when Gary Corcoran (98 not out) and Tony Middleton (72) helped Lymington to a fine 9 wicket win.
Elsewhere the Seconds too endured a poor start but recovered to finish in a best ever fourth place with 10 wins from 16 matches. The Fourths, under Chris Walford, also enjoyed their most successful season, culminating in promotion from New Forest Division 5. During the season there were Fourth XI centuries from Tim Hunter (v Bramshaw) and Tony Webb (v Alderholt). The top Sunday performance came from Andy Wilson who scored a magnificent 129 not out against Wimborne.
During the 1989 season a St Thomas’ Park resident asked the Town Council if they could move the Sports Ground square further away from her property to stop cricket balls landing in her garden!
John Du Plessis finally made his long-awaited Lymington debut in 1990. He initially replaced Peter Tapper who dropped out of the First XI after 134 consecutive appearances. Tapper was soon to return, and he and Du Plessis both scored centuries in Lymington’s massive 328 for 5 against Petersfield who replied with 207 for 7. There were also hundreds from Corcoran (v Andover and Trojans), Tony Middleton (v Alton), and Sean Morris whose brilliant unbeaten 135 ensured an exciting win over Bournemouth.
However, despite this plethora of centuries, the Firsts suffered from inconsistency and a lack of penetration in the bowling department, although a late rally pushed them up to an eventual 5th place finish.
Under Don Whitlock’s captaincy the Second XI were briefly in with a shout of the title in 1990 until losing to Bournemouth in late July. Teenage South African Richard Allen provided the highlight of the season with 125 against South Wilts, while opening batting partner Tony Wharton notched up a ton against Gosport.
Norman Wilkie’s Third XI gained promotion to New Forest Division 1, despite using 37 players during the season. John McGuirk was awarded the the club’s best all rounder award for his numerous match-winning feats with both bat and ball.
The highest individual score ever recorded by a Fourth XI batsmen came in August when Tony Game smashed 155 not out at Bramshaw. Game, who hit 10 sixes, only came into the side at the last minute due to a shortage of players, but his miraculous innings helped Lymington overhaul the home side’s 248 for 4 to win by 3 wickets. Another noteworthy feat came from young spinner Paul Coles who took four wickets in four balls against Michelmersh.
There was a controversial end to the Midweek League when second placed Lymington were awarded the title after it was discovered that New Milton had fielded a semi-professional, thereby breaking the rules of the competition.
1991: The flourish of youth
The cupboard was looking somewhat bare at the start of the 1991 season with John Du Plessis not returning from South Africa, Tony Middleton on Hampshire duty, Matt King returning to Bashley and Andy Wilson and Gary Corcoran moving away. However, captain Trestrail was more than happy to put his faith in the club’s talented up and coming young players such as John McGuirk, Mark Thorne, David Blizzard, Chris Grant Foster and Guy Andrew. They all certainly rose to the challenge as Lymington finished in a highly creditable fourth place. Bowlers McGuirk (19 wickets) and Clive Kitcher (24 wickets) formed a formidable opening partnership, the former taking a career best 6 for 30 against Portsmouth who were dismissed for just 76 in reply to Lymington’s 184 for 6. A pacey, aggressive bowler with the ability to swing the ball and extract bounce, McGuirk on his day could prove to be quite a handful for any batsman. A powerful striker of the ball too, it is sad that McGuirk’s cricket career was so often blighted by injury.
Chris Grant-Foster also enjoyed a fine season, taking 31 league wickets, while Trestrail headed the batting averages with 387 at a little under 30, and Blizzard snared 15 catches and 2 stumpings.
A good league season was tempered a little by an incredible 4 wicket defeat by at New Milton in the Echo Trophy. Chasing a seemingly impossible 178 for victory, Milton cruised home with 10 balls to spare thanks to a stunning innings from Ian Griffiths who smashed an unbeaten 72, including one huge six over the Ashley pavilion which landed on Peter Tapper’s car. There was also the disappointment of a derby defeat in the Presidents Cup semi final when Lymington somehow lost after restricting Bashley to just 57. With one run required from the final ball of the match Don Whitlock thought he had won the game for Lymington thanks to a scrambled leg bye . . . until the umpire signalled ‘dead ball’.
An interesting insight into the fierce Lymington/New Milton rivalry came in a Lymington Times article at the end of the 1991 season. Reflecting on a poor season which saw his side finish near the foot of the table, Milton captain Neil Taylor was quoted as saying, “…but we beat Lymington and that’s what matters most.” This remark drew short shrift from Lymington’s scrapbook compiler who scribbled next to the article, “One has to wonder and even worry about the mentality of one of our local rivals when it is more important to beat us than bother about ending up almost bottom of the league!!”
Like the First XI, the Seconds also put their faith in youth in 1991 with young faces such as Jason Andrew, Neil Pardoe and Martin Cooper complementing the older legs of Whitlock, Truscott and Wharton. There were plenty of unfamiliar opponents too, with the Southern League Second XI Championship now incorporated into a restructured Hampshire League. Lymington found themselves in Division 3A playing the likes of Frimchett, Crown Taverners, Winterslow, Steep and Monksbrook. However, it was old foes Poole who provided the team with their best result of the season – a 10 wicket thrashing after Poole had been skittled out for just 22 with Andrew (4 for 12) and Luigi Di Maria (3 for 10) doing the damage.
Batsman Darren Price had an August to remember, scoring hundreds against Whitchurch Wayfareres and Exbury. Although small in stature, Price was a tremendous timer of the ball – particularly through the covers. However, the batting performance of 1991 came, predictably, from Peter Tapper who made a quite remarkable 128 not out during a Midweek league match against Hordle at the Sports Ground. In the 13th of Lymington’s 14 eight ball overs, Tapper struck seven sixes – two of which landed in the churchyard, the others ending up in the tennis courts – and was only denied possibly the unique record of eight sixes in an over, when – in his own words – “I just ran out of steam for the eighth ball” (although the more cynical of his Lymington teammates suggested that Tapper deliberately scored a single to keep the strike!).
Many Lymington members travelled to Lord’s in September to witness Tony Middleton score a gritty 78 as Hampshire beat Surrey in a nailbiting Nat West Final.
Almost certainly the oldest player to ever take the field at Lymington Sports Ground was Will Rickman. In 1991, at the age of 88 Bill opened the batting for the Young Elite against their Old Elite counterparts, but unfortunately his innings was cut short when he was forced to retire hurt for 6 after being struck on the hand by a delivery from son Brian. Will, who had played cricket in his younger days for the Efford House estate where he worked as a gardener, carried on playing in the Young v Old fixture for a few more years before eventually passing away in 2002 just one year short of his century.
The pre-season acquisition of Old Tauntonians’ prolific all-rounder Chris Thomason, coupled with the return to the club of Derek Pepperell and Andy Wilson, and the promise of a few appearances from Jon Hardy and Sean Morris, meant that Lymington were installed as early favourites for the 1992 Southern League title. Although Lymington lost just twice all season, they had to settle for runners-up spot behind a Hursley Park side they had beaten in May. There was a little consolation with the league bowling award going to Chris Allen who took 36 wickets.
The Second XI meanwhile lost just once, at Esso, on their way to the Hampshire League Division 3 title. A jubilant captain Whitlock admitted that the most satisfying aspect of the season was that every member of the team contributed at some point. The team was the perfect blend of youth and experience: a young pace attack of Jason Andrew and Paul Allen claimed more than 40 wickets between them, while the batting relied more on the old hands of Tony Oxley, Tony Wharton and Jerry Holt.
Several of the Second XI were also instrumental in the club’s first knockout trophy success in 18 years when Lymington defeated Langley Manor by 70 runs in the final at Paultons. Neil Trestrail’s 80 had set Lymington on their way to 142 for 5, although it was John McGuirk who surprisingly won the man of the match award for his 3 for 12 as Langley Manor were restricted to 72 for 8 in reply.
The real excitement in the Presidents Cup had come in an earlier round when Peter Tapper went on what the Lymington Times report described as ‘his annual rampage’. Tapper bludgeoned his way to 114 not out in just 69 balls against Bashley, the report adding that the ‘tennis courts and cemetery were special targets’.
1992 saw the first playing of the Lymington inter-club six-a-side tournament. The inaugural winners were the appropriately named ‘Headcases’ who comprised of captain Jon Head, Tony Oxley, Matt Hayward, Luigi Di Maria, Martin Hunt and Jerry Holt. They beat ‘Perrett’s Posers’ in a rather one-sided final.
The Lymington six-a-sides have always striven to break new ground, and innovations over the years have included white balls, music to greet a new batsman and ‘Max Zones’ where boundaries count double (although in Lymington’s case the areas, strategically positioned at cow corner, were renamed ‘Meg Zones’ in honour of cow shot specialist Mark ‘Meg’ Gannaway).
1993: the year of the Wildebeest
Lymington’s failure to win the Southern League in 1992 was attributed to a lack of a strike bowler, so Neil Trestrail hoped to remedy the situation in 1993 by recruiting the former Hampshire and Glamorgan pace bowler Steve Malone. In South African Grant Van Heerden, the First XI also had a quality overseas player. Therefore it was a great disappointment to all concerned that Lymington could finish just eighth, although a top three finish might have been attained had the team not lost its last four matches.
The stocky Van Heerden, nicknamed ‘The Wildebeest’ proved to be frustratingly erratic throughout the season. Undeniably a class batsman who could destroy a bowling attack on his own (witness the brilliant 96 against South Wilts), Van Heerden had an infuriating habit of running himself out at the most inopportune moments.
Many of Van Heerden’s best performances were reserved for friendlies and cup competitions, and he played a big part in the club winning the newly established Cross Solent League. The league had been set up to counter the falling standards of Sunday cricket, and in its first season members included Lymington, Bashley, Calmore, New Milton, Wimborne and Colehill from the mainland and Shanklin and Ventnor from the Island.
The league title went down to a winner-takes-all battle between Lymington and a strong Ventnor team which included Ian Botham’s 17 year old son Liam in its ranks. On a misty Sunday afternoon at Steephill Tim Hunter’s typically gritty 62 enabled Lymington to post a challenging 169 for 6. With Trevor Phillips grabbing the vital wickets of Mark Garraway, Jeff Hose and Botham, Ventnor eventually subsided to 154 all out, making Lymington the first ever winners of the Cross Solent League.
Lymington’s Southern League match against Old Tauntonians at Redbridge Lane had a remarkable finish when OTs’ Dean Blackwood believed he had struck the winning boundary off the last ball of the match and began to walk off the field. However, unbeknown to Blackwood, the ball had not crossed the line and Chris Thomason hurled the ball in to Derek Pepperell who ran out Blackwood to give Lymington an unlikely victory.
The Lymington/New Milton rivalry reached a crescendo during Lymington’s thrilling 1 run win in the Echo Trophy. Lymington were unhappy about Van Heerden’s dismissal, claiming that a Milton fielder had stepped over the boundary in taking the catch. The slightly over-the-top report of the match in the Lymington Times mentioned that, “there were comments exchanged on both sides, showing that where rivalries are concerned, Rangers and Celtic have nothing on these two!”
The Second XI, boosted by the arrival of Neill Denby, Trevor Phillips and Stuart Simkins, ended their first season in Hants Division 2 in third place. Opening batsman Mark Thorne had a fine season, as was typified by his defiant 104 not out in a Lymington total of 140 against Burridge.
The Midweek League saw Matt Hayward take a hat trick against Hordle, while Robin Goff rolled back the years in the drawn friendly with Rownhams with an unbeaten 102. Norman Wilkie narrowly missed out on his century in the win over Pylewell Park, caught on the boundary for 99.
A cricket week was successfully re-introduced in 1993 after a lapse of several decades. Matches were scheduled against a Southern League rep side, Hampshire Over 50s, a Bournemouth Echo XI, a New Forest XI and Bashley Under 16s.
Death of a true sportsman
In May of 1994 Lymington was saddened by the news of Brian Rickman’s death at the age of 56 following a two and a half year battle with cancer. A wonderful man who always felt compassion for others, Brian was a true sportsman of the old school. Winning, of course, was important to Brian, but it always came second to making sure that everyone in the team – especially the youngsters – made a contribution.
Shortly before his death Brian was nominated for the Queen Elizabeth II Silver Jubilee Award – an annual award presented in acknowledgement of outstanding public service to others. Sadly Brian died a few days before the presentation, and the award was collected posthumously by wife Pat.
Later in the season the three clubs who meant so much to Brian – Lymington, Milford and The Elite – staged a game in his memory at the Sports Ground. The combined Lymington and Milford XI’s 180 for 5 proved just too much for The Elite who ended just 10 runs short despite 60 from Richard Bodley-Scott.
The luckiest boys in the world!
Also in 1994 Lymington committee member Jon Head and fixture secretary Richard Bodley-Scott had a miraculous escape when the BMW they were travelling in careered off the road at the bottom of Passford Hill and smashed into a tree before ending up in a ditch. Amazingly both survived the crash which was described by a shocked eye witness as “like watching a film in slow motion”. The pair, dubbed “the luckiest boys in the world” by the eye witness, fully recovered after lengthy spells in hospital.
On the field, Derek Pepperell took over the captaincy of the First XI and his side was strengthened by the arrival of Hampshire prospect Glyn Treagus from Trojans, former Yorkshire Second XI pace bowler Dan Goldstraw and promising 16 year old wicketkeeper Derek Kenway. Unfortunately, frustrated by a lack of opportunities with the bat, Kenway lasted just four matches before departing for Hambledon, later playing 93 First Class matches for Hampshire, scoring more than 4,000 runs.
After an erratic start Lymington picked up momentum as the season progressed, eventually finishing fourth. Van Heerden scored just under 500 runs at an average of 60, while Treagus totalled 431.
Don Whitlock’s Second XI were promoted to Hants Division One – the first second XI to reach that level of the league pyramid. The team possessed a potent batting line-up of Holt, Griffiths, Gilder, Gillett and Tapper, and also fully utilised the experienced seam bowling talents of the eccentric Chris Noble. The former Wiltshire and England Schoolboy representative Noble never tired of telling tales of the mythical Swindon Midnight League, or the story of how he once dismissed a young Ian Botham.
Lymington regained the President’s Cup in 1994, beating Bashley by 7 wickets at Hythe. Peter Tapper made light of the bouncy Jones Lane pitch by smashing an unbeaten 50 which included one boundary which struck his wife a glancing blow to the head. The concerned batsman hurried to the boundary where he was heard to say to his thankfully unhurt wife Suzanne, “was that four or six, dear?”
Lymington members arrived at the Sports Ground for the first match of the 1995 season to find a new-look pavilion. A conservatory-style extension had been erected by AFC Lymington, while a new paved area and railings in front of the clubhouse had been designed, built and partly funded (along with a kind donation from the town council) by Brian Hobby.
Inside the clubhouse new honours boards adorned the walls. Former player Terence Walsh unveiled the boards which listed all the club’s honourary life members and presidents since 1878.
Conscious that a great deal of money would be needed to further improve facilities at the Sports Ground, Tony Oxley introduced a development fund, into which club members could pay money in return for the chance of winning a monthly cash prize. In its first year the fund raised more than £2,200, and over the next 12 years sufficient funds would be raised to help purchase a roller, pitch covers, sightscreens and new practice nets.
A bee farmer named Bevan
Grant Van Heerden returned for a third season in 1995, and this time brought with him another strapping South African by the name of Bevan Pope. A descendant of the Eldridge Pope brewing family, all-rounder Pope soon made his mark in the Second XI with a ferocious 161 against Old Basing. Although Pope arguably underachieved for the Second XI, his runs and wickets on Sundays helped Lymington win the Cross Solent League for a third consecutive season. As in 1993 the title was clinched at Ventnor thanks principally to colt Dale Middleton who took two wickets with his left arm spin and scored a superb half century that belied his age.
There was some confusion over Bevan Pope’s occupation even before he had set foot in England. Hampered by a poor telephone line to South Africa, Second XI captain Tim Hunter thought he heard Pope claiming to be a bee farmer. Several days after arriving in Lymington the bemused South African finally realised why his new clubmates were asking him about bees. He was, in fact, a beef farmer!
As usual the First XI were well fancied to win the Southern League in 1995, but again fell away after a promising start and finished fourth. Six batsmen scored in excess of 300 runs, but only one – David Coles – managed to record a century (v Hambledon).
The Second XI recovered from a terrible start to finish mid-table. Their best performance was a thrilling 3 wicket defeat of league leaders BAT which saw veteran Chris Allen hitting the winning runs with just 2 balls to spare.
Pride of place in 1995 went to Lymington Third XI. Inspired by new captain Don Whitlock, the team lost just once in clinching the Hampshire Combination West Division title.
Newcomer Simon Eakins proved to be a useful acquisition for the Third XI, although the programme editor and local press never really came to grips with his relatively straightforward surname. On various occasions he was described in reports as Simon ‘Erkins’, ‘Elkins’, ‘Eskins’ and ‘Baskins’, although teammates eventually settled on ‘Biscuit’.
Lymington First XI’s ninth place finish in 1996 was its worst for a number of years, and this despite the addition of Nottinghamshire Second XI spinner Rob Howarth. There was a little consolation in the Presidents Cup final at Langley Manor where Lymington defeated old rivals New Milton by 3 runs. Les Browning received the man of the match award for his three wicket burst which stopped Milton in their tracks as they chased Lymington’s modest 114 all out.
The Second XI, boosted by Australian Tim Smith who scored 639 runs, enjoyed a much better season. Jerry Holt played the innings of the summer at Paultons in August, scoring an unbeaten 130 as Lymington romped home by 8 wickets having been set 233 for victory.
Don Whitlock guided the Third XI to yet another league title as they won Hants Division West II. But it was to be his last trophy for Lymington as he decided to leave the club at the end of the season to return to Bashley as first team coach. Whitlock’s style of captaincy was not always appreciated by everyone, but there are very few people who can deny that he was one of the most tactically astute and successful captains in the club’s history.
14 year old Damian Shirazi scored his first senior 50 for Tony Jenkin’s Fourth XI against Esso, while in the same match Jason Carr, also just 14, took 3 for 10.
There were celebrations in the clubhouse on June 1st when not only did all four Lymington teams win their respective matches, but the Firsts, Seconds and Thirds all contained a centurion. Glyn Treagus hit 130 at Calmore for the First XI, Tim Smith notched up 111 against Hook & Newnham for the Seconds and Steve Coltman rolled back the years with 124 not out at Godshill. The Fourth XI batsmen were prevented from adding to the list by their bowlers who skittled out Minstead for just 56 at Woodside.
Tony Wharton scored a century against Malvern Wayfarers in August, but was left to rue one particular boundary which bounced into the car park and dented his own car!
Humbled by Havant
The major pre-season talking point in the local press in 1997 was the club’s decision to allow women to attend the annual dinner.
But on the field there were far more important matters as Lymington First XI’s slump continued. They won just four matches all season and were only saved from the threat of relegation on the final day by rain.
Ironically, amidst Lymington’s worst spell of league form in 17 years came it’s best Echo Trophy run since 1984. BAT, Parley, Old Tauntonians and Winchester were all defeated on the way to a meeting with Havant in the final at the County Ground.
Unfortunately, Lymington then came up against Havant’s West Indian Wilden Cornwall. On the hard and fast Northlands Road track Lymington failed to cope with Cornwall’s pace and stuttered to just 83 for 9 – one of the lowest scores in the final since Lymington’s last final appearance in 1984. Cornwall (44 not out) completed an embarrassingly one-sided final in just 11 overs. After the game, man-of-the-match Cornwall expressed his bemusement at Lymington’s decision to open the batting with Peter Tapper, memorably commenting, “I was surprised they opened with the old guy.”
Lymington wouldn’t have made it to the Echo final in the first place had it not been for a Parley Springfield tailender called Dean Burgess. With just one ball of the second round tie remaining Parley needed two runs to tie the match and progress to the next round by virtue of losing less wickets. The Parley last pair duly scored the two runs but then, for reasons only known to himself, Burgess set off on a suicidal third and was run out by Allan Spencer. Had Burgess stayed put Parley would have won, but as it was, with the scores tied at 97 each and both teams bowled out, a mightily relieved Lymington were declared winners on a faster run rate after 10 overs.
There was drama of a different type at Hook during a Second XI fixture when Lymington supporter Syed Shirazi became embroiled in a spot of wrestling with a member of the home side. Syed’s son Damian takes up the story: “Tony Oxley brought me on as a partnership breaker. I remember receiving quite a bit of stick from a section of the opposition players in the pavilion who, in fairness to them, didn’t realise they were standing right next to my dad. So when I removed the batman’s middle pole next ball my dad gave them some stick back and it all kicked off.” The match was halted for a good few minutes while the situation was defused and Syed was sent to the farthest boundary to cool off. Damian adds, “As everyone knows, us Shirazis stick together, so there was a mixture of pride and embarrassment. Some years later I played against Hook in an evening game for BAT and absolutely let them have it from ball one. I’d been waiting for that game for a few years and it was great get one back for my dad.”
Leaving the club in 1997 was Paul Coles who emigrated to Australia. The left handed batsman and occasional spinner had played for every one the club’s sides from the youngest colts team to the First XI, but was perhaps best known for his amazing propensity to consume any quantity of food laid before him, earning him the nickname ‘The Locust’. Tim Smith, a fairly big eater himself, made the mistake of challenging The Locust to an eating competition at McDonalds on the way back from an away match, but had barely unwrapped his Big Mac before his opposite number Coles had not only wolfed down his burger and fries, but was already on his way to the counter to order seconds!
Maidens of a different type
1998 saw the return to the New Forest of ladies’ league cricket for the first time in 95 years. Martina Powell and Anne Craft were the driving force behind the establishment of a woman’s side at Lymington, and under the captaincy of Sarah Carr the team duly won their opening match against Langley Manor by 96 runs. Lorna Jesty, daughter of former Hampshire star Trevor, scored 90 as Lymington totalled 220 for 8 before Paula Carr’s 3 for 39 helped restrict Langley to 124 for 8. During the season Amy Francis would be selected for the Hampshire Under 15 girls team.
In order to arrest the First XI’s recent slump, the club brought in Hampshire’s Zac Morris as their professional for 1998, and also signed up former Hampshire pace bowler Martin Thursfield. With Dan Goldstraw and Treagus likely to be available for most of the season, Lymington could rightly boast their strongest line up for some years. A vastly improved Sports Ground wicket – thanks to the valuable contribution of Allan Spencer – gave further cause for optimism. However, a bright start came to an abrupt halt at Hungerford, and Lymington’s title hopes were effectively ended on a black day at Bashley when the team were rolled over for just 97.
While a final position of third was a little disappointing, the club was heartened by the form of Damian Shirazi. The 15 year old started the season with 78 versus Bournemouth and 64 against South Wilts, and later in the season would score a brilliant match winning century in the Under 15 Europa Cup final. Another Lymington youngster, Ben Craft, was also making headlines for Hampshire Under 19s who won their County Championship.
With stories of match-fixing at professional level in both cricket and football coming to light at this time, the cricket authorities may have been forgiven for investigating Lymington Second XI who incredibly tied three consecutive Hants County Division 1 matches at the end of the 1998 season. Lymington firstly tied with Winchester, both teams scoring 177 all out, and then matched Penton’s 274 in a thrilling match at the Sports Ground. The near impossible happened a week later at Sparsholt when Lymington dismissed the home side’s last man with the scores again level, not only ensuring a remarkable third tie in a row, but also earning a mention in the 1999 edition of Wisden.
There were also mysterious goings-on during a midweek League fixture on a blustery evening at Esso when Peter Tapper was very nearly run over by a runaway mobile net. Esso’s batting was similarly blown away with Simon Hayes and Jason Carr both recording the unlikely bowling figures of 4 for 2 as Esso, chasing Lymington’s 126 for 5, sank to 23 all out. Lymington went on to complete the Midweek League and Cup double.
In the Cross Solent League there was a high-scoring win for Lymington at New Milton. The home side had set an imposing victory target of 260, but centuries from Mark Jackson (108) and Jon Mottashead (111 not out) saw Lymington home to a memorable victory.
Club President David Heppenstall was the proud receiver of an award for services to sport in 1998. However, the year ended on a sad note with the death of a former President Ossie Halliwell. Ossie had been a great supporter of the club; it was he who introduced the popular President’s tea parties in 1977.
1999: a year to forget
The final year of the 20th Century saw all four of Lymington’s senior sides suffer a wretched season. First XI captain Glyn Treagus missed much of the summer after suffering a bad injury to his hand during a trial match with Worcestershire, and there were also injuries at various times to Goldstraw, Browning, Hardy and Shirazi. With Lymington’s resources stretched to the limit the Firsts relied heavily on their Southampton University connection with students Will Buck, Will Follett and David England coming into the side in the early part of the season. The low point of the campaign came with an embarrassing 44 all out against South Wilts, although equally humbling were the three defeats in league and cup competitions by local rivals Bashley who were hailed in the local press as undisputed ‘Kings of the Forest’. There were, however, noteworthy wins at Winchester, where Zac Morris memorably flayed Sussex bowler Billy Taylor to all parts of River Park, and at Bournemouth where Dave Griffiths smashed three huge sixes into the Chapelgate car park to ensure a 3 wicket victory in the final over.
The Seconds similarly endured a poor season, finally winning their first match in July when they beat Old Basing by 6 wickets. Stuart Simkins notched up the side’s only century against Winchester II, and the following day the big Australian had further cause to celebrate as he led his side to victory in the annual Lymington six-a-side tournament, defeating the team captained by fellow Aussie Dan Rutherford in the final.
The Third and Fourth XIs enjoyed mid-table finishes, although in July at Esso the Third XI somehow managed to lose a game from an almost impregnable position. Lymington were seemingly cruising to victory with 3 runs required from the final 13 balls and 6 wickets in hand. The dismissal of Guy Hayward suddenly triggered a dramatic collapse as 5 wickets fell without addition to the score, giving the home side an incredible 2 run victory.
England’s hosting of the 1999 Cricket World Cup benefited Lymington in an unlikely way. The New Zealand team, who were based in Southampton, asked Neil Trestrail if two of their squad – Mathew Hart and Carl Bulfin – could take part in a Lymington match to gain some much needed match practice. Trestrail naturally obliged and the pair turned out for the club’s Sunday League encounter with New Milton at the Sports Ground. Milton’s own Kiwi Russell Thomas could barely believe his eyes as fellow countryman Bulfin, generally regarded as one of the quickest bowlers in New Zealand, came charging in to bowl at him. Fourth XI wicketkeeper Fred McKie was similarly shocked by Bulfin’s speed, having become used to the rather more sedate pace of Bob Iles. Shaun Lilley departed courtesy of a dubious caught behind off Bulfin (although Lilley was in no hurry to argue with the decision!) as Milton were dismissed for 140. Test spinner Hart took 3 wickets but suffered the ignomy of being unceremoniously dumped into the car park by veteran Ian Bowie. Bulfin (42) and Hart (58) then wrapped up a comprehensive 7 wicket victory for Lymington before decamping to the bar for autographs and photos.
The writer of this article is still regularly reminded by Shaun Lilley about his “you can let him have one now” comment to Carl Bulfin, especially if the writer happens to be batting while Lilley’s teammate Matt King is bowling!
On a chilly February evening in 2000 the Sports Ground hosted the first ever floodlit cricket match in Hampshire as Lymington took on a Hampshire XI as part of Adrian Aymes’ benefit year. As well as Adi Aymes, the Hampshire team also included Robin Smith and Shaun Udal, Southampton footballing legend Matt Le Tissier and TV sports presenter Andy Steggall. On a coconut matting wicket specially laid in the centre of the football pitch, the county side scored 102 for 4. Lymington’s reply fell 11 runs short despite 28 from Treagus and 20 from Mark Gannaway who had the satisfaction of hitting England bowler Udal into the adjoining bowling green. The stroke merited a “good shot!” comment from wicketkeeper Le Tissier to the batsman, prompting the blushing Gannaway to turn round and say, “that’s what I normally say to you Matt!” Following the cricket, the Hampshire players donned their football boots for a match against a side containing many of Aymes’ former teammates from his time with Wellworthy Athletic and AFC Lymington. Once again Hampshire came out on top, winning the match 5-2.
New Millennium, new division
The new Millennium brought radical changes to the structure of the Southern League, which was now to be called the ECB Southern Premier League and split into three divisions, popularly known as gold, silver and bronze.
The consequence of Lymington’s poor season in 1999 was that it now found itself in the new second tier – a mighty blow to a proud club who had become used to challenging at the highest level. The lure of ‘gold’ cricket proved too much for Goldstraw and Shirazi who both departed for BAT. Shirazi’s departure was a bitter pill to swallow, particularly to those who had witnessed his progress from Under 11s through to the First XI.
Commendably, Lymington’s other most desirable commodity Glyn Treagus stayed loyal and guided the team through an extremely tough season. Treagus provided the highlight of the summer with a magnificent 131 in the 117 run win at Alton. In the home match against the same opposition James Allen struck a maiden league century. Generally though it was a struggle for each of Lymington’s four Saturday sides who all faced relegation battles, although in the end only the Third XI endured the drop.
The club’s plight was put into perspective during the season when Fixture Secretary Neill Denby was taken seriously ill during a Cross Solent League match at Bashley and required a major operation. Thankfully, Neill pulled through after a lengthy spell in hospital, although it was to be a long road to recovery for the former Third XI captain.
The Sports Ground received an unexpected visit from Indian Test star Vinod Kambli in August. The little opener, who scored 227 against England at Calcutta in 1993, was part of the touring Worli CC side from Bombay. Having got off the mark by smoting the ball out of the ground, Kambli was eventually dismissed by a superb diving catch by Adie Hunt off Jason Carr for a fairy brisk 27. Rain sadly ended the match early, although Lymington looked unlikely to overhaul the Indian’s 175 for 4 scored from just 23 overs.
Off the field John Woolcott took over as President from the retiring David Heppenstall who had, during his 14 years in office, raised many thousands of pounds through the matchday programme and inspired the club with his drive and enthusiasm. The square further benefited from the purchase of a new motor roller.
The threat to New Forest cricket from an outbreak of foot and mouth disease in the Spring of 2001 fortunately failed to materialise. Lymington, meanwhile, were preparing for the 2001 season with their strongest First XI for a number of years. In Brian Clemow and Dan Peacock the club had acquired two quality cricketers. Aussie Clemow arrived with a reputation as a big runscorer in Sydney’s highly competitive Grade cricket. He had previously won the Wisden Young Australian Cricketer of the Year award, and would have played the game professionally but for a terrible car crash which had put him out of action for three years. Peacock, meanwhile, hailed originally from Zimbabwe where he had represented his country at ‘A’ level. A top-class off-spin bowler, he was also a hard-hitting batsman and brilliant fielder.
Dan Peacock’s arrival at Lymington was more by luck than judgement. Whilst looking for a job in the Southampton area, he happened to ring up Neil Trestrail’s recruitment agency. When Peacock mentioned his cricketing background Trestrail swiftly agreed to find him the best job available . . . providing he agreed to play for Lymington!
With the new players living up to all the pre-season promise, and home-grown Ben Craft in scintillating early-season form, Lymington soon leapt to the top of the SPL Division 2 table. In July Clemow broke the club and league scoring records with 213 not out against Cove at the Sports Ground, his innings including 29 fours and 7 sixes.
A week later Lymington rattled up a record 383 for 4 against Old Basing with Peacock scoring 176 not out. However, two crucial top of the table matches against eventual champions Portsmouth were lost and Lymington’s promotion hopes slipped away. The second defeat was particularly hard to swallow after Lymington, defending a modest 141, had reduced Portsmouth to 84 for 8. One silver lining at the end of the season was the awarding of the SPL Division 2 batting award to Ben Craft.
Sadly, after grimly hanging on to their SPL Division 3 status for the past two years Lymington Seconds finally succumbed and were relegated in 2001 – and this despite winning their first two matches of the season. The Third XI, under the energetic captaincy of Ben Sanger, held their own while the Fourths thought they had won their division but eventually finished third due to an unfortunate oversight (that oversight being the fact that in their final ‘must-win’ match of the season Lymington fielded four ineligible players!). Despite this aberration, Bob Iles and Mark Gannaway were still able to pick up the divisional bowling and batting awards respectively.
Cup glory at last
For all the explosive batsmen that Lymington have fielded within their ranks in the past 30 years, it’s surprising to discover just how poorly the club has fared in Southern League’s evening knock-out competition. Two unsuccessful final appearances at Northlands Road were all the club could show for all those years of entering what was then called the Echo Trophy. However, by 2001 the trophy had both a new name – The Southern Electric Contracting Cup – and a new venue: Hampshire’s magnificent new Rose Bowl on the outskirts of Southampton. And a storming cup run meant that Lymington would be one of the first club sides to grace the new arena.
Passage to the final was by no means easy for Lymington, and while the first round defeat of OTs & Romsey was straightforward enough, Paultons and then BAT, proved much tougher opposition. BAT in particular were the team to beat in the Southern League at the time, and few gave Lymington any hope against the highly rated Division One outfit. However, Clemow, Peacock (46) and Dave Griffiths helped Lymington to a challenging 141-9 from their 23 overs, before spinners Treagus and Wayne Smith kept their nerve at the death as Lymington ran out winners by 11 runs.
A rain delayed semi-final at Rowledge was eventually won by 10 wickets with Treagus smashing a superb 53 not out after Phillips (4 for 20) had helped restrict the home side to just 103 for 9.
Meeting Lymington in the final were Division One side Andover, and while captain Neil Trestrail accepted that Lymington were the underdogs, he also knew full well that the wicket – which had been used for Hampshire’s surprise victory over the Australian tourists just two days previous – would be tailor-made for his three-pronged spin attack. He boldly predicted in the Echo, “I know we haven’t got anyone of Shane Warne’s class in our attack, but Dan Peacock, Glyn Treagus and Wayne Smith are all quality spinners – and I’m going to back them.”
On a perfect summer’s evening at the Rose Bowl Andover made a reasonable start, reaching 30 before Paul Allen struck twice. From thereon the Andover innings became bogged down in the face of some top quality bowling from Lymington’s trio of spinners. As the captain had rightly predicted, the slow bowlers all produced enough turn and lift from the rock-hard pitch to bamboozle the Andover side who struggled up to 95 for 8 from 24 overs. The collapse was lapped up by Lymington’s large contingent of supporters, and in particular by Bob Iles who greeted each Andover wicket with a mighty cry of “NEXT!” which boomed across the cavernous arena.
Clemow and Treagus guided Lymington’s reply through a tricky opening period, and although Treagus eventually fell for 33, Peacock and Clemow (52 not out) saw Lymington home with nine wickets and more than 11 overs to spare. After 17 long years, Lymington had at last claimed another major trophy.
After the final, jubilant Wayne Smith returned to the Rose Bowl dressing rooms to discover that someone had stolen his trainers. Wayne’s footwear had become infamous for its highly odorous state, and there were some members of the team who suggested that the trainers had walked out on their own!
The other end of the scale!
Ironically, just five days before the Rose Bowl triumph, Lymington had endured their largest ever defeat when Ventnor visited the Sports Ground for a Cross Solent League fixture. Lymington had been struggling to field decent sides in the Sunday league all season, and when their old foes from the Island turned up with a pretty powerful line-up only one result seemed possible, although not even the most pessimistic Lymingtonian could have predicted the magnitude of the impending defeat. Batting first, Ventnor piled up a massive 374 for no wicket from 40 overs thanks to Mark Fletcher (204 not out) and Fred Smith (154 not out). Fletcher later recalled that it was a good day to be batting first. “It was very hot weather and the outfield was quick. It was a good wicket too, and the bowling was, how shall I put it, not too great on the day!”
Having amassed nearly 400 runs between them, Fletcher and Smith were then given the honour of opening the bowling, which proved to be just an appetiser to the main feast supplied by Walter Masimula. The lightening quick South African, arguably one of the fastest bowlers ever to appear at the Sports Ground, ripped through the Lymington top order. The hard and bouncy track made it a nightmare for many of the Lymington batsmen who were simply not used to facing such pace, and the team were rapidly skittled out for just 48.
Fourth XI captain Meg Gannaway had the dubious pleasure of facing Masimula. “I remember the fielder at silly mid-on saying to me, “This will be an experience for you”. “In what way exactly?” I replied. I think the ball rapped me somewhere on the pads and I didn’t bother waiting for the appeal. The umpire might not have even given me out . . . but I certainly wasn’t hanging around to find out!”
Lymington’s Ian Young arrived at Paultons for a Cross Solent League match so early that he decided to take a nap in the changing room. He was somewhat surprised to wake up a little later to find a room full of strangers. It only then dawned on the sleepy wicketkeeper that he was actually at the wrong ground! Lymington were in fact playing at Purbrook some 30 miles away.
Lymington miss out once more
The 2002 season was to follow a similar pattern to the previous summer for Lymington First XI. 19 year old Australian Aaron Heal arrived from Perth on the recommendation of Hampshire’s Tony Middleton, and the left arm spinner and opening bat proved to be Lymington’s key player throughout the season. The tall Western Australian took over 30 league wickets and scored more than 500 runs, the highlight being a superb 108 against OTs & Romsey. Youngster Matt Molloy supported the Australian with some unorthodox cameo innings, and with Heal, Treagus and Peacock forming a formidable spin attack Lymington again flirted with promotion. Ultimately though, it was Lymington’s lack of strike bowlers that led to a disappointing third place finish behind the newly created Hampshire Academy side and Easton & Martyr Worthy.
Highlight of the league season was undoubtedly an amazing run chase in July which saw Lymington overhaul Hungerford’s massive 280 for 5 to win by 2 wickets with an over to spare, thanks in the main to a brilliant century from captain Dan Peacock. The club also enjoyed success in the Presidents Cup, beating old rivals Bashley in the final at the Sports Ground.
A bizarre set of circumstances also enabled Lymington to reach the semi-final of the New Forest Cup without actually winning a match. Their first round opponents were unable to raise a side and their quarter final conquerors Hythe & Dibden were subsequently found to have played an ineligible player. Lymington’s luck ran out in the semi final when they were defeated by Brockenhurst by 13 runs.
Will Naylor had a day to remember in July 2002 when he registered a remarkable 149 for the Third XI in the 89 run defeat of South Wilts. Bob Iles also produced a vintage performance for the Fourth XI against Whiteparish, taking 6 for 20 as Lymington won by 8 wickets.
2003: third yet again
The club entered the 2003 season with a new coach in the form of Dave Gelling, and hopes of the elusive promotion to the top division were soon boosted following three wins out of three in May. But injuries and illness to Peacock and Treagus prompted a dismal June and July in which Lymington were soundly beaten in all but one of their next six matches. However, in true Lymington-style the team then won their last five matches to secure their familiar third spot. Ben Craft ended the season with a creditable 510 runs, although on a worrying note Lymington finished 37th out of 38 teams in the fair play table – an unpleasant statistic for a club that had always prided itself on its friendliness and hospitality.
Mark Jackson, with 676 runs, inspired the the Seconds to a fifth pace finish in Hants Division 1 while Trevor Phillips enjoyed his day of days at Bramshaw in August where he scored 152 and took 4 wickets. Nick Jenkin’s 430 runs kept the Third XI afloat while Jim Lowe finished the season with the amazing average of 154 for the Fourth XI who recovered from a dreadful May to win their next 11 matches. They also embarked on a fine run in the Stone Cup with Mark Gannaway and Dominic Di Maria sharing major match-winning stands in the quarter and semi finals. Unfortunately New Milton proved too strong in the final at Hythe & Dibden.
Lymington Cricket Club was shocked and saddened in May 2003 to learn of the tragic death of former member Dale Middleton. Dale had been a popular player both at Lymington where he had played the majority of his colts cricket, and at Bashley where he had impressed after breaking into their Southern Premier League Division One side. Later in the season, the two clubs met for a fixture in Dale’s memory with Bashley coming out on top on a highly emotional day at the BCG.
Having won the first three Cross Solent League titles, it was with great regret that Lymington decided to withdraw from the league at the end of the 2003 season. Sunday First XI cricket had been on the wane for some years, and the league eventually disbanded a year later.
It was definitely a case of deja vu for Lymington First XI in 2004 as the team started brightly and were unbeaten after seven matches. However, as was becoming the norm, Lymington then self destructed, firstly at Calmore where they fell to a crushing 151 run defeat, and then at home to Ventnor who inflicted one of the most demoralising defeats on Lymington since the club’s entry to the Southern League. The game appeared to be won as Glyn Treagus (154) and Karl Whatham (106 not out) notched up 266 for the first wicket as Lymington totalled a seemingly invincible 288 for 1. Incredibly Ventnor cruised to a 5 wicket victory with almost four overs to spare. It was particularly tough on Treagus whose innings was described as one of the finest ever played by a Lymington batsman at the Sports Ground.
Lymington certainly got full value from overseas player Karl Whatham in 2004. The softly spoken Aussie overcame acute homesickness to amass 570 runs, but it was his bowling that really surprised everyone. By the end of the season Whatham’s huge outswingers had gleaned 37 wickets – the best in the division. Not bad for a cricketer who wasn’t allowed to bowl back in Australia. Ben Craft provided another highlight with a match-winning 129 at Hursley Park. That match was also memorable for the fact that Lymington used four wicketkeepers during the Hursley innings. Regular keeper Scott Sivier injured his ankle and was replaced by Treagus, who in turn handed the gloves to Whatham and then Peacock. Interestingly, none of the four keepers conceded a single bye and Peacock even managed to take two stumpings.
The Second XI finished the season in 12th place in County Division 1 with Mark Jackson scoring well over 500 runs. The performance of the summer came on an eventful day at Eastleigh & Otterbourne. Having arrived an hour late due to one of the players being involved in an accident en route and another suffering a puncture, Lymington were then smashed for 274 on a stiflingly hot day. However, against all odds Lymington fought back, and in the gathering gloom tailenders Chris Nutt, Lloyd Scott and Chris Noble secured a most improbable victory.
The Third XI, under Jerry Holt, only won four matches all season but just about managed to avoid relegation. Nick Lee top scored with 305 runs, although 167 of those did come on a highly memorable day at Hyde. The Fourths also struggled, but could at least take heart from the performances of youngsters Scott Tapper, Tom Thorp and Peter Harding.
There was an amazing finish to Lymington’s SEC Cup tie against Bournemouth. Needing 14 runs from Christian Pain’s final three deliveries, former Hampshire batsman Richard Scott slogged a four and two sixes over midwicket to give Bournemouth victory. There was also an unusual result in a Sunday afternoon friendly at Christchurch when Lymington defeated the home side by an innings. Geoff Renshaw ripped through the Christchurch second innings, taking 5 wickets including Christchurch’s last man with the final ball of the match. Ironically, the same batsman had earlier been clean bowled by Martin Hunt with the very first ball of the day.
Presidents Day in 2004 saw Dan Peacock bring a team of fellow Zimbabweans to the Sports Ground. The Africans, who included Test players Brian Murphy and Trevor Gripper, scored a massive 330 off just 45 overs with Neil Ferrara scoring 148 and Gripper 78. Jon Hardy’s classy 87 wasn’t enough to save Lymington from a 139 run drubbing as the Zimbabweans lifted the Global Peaks trophy which had been donated by Dan Peacock.
2005: a new look team
New First XI captain Adie Hunt faced a daunting task at the start of the 2005 season as the club came to terms with the loss of not only Glyn Treagus to Bashley, but also Dan Peacock and Ben Craft who had moved out of the area. The blow was softened a little by the return of all-rounder Mark Burrett from Ellingham and the promise of a full season from the enigmatic Bryn Darbyshire. But the real bonus for the captain was the arrival of Australian Peter Smith, an opening bowler who also came with a reputation for hitting the ball a very long way.
Smith took just one ball to justify the hype, his first scoring shot in England dislodging a tile on the roof of a house behind The Tins. He continued in similar vein throughout the summer, scoring 570 runs, as well as taking 25 wickets despite a persistent ankle injury that often restricted his bowling. Smith will perhaps be best remembered for the six sixes he struck in one over against Shooters Hill at the Sports Ground on June 21st, although many will also recall his massive six in the Presidents Cup semi-final at Bashley when he smashed a Matt King full toss over the road and into the Bashley football ground.
With Smith ably assisted by Darbyshire who scored 488 runs (often at a rate that even Smith couldn’t keep up with), Lymington avoided relegation thanks in the main to four wins in their last six matches. But there were some catastrophic batting collapses during the season: in one four week spell the side was dismissed for 115, 89, 66 and 83. Conversely there were huge scores of 348 at Calmore and 297 at Havant. Away from their league struggles, Lymington lifted the Presidents Cup, recovering from 12 for 3 to comfortably beat Cadnam at Langley Manor. Pete Smith’s brutal half century earned him the man of the match award, although many felt that Christian Pain deserved the award for his gritty 40 which saved Lymington from potential embarrassment.
The Seconds, Thirds and Fourths all finished in the lower half of their respective divisions. Dominic Norton, with 26 wickets, was the Second XI’s top bowler while Dave Griffiths scored 340 runs. The Thirds, under new skipper Peter Tapper, won just four times, but one of those victories – against Southampton Travellers – saw Jerry Holt score a majestic 127. Despite 600 runs from captain Mark Gannaway, the Fourth XI badly missed stalwarts Robin Goff and Bob Iles who had both retired the previous season, and tasted victory just once all season. There was some solace, however, in the performances of 14 year old Will Thorp who took 6 for 13 against Suttoners and scored a maiden league 50, and 13 year old Aidan Lindsay-Wood who took a wicket with his very first ball in senior league cricket.
Testing times for Lymington
2006 – the club’s 199th year of existence – could well be described as one of its most testing. Severe player shortages forced the club to scrap its Fourth XI mid-season, the breaking point coming at Hordle when a woefully understrength Lymington were bowled out for just 24. The Second XI also endured a nightmare start to the season but, inspired by the belated arrival of Australian youngster Matt Bowdler, improved as the summer wore on and finished just above the relegation zone.
Following in the footsteps of former Lymingtonians Henry Jupp, Christopher Heseltine, General Poore and Andrew Jones, all of whom had played Test cricket, came Zimbabwean all rounder Keith Dabengwa. The 24 year old from Bulawayo had made three Test and twelve one day international appearances for his country, and also held the distinction of being one of only three batsmen to start their Test careers with a six. Dabengwa arrived at Lymington three weeks into the 2006 season with the team unbeaten and close to the top of the table. But despite showing occasional glimpses of his international pedigree, the Zimbabwean too often got himself out when looking set for a big innings, and ultimately ended the league season with just two half centuries. With Dabengwa struggling for form Lymington went on a losing streak which saw them lurch towards the bottom of the table, and were thankful for those early season wins which ultimately proved enough to keep them out of the relegation places. Dan Wiggins, in his first season with the club, scored 392 runs including centuries against OTs & Romsey and Havant, while Lloyd Scott took 25 wickets. Mark Newton was an unlikely winner of the Division Two wicketkeeping award, snaring 23 victims, an achievement made even more remarkable by the fact that Newton had actually joined the club two years earlier as a fast bowler.
In July at Canford School, Lymington recorded their highest ever winning total batting second when Bowdler’s unbeaten 132 helped Lymington overhaul the home side’s massive 309 for 7. Ironically, the record lasted just a few weeks until Lymington went seven runs better in the Dale Middleton Memorial Match at Bashley. Chasing Bashley’s 316, Keith Dabengwa (80) guided Lymington to a 6 wicket victory.
At the end of a fairly traumatic season, Adie Hunt did at least have the satisfaction of lifting the Global Peaks trophy for Lymington at the fourth time of asking. Dan Peacock’s Zimbabweans were dismissed for 190 before 73 from Bashley guest player Drew Porter helped Lymington to a 3 wicket victory.
200 Not Out
2007 proved to be a memorable year for Lymington Cricket Club as the club celebrated its Bicentenary with a series of events, culminating in a match at the Home of Cricket. The season began on a sad note with the death of Tickle Jenkin at the age of 88. Tickle had been a keen follower of the club for many years, helping to put out the boundary markers and tend the flowers outside the pavilion. His often impenetrable New Forest accent and sharp wit made him popular with home and opposition players and supporters alike. It was a shame that Tickle wasn’t around to witness the 200th anniversary celebrations. They began with a high scoring match against the MCC at the Sports Ground. Australian Sam Raphael, Lymington’s overseas player for 2007, struck a brilliant 147 as Lymington won by 4 wickets. The match saw the unveiling of Lymington’s new electronic scoreboard which had been paid for thanks to generous donations from club members and the Town Council. Raphael also recorded a century as a current Lymington side defeated an Ex-Lymington XI at the Sports Ground. Included in the Ex XI were four members of the 1983 Southern League title winning squad – Jon Hardy, Guy Hayward, Steve Andrew and Clive Plant – and also Tim Smith who had flown in from Australia especially for the match. Next up was a re-enactment of the very first Lymington match on Pennington Common. Passers by might have been forgiven for thinking they’d stepped into a scene from a Jane Austen novel as Lymingtonians, dressed in full Georgian period costume, played out a match under the 1807 laws of the game, complete with underarm bowling and bats made of ash. Match Report. In September, England legend David Gower was guest speaker at the club’s Bicentenary Dinner at Shorefield, an event attended by more than 170 diners. A week later Lymington concluded celebrations with a historic trip to Lord’s where they took on Cross Arrows CC on the Nursery Ground. Sadly Lymington, missing the influence of Raphael who had returned to Australia, were well beaten despite Mark Jackson’s gritty 87.
Sam Raphael proved to be as prolific in league matches as he was in the Bicentenary fixtures. His 561 SEPCL runs helped Lymington to finish fourth in the league. He also played a major part in Lymington’s Presidents Cup success, scoring a half century in a 55 run victory over Bashley in the final at the Sports Ground. The Seconds and Thirds finished 13th and 12th respectively in their divisions, while the club celebrated the awarding of Clubmark status.
The club bade farewell to perhaps its longest serving member in 2007 when Robin Goff and wife Mary emigrated to Canada. Many former teammates and friends gathered at the Sports Ground to honour Robin who had been associated with club for over 50 years as player, committee member and more latterly as the man responsible for rolling the wicket. Another Lymington stalwart, Peter Tapper, was awarded life membership at the club’s AGM in November.
Lymington strike gold at last!
After eight long years and several near misses, Lymington First XI finally achieved their dream of SEPCL Divsion One cricket in 2008. Aussie Craig O’Shannesy (39 wickets) and Morgan Rushbrook (548 runs) helped Lymington finish third in Division Two, and this was enough to secure promotion to the top flight. Glamorgan 2nd XI all-rounder Rushbrook proved to be a valuable find, taking on the role of player/coach during the season. The Hunt family had to cause to celebrate in June as brothers Martin (81) and Adie (42) shared a partnership of 142 at Liphook. Sadly, the Seconds and Thirds both suffered relegation while Lymington’s proud record of having never lost a President’s Cup final was ended by Cadnam in the most farcical of conditions at New Milton. At the club’s AGM Neil Trestrail was deservedly awarded life membership.
One of the effects of Lymington’s promotion was to attract Glyn Treagus back to the club for the 2009 season, and he was joined by former Australian Test bowler Simon Cook. With the majestic Cook taking 33 wickets, the team just about held its own, finishing eighth out of ten teams. But it was to be in the T20 competition where Lymington really shone. They defeated Bashley (where Morgan Rushbrook hit a brilliant 94) and Portsmouth to set up a final meeting with old foes Ventnor under the Rose Bowl floodlights. Tommy Barton struck a rapid 35 as Lymington totalled 176-5 before Simon Cook ripped the heart out of the Islanders reply with 3-14 in four overs to set up a 17 run victory.
There was more success in the President’s Cup as Lymington beat Bashley by seven wickets, and in HCLSW4 where Lee Moors captained the Third XI to the title with Luigi Di Maria taking 29 wickets. The Second XI finished ninth with skipper Simon Naylor topping the batting averages.
The year ended on a terribly sad note with the sudden passing, on Christmas Day, of former player, committee member and umpire Bob Iles. A packed funeral ceremony was testament to the popularity of the larger-than-life Lymington legend, and a memorial match the following season was similarly well attended.
The 2010 season ended on a dramatic note for all three of Lymington’s league sides. The First XI, needing to win at Bournemouth to have any chance of avoiding relegation, scraped a one run victory off the final ball of the match, condemning Ventnor to the drop instead. Morgan Rushbrook, in his final match for Lymington before departing for Australia, almost won the game on his own, notching up a century before taking five wickets. The Second XI were able to celebrate promotion back to Hants League One with a last day victory. Neil Trestrail top scored with 542 while captain Simon Naylor took 29 wickets. Alas, there was no such joy for the Thirds who missed out on a second consecutive promotion by the narrowest of margins on the final day. Jerry Holt received life membership at the club’s end of season AGM.
2011 was Lymington First XI’s most successful to date. Under Christian Pain’s captaincy the team finished seventh with new acquisition Darren Cowley scoring 540 runs. The performance of the season came from Matt Mixer who took an incredible 9-32 on his club debut at Bashley. The team came close to a return trip to the Rose Bowl but were narrowly beaten by Havant in the semi finals of the T20 competition. The Second XI had a solid first season back in HCL1, while the Third XI gained promotion to HCLSW2 thanks mainly to Chris Noble’s 25 wickets and captain Adie Hunt’s 290 runs. The Fourth XI flirted with promotion before settling for sixth place at the end of the season.
During the 2011 season Lymington held a special match at the Sports Ground – in full 1836-style costume – to celebrate the 175th anniversary of cricket at the venue. So there was some irony when the year ended with speculation again rife about the future of the Sports Ground with the town council proposing to relocate the cricket club to Woodside. As with the previous attempts by the council, the move was met with much scepticism from cricket club members. The safety of tennis players in the adjoining courts was cited by the council as one of the reasons for moving the club – during the season several cricket balls had landed in the tennis courts, prompting complaints from the tennis club. The council intimated that cricket might be banned at the Sports Ground unless the a safety of tennis players could be guaranteed. The Lymington Times was awash with letters of protestation from all sides, and national newspapers even picked up on the story. Support for the cricket club’s cause came from all round the world via a Facebook campaign, and DJ Chris Evans even came out in support of the club live on his Radio Two breakfast show. Happily, the safety issue was resolved by the erection of a high net (funded predominantly by the council with support from the respective clubs) to stop cricket balls entering the tennis courts.
New First XI captain Darren Cowley tested the new netting on numerous occasions early in the new 2012 season, not least over the May Bank Holiday weekend when the powerful left-hander smashed 92 against the Academy in the SPL and 118 (including 7 sixes) in just 43 balls the following day in a T20 tie against Tichborne Park. However, the dominant factor of the 2012 season was the appalling weather which not only caused the postponement of numerous matches, but also cost the club a small fortune in lost bar revenue. When the rain did eventually stop, the First XI were able to record five victories from their 12 matches played, finishing seventh in the table. Glyn Treagus topped the averages with 387 runs while Cowley took most wickets (20). The Seconds recovered from a poor start to finish eleventh in HCL Division One, while the Third and Fourth XIs both ended the season in creditable third positions in their respective divisions.
The month of August in 2013 proved to be a sad one for Lymington CC who lost two of it’s greatest stalwarts. Jack Barrett and Bill Craft had been players and supporters of the club since the 1960s. Bill, in particular, had been a prolific batsman for the club, notching up an estimated 6000 runs, while Jack was perhaps best known for his brilliant slip catching and amazing propensity for drinking whisky. Perhaps reflecting the overall mood around the Sports Ground at the time, the First XI, under the captaincy of Ali Jaffir, lost their final two league matches to ruin any chances of a first ever 50-over pennant. They ultimately finished in a rather disappointing sixth overall, although Matt Metcalfe was the league’s top bowler with 34 wickets. The club saved their worst performance for the Presidents Cup final where they were resoundingly thrashed by New Milton. The Second XI finished twelfth in HCL1, the highlight of the season being 16 year old Felix Ambrose’s 101 and 4-26 in the defeat of St Cross. The Under 11s were the pride of the colts section, losing just one match all season, capturing the New Forest league, cup and play-off treble in the process; their only defeat coming at the Ageas Bowl against Odiham in the Alan Rowe County Cup Final. The Under 12 Lymington Lightening Girls team found success at the Portsmouth Festival.
One of the heroes in Lymo’s last Southern League title in 1985 returned to the Sports Ground during the season. Richard McGlashan brought his South African Crickets CC to Lymington and brought back many happy memories, still bowling his fast leg breaks, albeit at a few mph slower than 28 years previous. Another South African from that golden period in Lymington history – Peter Williams – would tragically take his own life just a year later.
2013 also saw the end of an era for midweek cricket in Lymington with the final match played by the Elite CC. The club which had been formed by the late Brian Rickman way back in 1987 had traditionally offered a place to those too young or too old for the rigours of league cricket. One of those most ‘capped’ Elite players – Dom Di Maria – also announced his retirement from senior cricket at the end of the 2013 season, joining his brother Luigi who had been forced to give up the game through injury the previous years. The Di Marias, along with Tony Thorp, John McGurik and Mark Gannaway had been stalwarts of Lymington cricket over the past three decades or more.
The highlight of the 2014 season was undoubtedly the club’s run to the final of the T20 competition at the Ageas Bowl. Comprehensive victories over Totton, Bashley and Hartley Wintney set up a thrilling semi-final win over Havant. The final proved to be one match too many for Simon Beetham’s side who were well beaten by a superb South Wilts team. The best individual performance of the competition came from Darren Cowley who scored a blistering 35 ball century in the quarter finals. In the league, once again Lymington’s form in the all-day matches proved to be their weak point. Australian Damien Mortimer scored 543 runs while Matt Metcalfe was again the club’s top wicket taker with 20. Inconsistency was a frustration for captain Beetham: just one day after Lymington’s mauling by South Wilts at the Ageas Bowl, his young team comfortably beat the same opposition in a league fixture.
A full history of the colts section can be found by clicking here.