Hopson defends timed cricket

Pete Hopson Picture: Mick Young
Pete Hopson Picture: Mick Young
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Pete Hopson has come out fighting in defence of timed games in the Southern Electric premier division.

In the wake of Hampshire star Liam Dawson’s recent criticism of the format, the Havant player-coach – who is also the premier division’s representative on the management committee – has conducted his own independent research to gauge the mood among some of the players.

Dawson believes the longer version, where matches can be drawn, promotes a negative brand of cricket if the two teams are not intent on trying to win.

But Hopson, who knows Dawson well from their days together in junior cricket, believes the majority of players enjoy the change in emphasis.

‘I know Daws quite well from junior cricket,’ said Hopson.

‘We’ll have to agree to disagree on some of the things he said.

‘The general opinion I’ve heard is that the players enjoy playing timed games.

‘I had a chat with Bashley captain Richard Morris and a few of the other people around the league about it.

‘The general consensus is that the people in the league consistently enjoy timed cricket.

‘Personally, I think it’s absolutely great that we can have nine games in the middle of the season when the days are longer to play a different brand of cricket.

‘The other important thing is that you get a lunch.

‘We get some great lunches and it would be hard to give that up!’

Second-placed Havant travel to struggling Totton & Eling tomorrow, which should give an interesting indication on the format, considering games have often been more negative between two sides who aren’t as closely matched in the standings.

Hopson said: ‘It just depends who you play against and what they are trying to achieve.

‘The last couple of games we’ve had against South Wilts and Bashley – all three teams want to win that game.

‘Sometimes you get the timed games where the opposition don’t necessarily have the objective of winning but want to get a certain amount of points out of the game so will therefore play a more negative brand of cricket.

‘That’s fine because at least one team will be getting a decent amount of points.

‘But I think there is scope to change some of the points allocation to reward the more positive team.’

While Hopson refutes Dawson’s view on timed games, they are in agreement about the possible expansion of t20 club cricket.

The Havant opener added: ‘I agree with Daws about the idea for a t20 league. I think the players would love that.

‘To have a longer group stage and more t20 cricket on a Sunday, people would enjoy that.

‘He’s probably right about the older guys who have families as well.

‘They struggle to play nine timed games per season.

‘But if you look at the make-up of the premier division, it’s a lot of younger guys and I think they want to play that form of cricket.

‘I’m a premier division representative so if anyone wants to come and talk to me about, they can.’

All-rounder Ben Walker is a major doubt for the trip tomorrow after he pulled a hamstring in last week’s draw with Bashley.