Hampshire Cricket: Black History Month (Part Two)

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 two below.

In 1895, Hampshire’s first season in the County Championship, their professional opening bowlers were Harry Baldwin from Berkshire and Tom Soar from Nottinghamshire – the latter combining playing with duties as a groundsman. It has always been typical of Hampshire that they have recruited players from far-and-wide and in 1899 they selected an all-rounder CB (Charles Bennett) Llewellyn, known as ‘Buck’, to play against the touring Australians. He had been born in Natal, South Africa and had already played for a South African side against England in what would be designated Test matches in 1896 and 1899.

‘Buck’ Llewellyn’s tale is a fascinating one. Despite some objections from his family descendants, it is clear that he can be described in today’s terms as Hampshire’s first ‘Black’ player, his mother having been born on the volcanic island of St Helena in the South Atlantic where many people had been themselves or were descended from slaves. His father Thomas was born in Wales and probably arrived and settled in South Africa as a serving soldier. In some respects, CB Llewellyn is rather similar to Basil D’Oliveira, who was once known as a ‘Cape Coloured’ player and therefore prevented from playing at the highest levels in South Africa under the stringently repressive post-war Apartheid system.

At the end of the 19th century, prior to the legislation that brought in that system Llewellyn could play for Natal and South Africa although as his biographer Hampshire’s former Historian the late Neil Jenkinson  noted that even then white South Africans exercised most of the power in a hierarchical system.

Two months after Llewellyn’s debut for Hampshire, the second Boer War began in his native South Africa. He settled in Hampshire where, following regulations, he was required to spend two years qualifying by residence, before he could play in the County Championship. In that period, he was permitted to play against the touring West Indians at Southampton in 1900, scoring 93 & 6 and taking 13 wickets in the match, while his Championship career was launched in Portsmouth against a strong Lancashire side on 6 May 1901. Llewellyn made a modest start in what would be a heavy defeat, the match only lasting for two of the scheduled three days, but with four wickets in the match, he had made a start, and from then until 1910 he would play an important part, alongside a group of younger professionals in raising the standards of Hampshire’s county cricket. By the end of his county career he had scored nearly 9,000 runs, with 15 centuries in 196 matches for Hampshire to which he added 711 wickets.

Llewellyn played in a total of 15 Test Matches for South Africa, the last, touring England for the Triangular Tournament of 1912. After the 1910 English county season he left Hampshire in a dispute over wages, moving to Accrington and later Radcliffe to play Lancashire League cricket which was better paid. In 1934, age 57, he played for East Lancashire Paper Mill CC when they won the Bolton League but by 1939 he had moved to Chertsey in Surrey where he died after a domestic accident in June 1964. By that time the county’s next Black player Danny Livingstone had arrived from Antigua.

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