Seven great Ashes performances by Hampshire cricketers

As England and Australia renew their Ashes rivalry today, The News looks back at seven impressive performances by Hampshire players in the most famous cricketing series of them all ...

Thursday, 1st August 2019, 12:25 pm
Updated Thursday, 1st August 2019, 12:25 pm
Kevin Pietersen celebrates his first Ashes century against Australia at The Oval in 2005

Charles Fry

A remarkable all-round sportsman who played for England at football and cricket, for Southampton in an FA Cup final, and also equalled the world long jump record. After his sporting career finished, he went into politics and stood for Parliament as a Liberal candidate in two general elections.

Fry made his cricketing debut for Surrey, moving to Hampshire in 1909 - the same year that he was recalled by England. In the first Test at Edgbaston, Fry was out first ball in the first innings but was promoted to open in the second innings - sharing an unbroken century stand with Jack Hobbs as England stormed to a 10-wicket victory. Fry’s contribution was 35 not out. England lost the series 2-1, however. During his Surrey career, he scored his highest England Test score - 144 - against Australia in 1905.

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Robin Smith was England's leading batsman in his first Ashes series 30 years ago

Australia’s 1909 tour to England, meanwhile, was a bit longer than this year’s Their first game was on May 6 and their last five months later, against a West of Scotland XI at Glasgow on October 5!

Fry also played for Pompey during his football career, making just three appearances in 1905 before retiring through injury. He carried on playing cricket for Hampshire, though, until 1921 - when he was 49.

Phil Mead

Hampshire’s highest run-scorer of all time - over 40,000 to his name between 1905-1936 - was part of an England side that produced an incredible Ashes win in Brisbane in 1928/29.

Phil Mead, left, pictured with Hampshire colleagues in 1936 at Trent Bridge

Mead scored 8 and 73 as England - whose top order also included the likes of Jack Hobbs, Herbert Sutcliffe and Wally Hammond - won by a whopping 675 runs after skittling the Aussies (who had two men absent through injury) for 66 in their second innings. England won the series 4-1. Mead had made his Ashes debut 17 years earlier, while in 1921 he had struck an unbeaten 182 in an Ashes draw at The Oval.

Robin Smith

The Hampshire legend was England’s best batsman in his debut Ashes series - the ill-fated 1989 series where Australia thrashed the hosts 4-0 in what was then a six-game series. In the five Tests he appeared in, Smith scored 66 at Trent Bridge, 96 at Lord’s, 143 at Old Trafford, 101 at Trent Bridge and 77 not out at The Oval. Though he was to appear in another 10 Ashes Tests - his final one was in 1993 - he never passed 90 again and also never won a single Ashes series.

David Gower

Shane Warne, seen here playing for Hampshire in 2007, took 40 wickets in just five Ashes Tests in 2005.

Gower helped England win the Ashes in 1978/79, 1981, 1985 (as captain) and 1986/87 - during his time at Leicestershire. His final Ashes series, though, was in 1990/91 after the end of his debut summer with Hampshire. Gower shone with 100 in the first innings at Melbourne and 123 in the first innings at Sydney - but England lost the series 3-0. In all, Gower struck nine Ashes hundreds - his annus mirabilis coming in 1985 when he scored 166, 215 and 157 in England's 3-1 home victory.

Kevin Pietersen

Handed his England Test debut in the opening game of the 2005 Ashes series - just a few months after joining Hampshire from Nottinghamshire - Pietersen carved his name into Ashes folklore with 158 in the final Test at The Oval as England won the iconic little urn for the first time since 1986/87. He had hit the ground running, belting 57 and 64 not out - top scoring in each innings - on his Ashes debut at Lord’s and then scoring 71 in the first innings of the second Test in Edgbaston. Though he only played sporadically for Hampshire following 2005, he was still an Ageas Bowl employee when he hit another 158 in the 2006/07 Ashes Test at Adelaide. That was the Test where England rattled up 551-6 declared in their first innings - and still ended up losing! Pietersen, though, was playing for Surrey when he hit his highest ever Test score against the Aussies - 227 at Adelaide in 2010.

Michael Carberry

David Gower

Was an ever-present in England’s 5-0 whitewash Down Under in 2013/14. Though his tally of 281 runs at 28.10 might not qualify as ‘great’ compared to others in this list, it certainly was in the context of England’s miserable efforts throughout that series. Carberry was England’s second highest run-scorer, behind only Kevin Pietersen (294). Carberry outscored previous Ashes heroes Alistair Cook (246) and Ian Bell (235) - but was still dropped after the series finished, never to play Test cricket again.

Shane Warne

Well, who said all of the seven had to be playing for England?!

Warne started and finished the 2005 domestic season skippering Hampshire, but in between he enjoyed probably his finest Ashes series - even though England famously triumphed overall.

In five unforgettable Tests of high drama, Warne bagged 40 wickets - exactly twice the amount of his country's second highest wicket-taker, Brett Lee, and 16 more than England's leading wicket-taker, Andrew Flintoff. In what was to prove his last Test in this country, at The Oval, he took six wickets in each innings. Warne ended up with 195 Ashes victims - he took more of his 708 Test wickets against England than any other country. Warne was still captaining Hampshire when he played his last of his 145 Tests against England in early 2007.

Michael Carberry was England's second highest run-scorer in their 5-0 Ashes whitewashing Down Under in 2013/14.