Award-winning actor and Ashes winner among the diverse England XI set to celebrate 250 years of first-class cricket

An award-winning actor who has appeared in the last four James Bond films is among a diverse England XI set to celebrate a major cricketing milestone just a few miles north of Portsmouth later this week.

By Simon Carter
Tuesday, 21st June 2022, 9:18 am

Rory Kinnear - who has played Bill Tanner in the Bond franchise - joins a former Ashes winner, a former England women’s captain, an amputee player and a keen amateur who grew up in Nepal playing street cricket.

The England XI will face a Hampshire XI captained by Mark Nicholas, who led the county to three one-day trophies in the 1980s and 1990s, as well as missing out on another Lord’s final win in 1991 due to injury. Since retiring from playing, Nicholas has become a familiar face as a television presenter.

Former Hampshire first teamers Jason Laney, James Hamblin, James Bruce and Raj Maru are also involved, along with two members of the Southern Vipers’ women’s team - Georgia Adams and Charlotte Taylor. Zimbabwean Neil Johnson, who was Hampshire’s overseas player in 2001 and who played 13 Tests for his country, lends an international flavour.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

Rory Kinnear at the World Premiere of James Bond film 'No Time To Die' in 2021. Photo by Tim P. Whitby/Getty Images for EON Productions, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios, and Universal Pictures.

The teams will face off in a friendly at Broadhalfpenny Down, the home of the world famous Hambledon club, this Friday (1.30pm) - 250 years to the day since a Hampshire XI and an England XI took part in cricket’s historic maiden first-class fixture.

Back in June 1772, the Hampshire XI - featuring the splendidly-named William Hogsflesh, born in Hambledon - defeated England by 53 runs in a two-day two innings fixture.

Broadhalfpenny Down - nicknamed the ‘Cradle of Cricket’ - went on to host a further 14 first-class games, the last of which saw Hampshire face an England XI in 1908.

Legendary sportsman CB Fry - who played for England at football and cricket and also once held the world long jump record - was part of the Hampshire team. And Gilbert Jessop, who still holds the record - just - for the fastest Test century made by an England player was among the opposition.

Former Hampshire and England bowler Chris Tremlett will be part of an England XI at Broadhalfpenny Down on Friday. Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images

Jonny Bairstow failed by only one ball to equal Jessop’s 1902 76-ball record in helping the current England side to a memorable Test win against New Zealand only last week.

Kinnear - a triple winner of the Evening Standard’s Best Actor Award - is joined in the England XI by former Hampshire and England bowler Chris Tremlett, who helped his country win the Ashes in 2010/11, the only time England have triumphed in Australia since 1986/87.

After helping Hampshire win a one-day trophy in 2005, he later joined Surrey but made a great return to The Ageas Bowl in 2011, winning the man of the match award in the first Test held at the stadium against Sri Lanka.

England women’s legend Charlotte Edwards - currently head coach at the Southern Vipers - and amputee player Rob Franks, the first cricketer in the country to play on a running blade, are also part of the England squad.

Tremlett is joined by one other former professional, ex-Somerset captain Jamie Cox who is now head of cricket at the MCC.

Suman Shrestha - who grew up in Nepal - and Yasin Patel, a barrister who has represented cricketers accused of spot-fixing and match-fixing, add to the diversity of the England side.

Hampshire XI: Mark Nicholas, Jason Laney, Georgia Adams, Neil Johnson, James Hamblin, James Bruce, Mark Garaway, James Bovill, Raj Maru, Darren Flint, David Griffiths, Charlotte Taylor.

England XI: Elgan Alderman, Maia Bouchier, Jamie Cox, Charlotte Edwards, Rob Franks, Rory Kinnear, Dru Patel, Yasin Patel, Suman Shrestha, Chris Tremlett, Jim Wallace, David Henderson (12th man).

*Tickets for Friday’s match are £10 for adults with Under 17s free. All proceeds from the match will support the work of the Broadhalfpenny Down Preservation Trust.

Tickets for Friday also give admission to another match (1.30pm start) at the same ground the following day, where a Southern Vipers XI take on a South East Stars XI in a women’s fixture. Tickets for Saturday’s match cost £5.