A FEW stirring words transformed an ordinary county cricket match into one of the game's never to be forgotten matches.

"Don't bother," consoled Hampshire's dashing captain, the Hon Lionel Tennyson, the grandson of the poet Laureate, as the team apologised for their abject batting display. "We'll make 500 next time."

And what's more, they did.

His rallying call brought the most extraordinary transformation. Bowled out for a paltry 15 runs in their first innings, Hampshire faced a huge deficit when following on but scored 521 and then bowled out Warwickshire twice to win by 155 runs.

This week is the 100th anniversary of that remarkable feat.

There had been nothing in the wicket to account for Hampshire's sensational collapse. Indeed, they had gone into the game at Edgbaston brimful of confidence, having scored 392 v Kent, 373 against Worcestershire, and 387 at Leicestershire's expense in their three previous matches.

But fast bowlers Harry Howell, who signed for Saints as an inside forward but never played for the first team, and the Hon. Freddy Calthorpe tore Hampshire apart. Reports of the time suggested Hampshire simply panicked as they created havoc.

Three wickets fell before Hampshire scored their first run.

Phil Mead, the only player to face more than 10 deliveries, was left stranded on six not out, Tennyson scored a streaky four through the slips, and William Shirley made just one. The other eight did not trouble the scorers. The joint second highest 'scorer' was extras, a leg side delivery hurled to the boundary for four byes - all over in 40 minutes and 8.4 overs!

All summed up by the county's and England's bowler Alec Kennedy: "Every batsman, no matter how good he is, gets a good 'un, some time or other, immediately he gets in - and out he comes. Well, this happened to all of us in one innings."

 

Hampshire v Warwickshire in 1922.

Hampshire v Warwickshire in 1922.

 

Ironically on a damp morning, Tennyson won the toss and surprisingly elected to field which appeared a catastrophic misjudgement as Warwickshire looked set for a huge score at 166-3 but the lower order failed and the hosts only made 223 principally thanks to Frederick Santall who made 84 who was ably supported by Calthorpe with 70, their third wicket partnership yielding 120 runs.

And so Hampshire went in to bat, seemingly with a hopeless task, despite Tennyson's never say die attitude. Indeed, Calthorpe was so confident at the end of the first day's play when Hampshire stood at 98-3 in their second innings, he mischievously suggested to Tennyson they should play golf the following day as the game would soon be over.

Tennyson by all accounts was far from amused, his demeanour the following morning even more furious when he received an anonymous postcard suggesting his side would be better served by painting spots and rocking horses.

But an innings defeat however still looked inevitable as Hampshire lost their sixth wicket with only 186 on the board.

But all-rounder George Brown was still there, set to make the greatest innings of his career.

He was joined by Shirley and they put on 85 before Shirley departed. Arthur McIntyre contributed a meagre five, which brought wicketkeeper Walter Livsey to the crease. They carried the score - and slowly the game away from their doubtless stunned opponents - to 451 before Brown was finally out, having batted for almost five hours in making 172.

Stuart Boyce then came in to form a last wicket partnership of 70. Livsey was undefeated on 110, his first championship century, as Hampshire closed on 521.

 

Hampshire v Warwickshire in 1922.

Hampshire v Warwickshire in 1922.

 

Warwickshire's bowling figures were a complete contradiction.

Instead of the first innings 8.4 overs, they delivered 171 in the second, and had to rely on seven bowlers instead of two.

Warwickshire faced a target of 314 runs to win, and, despite losing opener Leonard Bates for one, they appeared to be on course as Tiger Smith and Calthorpe took the score to 77 but then both fell in the space of eight runs.

Indeed, their dismissals sparked a collapse as Kennedy and Jack Newman went through their batting. From 77-1, they slumped to 89-6.

Willie Quaife defied the Hampshire attack but gradually ran out of partners and when Harry Howell went for 11, appropriately caught by Kennedy off Newman's bowling, Warwickshire were all out for 158, Quaife making an undefeated 40.

Reputedly, the overjoyed Tennyson did the Highland fling in the showers after the match and knocking back a glass of champagne, chuckled: "I'd love to meet the man who sent me the postcard!"

The astonishing match was best summed up by Wisden's, the sport's great almanac, which commented: "Cricket records, of course, include many extraordinary things but it would be difficult to find a parallel to this case."

Edgbaston scoreboard:

Warwickshire 1st innings.

Leonard Bates, c Shirley, b Newman 3

Tiger Smith c Mead, b Newman 24

Frederick Santall c McIntyre, b Boyes 84

Willie Quaife b Newman 1

Freddie Calthorpe c Boyes, b Newman 70

Mick Waddy c Mead, b Boyes 0

Bernard Quaife b Boyes 0

John Fox b Kennedy 4

Jack Smart c Mead, b Boyes 14

Cyril Smart c Mead, b Boyes 14

Harry Howell not out 1

Extras 2

Total 223

Bowling figures.

Alex Kennedy 24 overs, 7 maidens, 2-74

Jack Newman 12.3 overs o maidens, 4-70

Stuart Boyes 16 overs, 5 maidens, 4-56

William Shirley 3 overs, 0 maidens, 0 for 21.

Hampshire 1st Innings

Alex Kennedy c Smith, b Calthorpe 0

Alex Bowell b Howell 0

Harold Day b Calthorpe 0

Phil Mead not out 6

Lord Tennyson c Calthorpe, b Howell 4

George Brown b Howell 0

Jack Newman, c C Smart, 0

William Shirley c J A Smart, b Calthorpe 1

Arthur McIntyre lbw Calthorpe 0

Walter Livesey b Howell 0

Stuart Boyes lbw Howell 0

Extras 4

Total 15.

Bowling figures

Howell 4.5 overs 2 maidens, 6-7

Calthorpe 4 overs, 3 maidens 4-4

Hampshire 2nd innings

Kennedy b Calthorpe 7

Bowell c Howell, b Quaife 45

Day c Bates, b Quaife 24

Mead b Howell 24

Tennyson c Smart, b Calthorpe 45

Brown b Smart, b Calthorpe 172

Newman c and b Quaife 12

Shirley lbw Fox 30

McIntyre lbw Howell 5

Livesey not out 110

Boyes b Howell 27

Extras 27

Total 521

Bowling figures

Howell 53 overs, 10 maidens 3-156

Calthorpe 33 overs, 7 maidens, 2-97

W Quaife 49 overs, 8 maidens, 3-154

Fox 7 overs, 0 maidens, 1-30

J Smart 13 overs, 2 maidens, 0-37

Santall 5 overs, 0 maidens, 0-15

C Smart 1 over, 0 maidens, 1-5.

Warwickshire 2nd innings

Bates c Mead, b Kennedy 1

Smith c Shirley, b Kennedy 41

Calthorpe b Newman 30

W. Quaife not out 40

Santall b Newman 0

Waddy b Newman 0

J Smart b Newman 3

C Smart c and b Boyes 15

B Quaife c and b Kennedy 7

Fox b Kennedy 0

Howell c Kennedy, b Newman 11

Extras 10

total 158

Bowling figures

Kennedy 26 overs, 12 maidens, 4-47

Newman 26.3 overs, 12 maidens, 5-51

Boyes 11 overs, 4 maidens, 1-34

Brown 5 overs, 0 maidens, 0-14