There were not many people who believed that Hampshire could win the county
championship at the start of the 1973 season. Sure, they had a powerful
opening batting pair in the South African Barry Richards and West Indian
Gordon Greenidge. And with the likes of David Turner and Trevor Jesty they
had batsmen who could continue the good work at the crease. But it was a
line-up better suited to limited-overs competition and their weaker bowling
attack had always hampered their success.
Copyright - Patrick Eagar
This did not deter Peter White, their new scorer, from taking a bet at 66-1
on them winning the championship for the first time since 1961. Some say it
was more out of loyalty than good judgment. White collected his winnings
after Hampshire had won half and drawn the other half of their 20 matches to
clinch the title with a game to spare.
Their batsmen lived up to their reputations with both Greenidge and Richards
notching more than 1,000 runs each. But it was the bowlers who surprised
everybody - Bob Herman, Tom Mottram and Mike Taylor took more than 50
wickets each and spinners Peter Sainsbury and New Zealander David O'Sullivan
chipped in with 40-odd wickets apiece.
"We had a wonderful team spirit too," recalls Turner. "Our bowlers performed
superbly. However, a lot of our success came because of our fielding.
Greenidge and Richards took everything that flew to them in the slips, and
we had some good ground fielders."
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Richards remembers the success but, like many international players, was
more focused on the Test arena. "I don't want to demean the achievement of
winning a county championship but I was young and wanted to play Test
cricket," he said. "I eventually found the challenge had gone out of playing
county cricket and I left a lot of runs out there." His greatest challenge
was a healthy competition that developed between himself and Greenidge as
they attempted to out-perform each other. It was a contest that many a
bowler around the shires would grow to regret.
1 Richard Lewis
A right-handed batsman and occasional leg-break bowler who played in 13
matches in the championship-winning season, he was with the county from 1967
to 1976 but had the misfortune of being understudy to the best opening
batting pair in county cricket at the time. Played for Dorset until 1989 and
now coaches cricket at Charterhouse school.
2 David O'Sullivan
A fine slow left-arm bowler who thrived in dry conditions, the New Zealander
grabbed plenty of wickets late in the season as Hampshire's title chase
gathered momentum. Achieved career-best figures that summer when he took
6-26 against Nottinghamshire. Hampshire had to choose between him and Andy
Roberts, the West Indian fast bowler, the next season and reluctantly
released the Antipodean. He played in 11 Tests and lives in New Zealand,
where he is successful in the insurance business.
3 Mike Taylor
Rejected by Nottinghamshire after eight years, in his first season for his
new county, the right-arm medium-pace bowler took 63 wickets at an average
of 19.33. He repaid Hampshire for their faith with solid performances until
he stopped playing in 1980. Became marketing manager at the club in 1984 and
retired last year. He lives in Chandler's Ford, near Southampton.
4 Tom Mottram
This was Mottram's finest season in four summers in first-class cricket,
taking 57 wickets at an average of 22. Mottram played 35 matches and took
111 wickets. He is an architect in Poole, Dorset.
5 Bob Herman
A right-arm fast-medium bowler, Herman took 81 wickets at an average of
21.66 in his first season at Hampshire in 1972, having moved from Middlesex,
and followed that with 63 the next summer. Followed in his father's
footsteps by playing for Middlesex then Hampshire. Turned out for Dorset for
two seasons until 1979 before becoming an umpire. He was a prolific hitter
in club cricket for Sarisbury Green, where he teaches at the local school.
6 Gordon Greenidge
The Barbadian-born right-handed batsman moved to England at the age of 12
and, although approached to play for England, waited for his chance with the
West Indies. When it came he never looked back, playing 108 Tests and
scoring 7,558 runs at an average of 44.72. Stayed loyal to Hampshire, and
his partnership with Richards provided the platform for many successes.
Retained his interest in the game after he retired, and was the batting
coach for Bangladesh in the World Cup in South Africa.
7 Andy Murtagh
A lower-order batsman born in Dublin, Murtagh played in five games in the
championship-winning season in which Hampshire used only 13 players but
struggled to win a regular place in the powerful batting line-up. He is a
teacher and in charge of cricket at Malvern College near Worcester. His
sons, Tim and Chris, are on the books at Surrey.
8 Trevor Jesty
An aggressive middle-order batsman who started with Hampshire in 1966, Jesty
did not enjoy one of his best seasons with the bat in 1973. Had more success
as a change bowler, taking 35 wickets at 20 runs apiece. Jesty played 340
games for Hampshire until he moved to Surrey in the winter of 1985. Spent
two and a bit seasons at The Oval and then played for Lancashire. He scored
1,000 runs in a season 10 times and played in 10 one-day internationals for
England. Now a respected first-class umpire.
9 David Turner
After Greenidge and Richards in the batting line-up came Turner, a solid
left-hander who piled on 19,005 first-class career runs at an average of
30.55. Born in Wiltshire, he played for Hampshire from 1966 until 1989 and
scored 1,000 runs in a season nine times. Returned to Chippenham where he
runs a key cutting and shoe repair business that he took over from his
father. When he has time he plays social cricket and enjoys a round of golf.
10 Peter Sainsbury
A slow left-arm bowler and lower-order batsman, this was his finest season
and he was named one of Wisden's five cricketers of the year. Sainsbury
chipped in with more than 700 runs, but it was his bowling that turned the
tide Hampshire's way as he took 49 wickets at an average of 17.73. The only
player to win championships with the county in both 1961 and 1973, he was
with Hampshire from 1954 until 1976. Sainsbury hit 1,000 runs in a season
six times and took 100 wickets in a season twice. After hanging up his
well-worn boots, he became Hampshire coach from 1977 until 1991, and has now
retired to the golf course.
11 Richard Gilliat
Like many good captains, Gilliat was slightly aloof but well respected. His
strongest ability was his tactical awareness and a penchant for getting the
best out of his players. Although he had a strong batting line-up, winning
the championship title required bowling teams out twice in three days, and
Gilliat's use of his attack could not be faulted in 1973. He played for
Hampshire in 220 matches from 1966 until 1978 and captained the county from
1971 until his retirement. Gilliat hit 1,000 runs in a season four times and
captained Oxford University at cricket and football. He is deputy headmaster
at Charterhouse school.
12 Barry Richards
Hampshire followers would drool over a Richards century before lunch, and
for good reason. The South African was a stylish and technically correct
batsman whose brilliance at the crease was curtailed in the Test arena by
apartheid. However, he showed that black and white could mix by forming a
formidable opening partnership with Greenidge. Richards played in only four
Tests for South Africa, but enjoyed a batting average of 72.57. He was chief
executive at Queensland and lives in Perth, Western Australia. He is a
television commentator and writes a newspaper column.
13 Bob Stephenson
The Hampshire wicketkeeper started his career at Derbyshire before moving to
Southampton in 1969. Played in 263 games for the county and was captain in
1979, his penultimate season. He ran a sports shop specialising in shooting
and fishing and is sports coach at Twyford school near Winchester.