Gosport CC skipper’s biggest fear during Covid-19 crisis isn’t a financial one

Gosport Borough CC captain Lee Harrop is currently more concerned about his club potentially losing players than any financial woes brought on by the pandemic.

Friday, 8th May 2020, 1:19 pm
Updated Friday, 8th May 2020, 3:30 pm
Gosport Borough CC captain Lee Harrop in batting action against Burridge at Privett Park. Picture: Ian Hargreaves

Compared to some cricket clubs, Borough don’t own their Privett Park ground, so have none of the annual costs associated with its upkeep.

‘At the moment the cost of losing players is a bigger worry than money,’ Harrop said.

‘You might get kids losing interest because they have not been playing the game - it’s been a year since they played now.

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Leeland Zeller celebrates taking a wicket for Gosport Borough in the 2011 season. Picture: Mick Young

‘At the other end, you’ve got players with young families who might enjoy spending more time at home. They might realise how much time cricket can take up and drop out.’

Harrop has been surprised by how much he is missing the sport.

‘I’ve played cricket for a long time, and you end up taking it for granted,’ he outlined. ‘You miss all the jokes, it’s something to look forward to, and when it’s not there you end up missing it a lot.’

Gosport have gone through a yo-yo period in recent times. Relegated from Division 3 of the Southern Premier League in 2018, they finished third in the top flight of the Hampshire League 12 months later.

Flashback - Chris Lynn in action for Gosport against Fair Oak in 2008. Picture: Steve Reid.

Normally that would have seen them miss out on promotion, but they ended up going up with Hook & Newnham Basics 2nds as Parley’s ground facilities didn’t meet league expectations.

‘2018 had been an awkward year,’ Harrop recalled. ‘There were a few arguments and it showed on the pitch.

‘But then a new scorer, Joe Scutts, joined us and he said one of the reasons why was because we always looked as if we were enjoying ourselves.

‘That was news to us, because we didn’t think we had been enjoying it!’

Down memory lane - Gosport Borough CC, 2010. Back (from left): Lee Wateridge, Lee Harrop, Mark Oxford, Tim Ndowora, Andrew Blomerus, scorer Carol Howell. Front: Ashley Cleaver, Simon Creal, Craig Stares, Tom Larner, Richard Edwards, Alex Machin. Picture: Michael Scaddan.

Gosport were due to welcome young Kiwi all-rounder Thomas Shuker to Privett Park this summer, but his arrival is now looking increasingly unlikely.

Harrop said the club have always tried to get an overseas import in, as ‘it can be difficult trying to get players to play for Gosport if they don’t live in Gosport. We’re a bit off the main drag and it can be difficult getting in and out.

‘It’s also nice to get people in from overseas who have different views and different ways of doing things - it adds a fresh dimension.’

The club’s most well-known recent foreign signing was Chris Lynn in 2008, who went to play for Australia in ODI and T20I formats. He scored 754 runs in 17 innings at 62.92, with a highest score of 136 not out against United Services.

But the most successful was Australian Leeland Zeller, who in 2011 scored 805 runs to help Gosport to promotion from the Hampshire League. He also claimed 40 wickets at an average of just 9.00.

One fine all-round display came against Bedhampton when he followed up an unbeaten 77 with 4-13 as the hosts, chasing 211 for victory, were all out for 84.

Zeller also scored another 1,190 runs in 20 friendlies, including 188 not out against west Sussex club Stirlands - sharing an unbroken second wicket stand of 297 with Tom Larner (107 not out) in the process.

Other large friendly innings arrived against Ryde (140 not out), Cadnam (108 not out), 107 (Sarisbury) and 98 (Portsmouth & Southsea).