“Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will; To strive , to seek, to find, and not to yield.” – Alfred Lord Tennyson (1809-1892) from Ulysses
The 2023 cricket season is on its way. Now that the fixtures have been announced it’s possible to start planning the spring and summer. Championship-wise I will echo what I have said before things do not get easier. It was an immense achievement not only for the team to avoid relegation in 2022 but also for their name not to be mentioned when candidates for the drop were considered in advance of the final batch of matches. However – with the exception of the Surrey game at Northampton – much of the cricket during the final month of the campaign. Northants simply have to put this behind them and defy the critics again. You can bet that the team will be selected as prime candidates for the drop.
The future structure of the county cricket season is under review (again!). The problem is fitting four competitions into the available time. Something always has to give.
As we were ‘going to press’ the news came through that Northamptonshire have signed 30 year old Australian batter Sam Whiteman for 2023. He will be available for County Championship and One Day Cup matches until the end of August. Whiteman plays for Western Australia in domestic cricket and has also represented Australia A. He was actually born in Doncaster, South Yorkshire with his family emigrating to Bunbury WA . Whiteman’s experience of English cricketing conditions includes a 2007 tour with Australian Schools, playing for Weybridge in the Surrey Championship and some Second XI matches for that county in 2010.
Luke Procter has been named as Northants County Championship captain for the 2023 season. Lewis McManus will be Luke’s vice-captain.
Saif Zaib has signed a contract extension with Northamptonshire which runs until the end of the 2025 season.
We are pleased to announce that with significant new shelving in place the Bookstall will again be open for business in the 2023 season. We always welcome your donations, however we have agreed that we can no longer accept the following items; CDs, DVDs, Videos, Cassettes, A4 size hardback books, Reader’s Digest Condensed Books, Mills & Boon / Harlequin / Silhouette . Additionally we will no longer accept magazines (including cricket magazine s) with the exception of cricket programmes, tour guides or benefit brochures. Thanks for your help.
NUMBER 216 REMEMBERED – ARTHUR CHILDS-CLARKE
Arthur Childs-Clarke was 42 years old when he took over the Northamptonshire captaincy for the 1947 season, the position having become vacant following the departure of Peter Murray-Willis the previous season. Unlike his similarly double-barrelled predecessor Childs-Clarke not only saw out the whole season as skipper , he also led the side in 1948.
Sadly though he was unable to turn around the team’s fortunes and they ended both seasons at the bottom of the table with just 5 wins against 25 defeats in County Championship matches. Childs-Clarke scored over 1300 runs, averaging exactly 17, he also claimed twelve expensive wickets with his leg spin.
Exeter-born (on 13 May 1905) his pre-war cricketing career had been at Middlesex, for whom he had made his debut back in 1923 but only appeared in ten matches up to 1934. He was then Second XI captain until the outbreak of war.
Childs-Clarke was allowed to retire gracefully at the end of the 1948 season. He died at Mevagissey on 19 February 1980.
The South African overseas players came to mind quickly as there seem to have been several since 2000. It was fascinating to view a 2009 scorecard featuring three Proteas in the Northamptonshire line up for a championship game at Cardiff. Thanks to Kolpak Andrew Hall, Nicky Boje and Johan van der Wath were playing. This profusion of Proteas in disguise upset some in English cricket, notably Ashley Giles.
The only 20th century overseas player I could find from South Africa was Hylton Ackerman who played from 1967 to 1971, scoring 1,000 runs in three of those seasons.
Then, there appears to be a long break, until the early 2000s saw the arrival of André Nel followed by Johan Louw who served two spells. Then came the often spectacular Lance Klusener who had made himself known scoring 142 not out for South Africa in a tourist ODI in 1998. His time at Wantage Road began in 2004 lasting until 2008. He hit a T20 ton at Worcester in 2007, and as an aggressive all-rounder, did much for the county.
Andrew Hall gave me my one Northamptonshire hat trick. It came at Wantage Road against Glamorgan. He was an ultra-competitive all-rounder whose bowling action always looked like someone ‘throwing’ a dart to me. He and Nicky Boje gave the county a tremendous all-round combination and were part of the T20 squad which gave us our first trip to finals day in 2009. Ian Harvey was another important part of that campaign as was Johan van der Wath.
My belief is that all overseas players from South Africa have given great value and the most celebrated played at Wantage Road for 18 years, qualifying for England through British parents in 1982 after 4 seasons waiting. His impact on the batting was immense and he was part of the ‘Famous Five’ with Cook, Larkins, Williams and Willey during the early 80s.
As far as out and out entertainment is concerned the two most enjoyable to watch with the bat were van der Wath and Rory Kleinveldt, both all-rounders to an extent but devastating with the bat. The former once bombarded the top level of the Spencer Pavilion with powerful straight sixes. The latter often smote powerful sixes, and although I was only listening on the radio, his astounding 128 in 63 balls meant an honourable defeat by 20 runs in a one day cup game at Trent Bridge. Checking the details, I discovered the aggregate runs 870 was the second highest in list A history beaten only by the South Africa v Australia ODI 10 years earlier, featuring 872 runs.
The late Con de Lange gave a good account of himself as a potential all-rounder and I was sorry that he was released by the county.
Recalling white ball Proteas, Johan Botha had the terrible misfortune to be our T20 overseas in a disastrous season in 211. Only 2 wins against 11 defeats leaving the county bottom of the north group. Dwayne Pretorius scored a terrific century when retained for a championship game at home to Worcestershire but was steady in the T20. I must not forget Temba Bavuma who started slowly as our red ball batter in 2019 but finished strongly with hundreds against Lancashire and Derbyshire and has been South Africa’s white ball captain since.
Apologies to anyone I have failed to mention. It could be said that South Africa cricket has done much for Northamptonshire since returning to international status. Only Rupert Hanley in 1984 comes to mind from the years of exile.
Editor’s Note: We have been reminded that we missed Chris Rogers from the article about Northamptonshire’s Australians.
HIGHLIGHTS OF 2022
Cheltenham must be number one, a fantastic finish when a draw had looked likely until tea.
First I thought Gloucestershire would be bowled out so an inning’s victory and a very short day would be the last, or Northamptonshire would need a modest total to win the match. However, Gloucestershire had other ideas and extended their overnight 135 for 5 to 363 for 9, when Graham van Buuren declared after his fine, fighting innings of 127 not out.
This left a target of 202 in a minimum of 37 overs into the early evening fading light. A draw seemed most likely to me, but in the end, either team could have won.
Will Young and especially Ryan Rickelton, took up England’s aggressive attitude and their second wicket partnership of 106 from 74 balls set up a solid position. Naturally, once Rickelton was gone, things took a turn for the worse. Three wickets went down for 34 runs, but James Sales and Lewis McManus added 47 runs and victory was only six runs away. Two more wickets fell for five but Simon Kerrigan had the honour of scoring the winning boundary to seal a two wicket win with 20 balls to spare.
Mention must be made of Jack White’s promotion to number 8. Sent in to bring the game to a speedy end, he astonished me by reverse sweeping his first ball for 4. Sadly as is his habit, Jack did not survive until the target was reached.
Of course there were many other highlights which exceeded my expectations. When the stream suddenly resumed at the end of the win at Canterbury the sheer joy of the celebrations was wonderful to see. Rather like the Cheltenham match, it was hard to see a victory coming earlier in the day.
Everyone played their part in the red ball season but I will pick out Emilio Gay’s progress with the bat, Luke Procter’s emergence as a leading batter and the ever reliable Ben Sanderson’s consistency and threat with the ball.
THE STRAUSS PLAN
At the November supporters lunch the plan for the future of English cricket was discussed.
Gavin Warren was able to confirm that at that point it was in the county’s best interests to vote against reducing the number of T20 fixtures.
It was also best to vote to keep the 50 over competition in August when attendances had been good.
Now England is 20 and 50 over world champions and winning practically every test played, maybe the review is no longer necessary?
It was a truly excellent season, but one disastrous conclusion to a match still haunts me in darkest late December.
The excursion to the Isle of Wight went beautifully and victory over Hampshire looked inevitable in the Royal London Cup. The bowlers had done a great job dismissing Hampshire for 199, Jack White and Rob Keogh starring with 3 wickets apiece. The latter stood out with the bat too scoring 74 but that was the beginning of the end when he was dismissed.
Not sure how the wicket played, except the scoring rates were average for white ball, and the stream indicated an almost white outfield after the scorching weather.
Rob left at 177 for 6 and the hope was that the last 4 wickets could summon up the 23 required. However a young left arm medium fast bowler had a very different idea and picked up the next three wickets, leaving Northamptonshire precariously balanced on 188-9.
It was Jack Campbell who had done the damage and his figures of 9 overs 3 for 17 with 3 maidens had made the difference.
Two points; both innings took up 40 overs and 2 balls, and I can’t find out if Jack Campbell received the player of the match award, if they are still given.
Just when I had thoughts of reaching the knockout stages!
LUNCH WITH GUEST SPEAKER
Thursday 23rd February 2023: Rob White
Thursday 30th March 2023: Fans Forum
Both lunches start at 1pm.
As of 1 January 2023 the Supporters Club subscription rates will increase to £7 per year or £35 for five years. Therefore if you did not pay for a five year subscription in 2019 or later this will be due at the new rate.
Since our last newsletter the fixtures for the coming season have been announced. Northants’s Championship campaign begins with an Easter return to Canterbury, the scene of an exciting triumph last season. The first home Championship match is the following week against newly promoted Middlesex. The away fixture against the same opponents, which begins on Monday 10th July gives supporters the chance to visit a new venue as Merchant Taylor’s School at Northwood (rather than Lord’s) will be the venue. Another possibility for new ground spotters will be the 50-over match at Cambridgeshire on Sunday 30th July (currently TBC).
The T20 Blast begins on Wednesday 24th May with the visit of Worcestershire to the County Ground. The One Day Cup opener is against Gloucestershire at the pleasant surroundings of Cheltenham College on Friday 4th August. Two days later Sussex visit the County Ground. The final match of the season as in 2022 will see Essex at Northampton in a fixture which commences on Tuesday 26th September.
In 2023 Northamptonshire will visit school / college grounds to play both Gloucestershire and Middlesex so inspired by this the following quiz has an education based theme.
- In which year did the county last play a first-class match at Wellingborough School?
- Apart from Cambridge and Oxford which other university have Northamptonshire played in a first-class match?
- Which Northamptonshire player won a cricket blue at Cambridge each year from 1980 to 1983?
- In 2005 Northamptonshire played a home limited overs match at which school?
Answers: 1. 1991, 2. Dublin University, 3. Robin Boyd-Moss, 4. Stowe School.
Northamptonshire County Cricket Supporters Club would like to thank PDS Ltd (www.printdatasolutions.co.uk) for their assistance in the printing of this newsletter.