Flashback: Hampshire skipper wins a bet as his team makes a comeback after being bowled out for 15

Hampshire’s innings was constructed by eight batsmen who got out for ducks.

Lord Lionel Hallam Tennyson
The Right Honorable Lord Lionel Hallam Tennyson, Hampshire County cricket team, circa 1922. (Photo by Popperfoto/Getty Images)

Hampshire scripted one of the greatest comebacks in the history of first-class cricket in 1922 when they toured Birmingham to take on Warwickshire in the County Championship match. They were bundled out for only 15 runs in 8.5 overs by the hosts a total and only six teams till date have managed a score lower than that in the first-class history. Hampshire’s innings was constructed by eight batsmen who got out for ducks and Charles Mead top-scored with an unbeaten six.

Skipper Lionel Tennyson hit a boundary on the first ball but got out on the second. William Shirley (1) was the other batsman to open his account while other four runs came in byes. Thus, Hampshire conceded a 208-run first innings lead and were forced to follow-on by Warwickshire. Hampshire were on the verge of an innings defeat losing their 6th wicket at 177 and the captain Tennyson (45) was already in the pavilion. At this point, George Brown shared an 87-run stand with Shirley (30) for the 7th wicket to put his team into the lead.

Lord Lionel Hallam Tennyson
The Honorable Lord Lionel Hallam Tennyson. (Photo by Popperfoto/Getty Images)

The biggest stand of all came when Brown was joined by their keeper Walter Livsey. The pair batted most of the 2nd day adding 177 runs for the 9th wicket. Brown got out scoring 172 but Livsey carried on with the last man George Boyce (29) to score an unbeaten 110. The pair added 70 runs for the final wicket as Hampshire posted 521 in their 2nd innings. The target of 314 was too much for Warwickshire as they were bundled out for only 158 as John Newman (5) and Alexander Kennedy (4) shared nine wickets between them.

A challenge and a bet:

Hampshire were reduced to 98/3 in their 2nd innings at stumps on day one and were still 110 runs behind Warwickshire’s first innings total of 223. At the end of the day, the home team skipper Frederick Calthrope went to Lord Tennyson and suggested that their players should arrange a game of golf the next day for the time remaining after they were bowled out according to the Hampshire player Harold Day.

Hampshire County Cricket Club from 1922. (Photo by S&G/PA Images via Getty Images)

Tennyson responded saying that his team will not only win that game but also make 500+ in their 2nd innings. The visiting skipper, who was well known for his experiences in gambling, put a bet of £10 with his opposite number. There is also a mention in the Tennyson’s biography that a postcard sent to him suggested that he give up cricket and take his team to “paint spots on rocking horses”.

Thus Tennyson inspired his team-mates to win the game even after his dismissal with about 56 runs to avoid an innings defeat with only five wickets in hand. Hampshire’s remarkable comeback not only helped them find a special mention in the history but their skipper also won the bet worth £10. Tennyson continued his career with Hampshire till his last year in 1935.

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