Tues 25th October 2016

Hampshire Cricket League - Then & Now (Revisited)

Back in 2014 we published an article looking at the differences in the make up of the Hampshire League for the coming season compared with how it was back in 1992 - the original article is here.

Two years on, we are having another look with a view to seeing the extent to which recreational cricket is being concentrated in the hands of multi-team clubs, usually with colts sections.

To refresh minds (!), this was the structure of the HCL back in 1992:

CD1   CD2
   
Longparish   Easton & MW
Liphook and Ripsley   Redlynch & Hale
Hambledon   Wellow & Plaitford
Rowledge   Botley Simmarians
Sparsholt   Bournemouth II
Basics- Pollhill   Sarisbury Athletic
Bashley Rydal   Portsmouth Enterprise
Paultons   AWE Tadley
Romsey   Amport
Purbrook   Old Symodian BR
Lyndhurst & Deanery   Rotherwick
Burridge   Ampfield
Hartley Witney   Aerostructures
Cormorants   Basingstoke & NH
Old Basing   Fareham & Crofton
Portsmouth CS   Calmore Sports II
Portsmouth II   Antelope
Poole   Hook and Newnham
   
   
CD3A   CD3B

   

Leckford

 

BAT

South Wilts II

 

Flamingos

Lymington II

 

Waterlooville II

Winterslow

 

Ellingham

Hyde

 

Bass Alton

New Milton II

 

Esso Fawley

Frimchett

 

Salisbury Wanderers

Hursely Park II

 

Old Tauntonians II

Hungerford II

 

Havant II

Portsmouth III

 

Petersfield II

Monksbrook

 

Denmead

Steep

 

Alton II

Crown Taverners

 

Andover II

Castle

 

Compton & Shawford

Hythe & Dibden

 

US Portsmouth II

Poole II

 

Botley Simmarians II

Gosport Borough II

 

Fareham & Crofton II

Winchester II

 

Milford (Wilts)

   

   

CD4

 

East Div 1

Bashley II

 

Emsworth

Purbrook II

 

Ropley

Southern Gas

 

Havant III

Old Edwardians

 

Fair Oak

Liphook & Ripsley II

 

Hartley Witney II

St Cross

 

Liss

Mottisfont

 

Hamble

Bentworth

 

Crondall

Trojans II

 

Chandlers Ford

Bedhampton

 

Old Basing II

Locks Heath

 

Sarisbury II

Whitchurch

 

Burridge II

Hambledon II

 

Bitterne

Dogmersfield

 

Four Marks

Oakley

 

Rowledge II

Redlynch & Hale II

 

Portsmouth CS II

Twyford

 

Basingstoke & NH II

Netley Sports

 

Portsmouth IV

   

   

East Div 2

 

East Div 3

Porchester

 

IBM South Hants

Easton & MW II

 

Wickham

Chawton

 

Anterlope II

Otterbourne StM

 

West Hill

Basics-Polhill II

 

Cowplain

Rowner

 

RAE Farnborough

Hendy Ford Mansbridge

 

Crown Taverners II

Medsted

 

Hamble II

Hayling Island

 

Waterlooville III

Cormorants II

 

Chandlers Ford II

Corinthians

 

Alton III

Titchbourne Park

 

St Cross II

Bishops Waltham

 

Purbrook III

Portsmouth Enterprise II

 

Eaton Sports

Hook & Newnham II

 

Titchbourne Park II

Old Symondian BR II

 

Frimchett II

Fareham & Crofton III

 

Compton & Shawford II

Petersfield III

 

Botley Simmarians III

   

   

West Div 1

 

West Div 2

   

Romsey II

 

Wooton St Lawrence

Penton

 

Bramshaw

Fordingbridge

 

St Mary Bourne

Bishopstone

 

Ashurst

Littleton

 

Southampton Travellers

Spencers Wood

 

Burghfield

IBM Hursley

 

Ringwood

Lyndhurst & Deanery II

 

Reading Civil Service

Longparish II

 

Woodgreen

AWE Tadley II

 

Burghclere

Ramsdell

 

Esso Fawley II

Donnington

 

Godshill

Sulhamstead

 

Sparsholt II

East Woodhay

 

West End

ITW Basingstoke

 

Rotherwick II

Downton

 

Amport II

Paultons II

 

Fanum

Ordnance Survey

 

Linkenholt

   

   

West Div 2

   

   

Cadnam

   

BAT II

   

Wellow & Plaitford II

   

Porton Camp

   

Steeple Langford

   

Tadley Hobos

   

Wherwell

   

Braemore

   

Griffin Sports

   

Oakley II

   

Ashford Hill

   

East Woodhay II

   

Southampton Travellers II

   

Hythe & Dibden II

   

Andover III

   

Michelmarsh & Timsbury

   

Worthies

   

The above list of teams has been analysed and compared with the HCL roster for 2017 and the results are as follows:

  No. of Clubs   No. of Clubs  
  1992 % 2017 %
1 team clubs 75 58.6 57 33.9
2 team clubs 43 33.6 48 28.6
3 team clubs 10 7.8 34 20.2
4 team clubs 0 0.0 20 11.9
5 team clubs 0 0.0 8 4.8
6 team clubs 0 0.0 1 0.6
  128 100.0 168 100.0

As can be seen from the table above, single team clubs made up almost 3/5ths of the clubs in the Hampshire League. The traditional "two team" setup has remained the same in terms of popularity - falling a little from 33% to 28% of all clubs. The big growth has come in multi-team clubs - back in 1992 there was not a single club running 4 teams or more and just 10 clubs running 3 teams. In 2017, 37.5% of clubs will be running 3 teams or more with 9 running 5 or more teams. Of course moving to 3 teams or more marks a pivotal point in the development of a club as it necessitates the use of more than one ground with all the organisation associated with this.

In terms of the actual number of teams (as opposed to the number of clubs) the figures look like this:

  No. of Teams   No. of Teams  
  1992 % 2017 %
1 team clubs 75 39.3 57 15.0
2 team clubs 86 45.0 96 25.2
3 team clubs 30 17.7 102 26.8
4 team clubs 0 0.0 80 21.0
5 team clubs 0 0.0 40 10.5
6 team clubs 0 0.0 6 1.6
    100.0 168 100.0

So back in 1992, the most likely club setup of a team you were playing on a Saturday was a a 2-team club followed by a single team club. However, in 2017 the most like club set up you will encounter is a 3-team club and almost 60% of the teams are from 3-6 team clubs.

There are of course likely to be a number of reasons, financial and otherwise as to why there has been a clear move away from small clubs towards multi-team clubs - this will need more research.

It is interesting to hypothesise as to whether this change has led to higher standards within clubs -  one potentially telling fact is that that back in 1992, the top 2 divisions of the Hampshire Cricket League contained 10 "single team" clubs - by 2016 there were none! The last such club in the top 2 divisions was Flamingo who sadly folded in 2015.

As to whether this trend will continue, it seems likely that more single-team clubs are at risk and will likely merge or fold and the risk to the existence of cricket grounds has probably not been as great since some of them were ploughed up in WW2! It is not statistically significant, but whilst there are usually a small number of new clubs being formed or re-formed each season, in 2017 there are just 2 new entries both of which are 3rd & 4th XIs.