Extra Cover; They'll never forget their first time

A week in cricket by Jon Culley
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The Independent Online
Man In The Middle

John Stephenson

(Hampshire)

What does John Stephenson, captain of Hampshire, have in common with Tony Pigott, the chief executive of Sussex, and Ken Palmer, a first- class umpire? The answer is that they have all played in a Test match - once.

It is an honour shared by five current players and seven others not long out of their whites, in addition to another seven mostly well into pensionable age, who now make up the official One-Cap Wonder Club, of which the 32- year-old Stephenson is founder member.

The club began as an item on the BBC television programme Gower's Cricket Monthly for which Fiona Stephenson, John's wife, is a presenter, but has grown to the extent that they have held a dinner, appointed a president (Graham Gooch) and has its own tie.

Former Essex opener Stephenson's 15 minutes of fame came in the last Test of the 1989 Ashes series, won 4-0 by Australia. He made 25 and 11, each time losing his wicket to Terry Alderman. "I was the 29th player England had used that summer and when I turned up at The Oval the day before, Ted Dexter didn't know who I was," he says.

"It was Michael Atherton's second Test and I walked out with him on the Saturday morning. I have the footage of that with the commentator saying that the future of English batting was resting on these two pairs of young shoulders. He got it half right."

The oldest surviving One-Cap Wonder is 87-year-old Holcombe "Hopper" Read. The others are: Mark Benson, Joey Benjamin, Dennis Brookes, Simon Brown, Alan Butcher, Alec Coxon, Andy Lloyd, Norman Mitchell-Innes, Charles Palmer, Ken Palmer, Paul Parker, Tony Pigott, "Dick" Richardson, Arnie Sidebottom, John Stephenson, James Whitaker, Neil Williams and Alan Wells.

THE TOP TEN

Wicket by wicket, England's top partnerships against Australia

1st J Hobbs & W Rhodes 323 (Melbourne, 1911-12)

2nd L Hutton & M Leyland 382

(The Oval, 1938)

3rd W Hammond & D Jardine 262

(Adelaide, 1928-29)

4th G Thorpe & N Hussain 288

(Edgbaston, 1997)

5th E Paynter & D Compton 206

(Trent Bridge, 1938)

6th= L Hutton & J Hardstaff Jnr 215

(The Oval, 1938)

G Boycott & A Knott 215

(Trent Bridge, 1977)

7th F Woolley & J Vine 143

(Sydney, 1911-12)

8th P Hendren & H Larwood 124

(Brisbane, 1928-29)

9th W Scotton & W Read 151

(The Oval, 1884)

10th T Foster & W Rhodes 130

(Sydney, 1903-04)

A fine pair

The stand between Nasser Hussain and Graham Thorpe at Edgbaston (right) - the first England Ashes partnership record to fall since the war - surpassed one of four set in the 1938 series, of which the principle was the any- wicket record partnership of 382 set by Len Hutton and Maurice Leyland for the second wicket out of 903 for 7 declared at The Oval, which remains the highest total in Test cricket. Wally Hammond and Eddie Paynter's 222 at Lord's was the one broken by Hussain and Thorpe.

THE WEEK

AHEAD

Supporters of Surrey and Kent have been keeping 12 July clear in their diaries since the draw for the Benson and Hedges Cup semi-finals kept them apart but there are strong reasons to bet against both renewing their rivalry at Lord's on 12 July.

Leicestershire are Surrey's opponents at The Oval and while the individual talents at the home side's disposal far outrank those in the Midlands county's locker, there are other factors that may come into play. As a team, Leicestershire consistently outperform their apparent collective worth, while Surrey do not always live up to their potential. And how much will Edgbaston have taken out of Surrey's England stars?

If Martin McCague and Dean Headley are fit, Kent ought to beat Northamptonshire, but then the same was said about Yorkshire in the quarter-finals.

Kent have their eye on other silverware this year, confident they are equipped to land their first title for 19 years. After defeating Warwickshire to go second in the table, they can put pressure on leaders Gloucestershire, who face Worcestershire at Bristol, by taking advantage of Lancashire's woeful lack of form with a win at Old Trafford in the round that starts on Thursday.

TERMS OF THE GAME

Third man

Nowadays, third man normally stands quite close to the boundary, but when this off-side fielding position evolved midway through the last century, he stood much closer to the batsman. It coincided with the spread of over- arm bowling, when the theory was that bringing a third man up would supplement point and short slip in a catching trap. Later, when second slip came into being, the third man retreated (but kept his name).

Where Arlott discovered the rich treasure trove of cricket

AROUND THE GROUNDS

May's Bounty, Basingstoke

As the ground at which the late John Arlott witnessed his first cricket match, May's Bounty has a unique place in the history of the game.

It was 1938 and the 24-year-old Arlott was an officer in the Southampton Borough Police, in which he was to serve for 11 years before joining the BBC. It is just as well for cricket that the ground and the match made a lasting impression on the budding writer and persuaded him to abandon the force to pursue more cerebral ambitions.

May's Bounty, where cricket has been played since 1855, was created by John May, then president of North Hants Cricket Club, who bought the land in 1880 to prevent building taking place. The club acquired it in 1950 for just pounds 450. The present pavilion dates back to 1901, when it replaced a single-storey thatched building originating in 1877. Additions were made in the 1960s and 1970s, when two squash courts, a club room and kitchen were added.

In 1986, a further squash court, a committee room and club office were built. The June fixture at the ground, where Somerset provide the opposition in both the Britannic Assurance championship and AXA Life League during the coming week, has become an annual date on the Hampshire calendar.

Last summer, Robin Smith made 179 and John Stephenson took 5-27 as Hampshire defeated Northamptonshire by an innings and 72 runs, one of only three wins they achieved all season. Cardigan Connor took 10 wickets in the match to beat Leicestershire in 1995. The drawn match with Nottinghamshire in 1994 featured another Smith century. Although normally a high-scoring ground, Hampshire were bowled out for 43 by Essex in the Sunday League in 1972, which remains their lowest 40-overs score.

County Championship table

P Pts W L D T Bat Bwl Best performances Upcoming fixtures

1 Gloucs (13) 5 86 3 0 2 0 12 20

Russell 91 v Essex Smith 6-45 v Hants

5.01

12 Jun Worcs (H); 18 Jun Middx (H); 26 Jun N'hants (A); 2 Jul Glam (A)

2 Kent (4) 5 81 3 1 1 0 10 20

Marsh 142 v Sussex McCague 7-82 v Sussex

1.73

12 Jun Lancs (A); 18 Jun Durham (A); 2 July N'hants (H); 16 Jul Leics (H)

3 Notts (17) 6 80 3 1 2 0 5 21

Johnson 87* v Lancs Bowen 7-75 v Derbys

4.60

18 Jun Yorks (H); 26 Jun Surrey (A); 16 Jul Warks (H); 23 Jul Leics (A)

4 Middlesex (9) 5 71 2 1 2 0 13 20

Ramprakash 145 v Sussex Hewitt 5-59 v Northants

3.78

18 Jun Gloucs (A); 26 Jun Yorks (A); 2 Jul Lancs (H); 23 Jul Kent (H)

5 Glamorgan (10) 5 71 2 0 3 0 13 17

Morris 233 v Warwicks Croft 5-33 v Kent

6.77

12 Jun Middx (H); 18 Jun Lancs (A); 26 Jun Sussex (H); 2 Jul Gloucs (H)

6 Leics (1) 6 70 1 0 5 0 15 24

Johnson 150 v Lancs Mullally 5-52 v Gloucs

5.91

18 Jun Somerset (A); 26 Jun Warks (H); 2 Jul Yorks (H); 16 Jul Kent (A)

7 Essex (5) 5 68 2 1 2 0 10 20

Irani 123* v Hants Such 6-55 v Durham

4.12

12 Jun Sussex (A); 26 Jun Derbys (H); 2 Jul Som't (H); 16 Jul Northants (A)

8 Somerset (11) 6 65 1 1 4 0 14 23

Rose 191 v Sussex Caddick 6-65 v Surrey

6.66

12 Jun Hants (A); 18 Jun Leics (H); 2 Jul Essex (A); 23 Jul Warks (A)

9 Yorkshire (6) 5 61 2 2 1 0 8 18

Lehmann 177 v Somerset Stemp 6-77 v Essex

3.58

12 Jun Surrey (A); 18 Jun Notts (A); 26 Jun Middx (H); 2 Jul Leics (A)

11 Hants (14) 6 55 1 2 3 0 16 14

Smith 94 v Glamorgan Connor 7-46 v Essex

5.12

12 Jun Som (H); 18 Jun Northants (A) 2 Jul Durham (A); 16 Jul Surrey (A)

10 Warwicks (8) 5 58 2 1 2 0 7 13

Moles 168 v Hampshire Welch 5-46 v Middlesex

3.20

12 June Derbys (H); 26 Jun Leics (A); 2 Jul Surrey (H); 16 Jul Notts (A)

12 Worcs (7) 4 43 0 0 4 0 13 13

Curtis 113 v Notts Newport 7-37 v Leics

5.36

12 Jun Gloucs (A); 18 Jun Surrey (H); 26 Jun Lancs (H); 2 Jul Sussex (A)

13 Durham (18) 6 43 0 2 4 0 12 19

Foster 129 v Glamorgan Walker 7-56 v Notts

5.50

18 Jun Kent (H); 2 July Hants (H); 16 July Yorks (A); 23 Jul Gloucs (A)

14 Sussex (12) 5 41 0 1 4 0 11 18

Athey 138* v Somerset Robinson 6-78 v Northants

4.33

12 Jun Essex (H); 18 Jun Derbys (A); 26 Jun Glam (A); 2 Jul Worcs (H)

15 Lancs (15) 5 33 0 2 3 0 10 14

Lloyd 102 v Durham Austin 4-44 v Notts

2.74

12 Jun Kent (H); 18 Jun Glam (H); 26 Jun Worcs (A); 2 Jul Middx (A)

16 Surrey (3) 5 32 0 2 3 0 7 16

Thorpe 83* v Derbys Tudor 6-101 v Gloucs

6.39

12 Jun Yorks (H); 18 Jun Worcs (A); 26 Jun Notts (H); 2 Jul Warks (A)

17 Derbys (2) 5 32 0 3 2 0 8 18

Adams 108 v Kent DeFreitas 7-64 v Kent

4.97

12 Jun Warks (A); 18 Jun Sussex (H); 26 Jun Essex (A); 16 Jul (Gloucs) (A)

18 Northants (16) 5 31 0 2 3 0 7 15

Curran 108 v Lancashire Mohammed Akram 5-72 v Somerset

4.40

18 Jun Hants (H); 26 Jun Gloucs (H); 2 Jul Kent (A); 16 Jul Essex (H)

Top of the form

Most runs and wickets in last five innings

Bowlers Wkts Last five (most recent on right)

1 M Bowen (Notts) 23 7-75; 4-34; 3-153; 5-52; 4-128

2 D Malcolm (Derbys) 23 4-95; 5-50; 6-75; 4-42; 4-91

3 R Croft (Glam) 19 4-58; 5-33; 3-54; 5-51; 2-81

4 A Caddick (Som) 18 1-59; 6-103; 1-16; 5-64; 3-50

5 P Taylor (Northants) 17 4-101; 0-9; 4-99; 2-54; 7-87

6 M Smith (Gloucs) 17 3-35; 1-44; 3-68; 6-58; 4-74

7 P Such (Essex) 16 1-7; 6-121; 5-94; 2-66; 2-40

8 R Stemp (Yorks) 15 1-51; 3-79; 6-77; 2-41; 3-108

9 K Evans (Notts) 15 6-40; 1-63; 1-68; 4-40; 3-115

10 K Shine (Som) 14 1-42; 1-36; 1-59; 7-43; 4-54

Batsmen Runs Last five (most recent on right)

1 M Hayden (Hants) 593 57; 235*; 119; 46; 136*

2 V Wells (Leics) 521 56; 95; 107; 39; 224

3 M Ramprakash (Middx) 405 145; 2; 50; 111; 97

4 D Hemp (Warks) 400 29*; 138; 114*; 2; 117

5 J Morris (Durham) 389 48; 20; 149; 48; 124

6 S James (Glam) 381 52; 46; 54; 76; 153

7 R Smith (Hants) 339 94; 35; 4; 154; 52

8 A Rollins (Derbys) 306 15; 30; 0; 210; 51

9 A Moles (Warks) 297 67*; 168; 8; 42; 12

10 H Morris (Glam) 295 96; 18; 25; 21; 135

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