Hampshire Cricket: Black History Month (Part Six)

Hampshire Cricket's historian, Dave Allen, is back with a series of articles for Black History Month

Hampshire Cricket's historian, Dave Allen, is back with a series of articles for Black History Month - read part six below.

Between 1961-1992 Hampshire won two County Championships, three Sunday League titles and three Lord’s finals and on each occasion there was at least one cricketer in their side from the Caribbean. By the mid-1980s Cardigan Connor, from Anguilla via London club cricket was lining up with Greenidge and Malcolm Marshall, with all three featuring in the Sunday League triumph of 1986. ‘Cardie’, a pace bowler, became a hugely popular figure with Hampshire’s supporters and in his career from 1984-1998 he took 614 first-class wickets at 31.74 with a best of 9-38 v Gloucestershire at Southampton in 1996, adding a Hampshire record of 407 limited-overs wickets at 24.78.

With Malcolm Marshall on tour, Hampshire had a second West Indian pace bowler in 1984, Elvis Reifer, whose son has played for the West Indies in the 21st century. Through the remainder of the 20th century a number of other Caribbean pace bowlers came for brief periods: Linden Joseph was from Guyana (1990) while Jamaican Norman Cowans (1994) moved from Middlesex where he had also represented England. Antiguan Winston Benjamin followed Malcolm Marshall in 1994 & 1996 – he toured England in 1995 – but struggled with fitness, enjoying most success in limited-overs matches, and in 1998-1999 Nixon McLean from St Vincent was the county’s overseas choice with 108 wickets in 30 first-class matches at 28.37 and a further 51 in limited-overs games.

In the early years of the 21st century two English-born players joined Hampshire, Lawrie Prittipaul from Portsmouth and Londoner Michael Carberry – in both cases English cricketers with parents from the Caribbean. Lawrie’s dad Roland, originally from Guyana, was a well-known cricketer who still plays in Portsmouth and while Lawrie was one of a number of young batsmen who struggled with the early pitches at the Rose Bowl, he left with the record of having scored the last first-class century and last limited-overs half-century at Northlands Road, as well as Hampshire’s first Rose Bowl century in a 2nd XI game in 2000.

Michael Carberry arrived in 2006 via Kent and Surrey and established himself as one of Hampshire’s finest batsmen, going on to play in six Test Matches for England. From 2006-2017 for Hampshire, he scored over 10,000 first-class runs at 42.64; plus 3,519 limited-overs runs at 38.67 and over 3,000 runs in the T20 at 31.28. On two occasions he was hit with serious illness and on the first in 2011 he recovered and participated in two record partnerships: 373 with Jimmy Adams for the second wicket at Taunton, and with Neil McKenzie a mammoth 523 for the third wicket v Yorkshire as Carberry (300*) became the fourth and last triple centurion for the county, following RM Poore, RH Moore and John Crawley (twice).

Three other West Indian pace bowlers came to Hampshire for brief periods in the 21st century; Jamaican Daren Powell in 2007, Ruel Brathwaite from Barbados via Durham in 2013-2014 and Tino Best, also from Barbados in 2016. Tino came as a replacement for Fidel Edwards who had taken 45 wickets at just over 20 each in 2015, but was injured in an early season warm-up at Headingley and missed almost the whole of 2016. Fidel, another from Barbados, was in the strong tradition of Hampshire’s West Indian fast bowlers and after he returned in 2017, he took another 137 first-class wickets for Hampshire in three seasons, leaving him with 185 at 25.35 in his county career. Had he returned as expected in 2020 he would have surely passed 200 wickets but Covid intervened and for the time being it seems Hampshire’s future might not include a West Indian. But for more than sixty years since Roy Marshall arrived and then Danny Livingstone held that historic catch, it has been a wonderful Caribbean adventure, enjoyed by all Hampshire’s supporters. 

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