Born On This Day: 19th November

A new series from Hampshire Cricket historian Dave Allen marks the birthdays of notable and fondly remembered Hampshire cricketers

Bob Stephenson, was born in Derby in 1942. A Wicketkeeper, he joined Hampshire in an emergency at the start of the 1969 season after 28-year-old Bryan Timms left unexpectedly. Hampshire had no regular reserve wicketkeeper and Stephenson, the son of an England football international, was one of the last generation of cricketers who also played football; in his case for Derby County, Shrewsbury, and Rochdale.

He played cricket in the Lancashire League and for Derbyshire as understudy to Bob Taylor, and after just nine first-class matches in 1967 & 1968, the invitation to join Hampshire, guaranteed him a first team place, which he held from 1969-1980. He played in 263 first-class matches for Hampshire and batting pragmatically in the late middle order scored 4,566 runs at 16.48, with one century,  and 625 dismissals – 75 of them stumpings.

His 80 victims in 1970 is the third highest total for the county in one season and in 1971, when Peter Sainsbury dismissed more than 100 victims, Stephenson stumped 17 batsmen. In 1972 and 1974 he was the country’s leading wicketkeeper, and he was second in 1975. There were also 65 dismissals in 1973, a significant contribution to the Championship title, and in 1975 and 1978 he ‘kept’, as Hampshire won two Sunday League titles; overall, he had 249 victims in 237 limited-overs matches.

He was Hampshire’s representative on the developing Professional Cricketers Association, and served as Gilliat’ s deputy before his appointment as captain in 1979. He played on under Nick Pocock in 1980 when his last match, in early August, was against the touring Australians at Southampton; in the second innings he arrived at number 10 with Hampshire facing an innings defeat. The Australians won, but they had to bat again because Stephenson scored 65 before Lillee ended his career. That final innings was typical of his professionalism, his determination and resilience after which he moved into a long career teaching and coaching in Hampshire.

Also today: Alban Arnold (1912-1914); Frederick Blundell (1880), Gavin Griffiths (Loan 2016), Geoffrey Keith (1962-1971 also coach).


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A new series from Hampshire Cricket historian Dave Allen marks the birthdays of notable and fondly remembered Hampshire cricketers