Recalling the day The Duke of Edinburgh played against Hampshire in front of a 10,000 plus crowd

Hampshire Cricket have joined the sporting world in sending their ‘deepest condolences’ on the passing of Prince Philip.

Friday, 9th April 2021, 3:41 pm
Updated Friday, 9th April 2021, 3:46 pm
The Duke of Edinburgh presents Hampshire with their Championship trophy in 1973. Pic: Dave Allen collection.

‘Everyone at Hampshire Cricket is deeply saddened to hear of the passing of His Royal Highness The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. Our deepest condolences go out to Her Majesty The Queen and the Royal Family,’ said a statement posted on social media.

Hampshire players observed a period of two minutes silence prior to the start of the afternoon session in their County Championship fixture against Leicestershire at Grace Road.

Here, Hampshire historian Dave Allen recalls the county’s links with the Duke of Edinburgh.

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Large crowds at Bournemouth in 1949 to watch Hampshire take on The Duke of Edinburgh XI, including The Duke himself. Pic: Dave Allen collection.

August 1, 1949: The Duke of Edinburgh met the Hampshire and Kent sides at tea on the second day of their annual match at Canterbury over the (early) August Bank Holiday.

September 19, 1949: Hampshire played a Duke of Edinburgh’s XI at Bournemouth - a one-day, single innings match, but with no limits on overs bowled per side or by individual bowlers.

Scores: Hampshire 254-8 dec (61.3 overs - N Rogers 93, J Arnold 31*, G Dawson c FR Brown b Edinburgh 31, GO Allen 3-40, Edinburgh 9-2-25-1), D of E’s XI 255-9 (48.4 overs) (HS Squires 80, DCS Compton 52, RWV Robins 35*, Edinburgh b G Hill 12, Knott 3-59). Duke of Edinburgh’s XI won by one wicket.

The Duke’s XI included former Hampshire captain Geoffrey Lowndes.

The Duke of Edinburgh is introduced to the Hampshire team at Canterbury in 1949. Pic: Dave Allen collection.

RWV Robins skied the shot for the winning run which was dropped by Hampshire’s captain Desmond Eagar, otherwise the game would have been tied.

A crowd in excess of 10,000 watched the match, held in aid of the National Playing Fields Association.

Eagar wrote a few years later: ‘The biggest crowd ever seen at Bournemouth’ gave the Duke a ‘magnificent welcome’.

He, in turn, ‘held his own as a cricketer in first-class company. He bowled slow medium off-spinners’ and when batting was dismissed by Gerry Hill after one ‘superb off-drive for four’.

Leicestershire players during a two minutes silence for The Duke of Edinburgh before the start of this afternoon's session against Hampshire at Grace Road. Photo by Alex Pantling/Getty Images.

‘After the match there was a never-to-be-forgotten scene outside the King’s Arms Hotel at Christchurch. Both teams were present at a dinner held in his honour and the crowds gave His Royal Highness a tumultuous reception when he appeared on the balcony of the hotel. This was a very proud day in our lives.’

September 11, 1954: Hampshire v Duke of Edinburgh’s XI, Southampton.

This was again a one-day, single innings match, but with no limits on overs bowled per side or by individual bowlers. This time, though, the Duke did not play.

Scores: Hampshire 224-6 dec (55 overs - ACD Ingleby-Mackenzie 66*, DE Blake 45, AWH Rayment 41, HD Read 3-38), D of E’s XI 221 (53 overs – SC Griffith 72, RES Wyatt 30, CJ Knott 5-105, AWH Rayment 2-20, P Sainsbury 2-21). Hampshire won by 3 runs.

The Hampshire players met Prince Philip again at the end of the 1961 season when he presented the team with the Championship Pennant after the county had won the title for the first time. When asked if they would repeat the famous recipe of ‘wine, women and song’ for the following season, Hampshire fast bowler ‘Butch’ White reportedly responded that they may forgo the singing!

Autumn 1973: The Duke of Edinburgh met Hampshire’s captain Richard Gilliat and members of his Championship-winning side at Buckingham Palace, and presented them with the trophy - the second (and last) time the county had won the first class title.

September, 2004: The Duke visited The Ageas Bowl - then called The Rose Bowl - during a Champions Trophy game between India v Kenya.