Cricket: Extra Cover: Hartley grateful for his new lease of life

Man in the Middle: Peter Hartley (Hampshire)
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The Independent Online
EVERY CRICKETER knows that the time will come eventually when his county breaks the news that his services are no longer required. For Peter Hartley that moment came last autumn. After 13 seasons of sterling service to Yorkshire cricket, his contract was not to be renewed.

For many players in their 38th year, it might have been the time to wonder whether that off-season salesman's job might stretch into all-year-round employment. Fortunately for Hartley, such considerations can be put off for a little longer after Hampshire stepped in to extend the seamer's career.

"To a certain extent I could see it coming, although it was still a disappointment," Hartley said. "The captain wanted me in the squad but I was aware there were a lot of good seamers coming through. I'd also been injured, which was when Paul Hutchison took the opportunity to make an impression.

"But having made the move I've found it has given me a new lease of life. You get to the stage where everything begins to get a bit routine and this has given me a new challenge. You want to set the right example with a new county so I worked very hard over the winter to get as fit as I could. I feel I can offer the younger players the benefit of my experience, although I know I can bowl the ball in decent areas myself.

"In the event, I've ended up opening the bowling, which is another challenge and not something I expected to do again."

Although Hartley remained with Yorkshire long enough to be granted a benefit in 1996, this is not the first time he has left the county. He turned out regularly for the Second XI in the early 1980s, but began his career with Warwickshire.

The move was not a happy one, leading him to become disillusioned with the game, although all was to turn out well in the end. After a period playing in New Zealand, a second chance with Yorkshire came in 1985.

"I got a chance when Arnie Sidebottom and Graham Stevenson were injured, in much the same way as my injury let in Hutchison and Gavin Hamilton," he said.

On a two-year contract with Hampshire, he knows not where his future lies beyond that, content for the moment to enjoy the chance to extend his career.

ECHOES OF THE PAST

John Snow and Dominic Cork

How are they related?

By the way they are both drawn (or in Snow's case, were drawn) almost magnetically towards controversy. Cork, fast bowler and rebel, is the Snow of the modern era.

So what did Snow do to get people's backs up?

A lengthy list of things, in fact. Such as barging Sunil Gavaskar to the ground in the 1971 Test at Lord's and hitting Australia's Terry Jenner on the back of the head with a bouncer on the Australian tour of the previous winter. And then there was his attitude in county matches...

Meaning?

Well, how should it be put? Let's say the appeal of stretching every sinew on a cold April morning in Derby was not always obvious to him, as some would suggest it has not necessarily been to Cork at times, at least before he was made captain. On the other hand, though county skippers despaired of Snow, an England captain could rest assured he would be firing on all cylinders once he had the sniff of international opposition in his nostrils.

Is he Cork's role model?

Probably not consciously, but there is something about the Test arena that gets his adrenalin flowing, too, as the South Africans learned on his England recall at Edgbaston. Like Snow, he has both a high opinion of his own talent and possesses raw, animal aggression, both essential attributes in a top-class fast bowler. And Cork seems to have inherited Snow's ability to sulk at fine leg. So far, however, there is no suggestion that he has taken to composing poetry.

How do their records compare?

Cork's impact was instant - 26 wickets against the West Indies in his first Test series - and 79 in his first 20 Tests. Took a Test hat-trick against West Indies at Old Trafford, something Snow never achieved. But Snow, while taking longer to make a significant impact - his 27 wickets in the Caribbean in 1967-68 came in his sixth series - finished with 202 Test wickets from 49 appearances at 26.66 runs each, including 31 on the controversial Australian tour of 1970-71 and 24 in the home Ashes series of 1972.

SNOW V CORK

Tests: 49

Debut: 1965 v New Zealand (Lord's, age 23)

Bowling: 202 wickets, ave 26.66

Best: 7-40 v Australia (Sydney, 1970-71)

Batting: 772 runs, ave 13.54

Highest score: 73 v India (Lord's, 1971)

Tests: 20

Debut: 1995 v West Indies (Lord's, age 23)

Bowling: 79 wickets, ave 29.64.

Best: 7-43 v West Indies (Lord's, 1995)

Batting: 520 runs, ave 20.80

Highest score: 59 v New Zealand (Auckland, 1996)

Floodlights not shining so bright

The Week Ahead

LANCASHIRE are keeping their fingers crossed that Wednesday's day-night AXA League match against Surrey at Old Trafford does not prove a resounding flop.

Warwickshire are expecting a full house when they entertain Lancashire under floodlights at Edgbaston at the end of the month, with advance ticket sales already in excess of 15,000.

By contrast, the first floodlit match at Lancashire's own headquarters has yet to capture public imagination. Despite offering tickets on a cashback basis, only a few more than 1,000 had been taken up before the current Championship match against Somerset. The county will need to make around pounds 50,000 merely to break even.

Lancashire officials are blaming the lack of recent cricket at Old Trafford for the slow response and still believe the match will attract a big crowd, given a dry evening.

Last year's floodlit AXA League match at Edgbaston drew 15,000 for the visit of Somerset, with 8,000 non-members paying pounds 60,000 at the gates. Warwickshire realised a profit on the night of around pounds 70,000, almost double the profit from gate money for the whole of the previous season.

Apart from the weather, the absence on England duty of Michael Atherton from the Lancashire line-up, plus Alec Stewart, Graham Thorpe and Mark Butcher from Surrey's side may reduce the appeal of the occasion. Lancashire may also be missing Neil Fairbrother through injury, although they hope to have Graham Lloyd fit.

The game will create a test of stamina for both sets of players, who are due back at Old Trafford to meet in the County Championship the following morning, scheduled to start at noon, little more than 12 hours after they come off the field on Wednesday night.

INS AND OUTS

Hitting the stumps

The top bowlers at knocking over the wicket

1 Giddins (Warwicks) 19

2 Walsh (Gloucs) 17

Betts (Durham) 17

4 White (Yorks) 12

Giles (Warwicks) 12

Caddick (Somerset) 12

Ilott (Essex) 12

McLean (Hampshire) 12

9 Fleming (Kent) 11

10 Salisbury (Surrey) 10

Hooper (Kent) 10

Lewry (Sussex) 10

Getting the verdict

The top bowlers at trapping batsmen leg before

1 M Bicknell (Surrey) 11

Butcher (Glamorgan) 11

3 Lewry (Sussex) 10

4 Chapple (Lancs) 9

Headley (Kent) 9

Watkin (Glamorgan) 9

Lewis (Gloucestershire) 9

Silverwood (Yorks) 9

Run Machines

Most centuries by county

1 Worcestershire 10

2 Middlesex 9

3 Leicestershire 8

Surrey 8

5 Kent 7

6 Lancashire 6

Yorkshire 6

8 Essex 5

Hampshire 5

Sussex 5

Warwickshire 5

Easy targets

Most ducks by county

1 Durham 28

Nottinghamshire 28

Warwickshire 28

4 Gloucestershire 26

Yorkshire 26

6 Derbyshire 25

Somerset 25

8 Hampshire 20

9 Leicestershire 20

10 Kent 19

High rollers

The highest individual scores of the season so far

1 Loye (Northants) 322 not out

2 Langar (Middx) 233*

3 James (Glamorgan) 227

4 Ripley (Northants) 209

5 Hooper (Kent) 203

4 Hick (Worcestershire) 166

5 Barnett (Derbyshire) 162

6 Tweats (Derbyshire) 161

Top gloves

Leading wicketkeepers by dismissals

1 Blakey (Yorks) 39

2 Speight (Durham) 38

3 Nixon (Leics) 34

4 Marsh (Kent) 32

5 Shaw (Glamorgan) 29

6 Russell (Gloucs) 28

7 Aymes (Hampshire) 27

8 Turner (Somerset) 26

9 Brown (Middlesex) 23

10 Hegg (Lancs) & Krikken (Derbys) 22

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