Batting Debuts



In chronological order, these eight men scored centuries on debut for Hampshire. All had played first-class cricket elsewhere previously:


CH (Cecil) Abercrombie 1913: He played three first-class matches for the Royal Navy (1910-1913) and on debut for Hampshire v Oxford University in June 1913, scored 126, adding 142 for the 5th wicket with Alec Bowell (193). He scored 39 in the second innings – the match was drawn. As an officer he could not play in 1914 and died in 1916 when his ship was sunk in the Battle of Jutland.


DO (Dennis) Baldry 1959: He played 49 matches for Middx (1953-1958) and came to replace another ex-Lord’s man Alan Rayment. He made his debut in the first match of the season v Glamorgan at Portsmouth on 6 May 1959, came to the wicket at 55-3, and added 151 with Horton (94) finishing on 151. Hampshire 350-6 dec. won by an innings and nine runs early on day three (Gray 5-29). 


RE (Richard) Hayward 1981: In July 1979 he played for the Minor Counties v Indians at Wellington alongside RV Lewis but failed to score in his one innings. In July 1981 he batted number five against the Sri Lankans as Hampshire scored 330-5 dec. Greenidge made 80 and Hayward 101*, adding 116 with Nigel Cowley; the match was drawn. He played in 50 first-class matches with three centuries and was coach at Hampshire with TimTremlett before moving to New Zealand.


JP (John) Crawley 2002: – He played in 138 first-class matches for Lancashire from 190-2001 plus Cambridge University and England (37 Tests). He joined Hampshire in 2002 and on debut v Kent at Canterbury in April scored 272 from 451 balls (576 minutes). In reply to Kent’s 577-7, Hampshire posted 671 with another century by Neil Johnson and the match was drawn. Later, Crawley became the only Hampshire player to score two triple centuries both not out, 301* & 311*, and in both cases the captain Shane Warne declared when Crawley was close to Hampshire’s record innings of 316 by RH Moore. He captained Hampshire in 2003.


SR (Shane) Watson – 2004: He played for Hampshire in 2004 & 2005 and in all three formats for Australia as well as various other sides. On 18 June 2004 he made his debut for Hampshire, also his Championship debut, against Somerset at the Rose Bowl; he was dismissed in the first innings for 24, but in the second innings he scored 112 from 128 balls despite struggling with an injury – at one point he shared a partnership with ‘Dimi’ Mascarenhas when both batters had runners (Kenway & Kendall)! Somerset batted fourth with two men absent hurt and Hampshire won by 275 runs. Watson played just six Championship matches for Hampshire but was also a member of their side that won the C&G Final at Lord’s in 2005, having scored 132 in the quarter-final at the Oval which was also his List A debut for the county.


AJ (Andrew) Bichel – 2005: He had played previously for Worcestershire, subsequently for Essex as well as for Queensland and in Tests and ODIs for Australia. He joined Hampshire briefly in 2005 when club captain Shane Warne was involved in the Ashes series, playing just four Championship matches and seven List A games including the C&G Lord’s Final of 2005. On 3 August 2005 he played a Championship match at Cheltenham, where Gloucestershire had Hampshire 81-7 when Bichel joined Nic Pothas. Both men made centuries, Bichel 138 from 169 balls, Pothas one run more and the pair added 257 for the eighth wicket, breaking the previous county record of Tremlett and James – their record still stands.


A (Ajinkya) Rahane – 2019: Since the introduction of immediate signings of overseas players in 1968 (Barry Richards at Hampshire) the county have signed players from many countries but when Ajinkya Rahane joined Hampshire for a brief spell in 2019 he was the first established Indian Test cricketer in those 51 years and there have been no more since. He was an important addition as Hampshire were without James Vince and Liam Dawson, members of the England squad in the World Cup. Rahane made his county championship debut on 20 May 2019 against Nottinghamshire in Hampshire's first match ever at the Newclose Ground on the Isle of Wight. In the first innings Stuart Broad dismissed him for 10 but Hampshire took a lead of 71 then lost both openers for just nine runs before Rahane (119) and stand-in captain Sam Northeast (133) added 257 for the third wicket. They declared on 367-5 and won the match – still the only Championship match on the ground – by 244 runs.


C (Colin) de Grandhomme – 2021: All-rounder Colin de Grandhomme was born in South Africa but moved to New Zealand and has played for their national side in all three formats, making his second and highest Test century (120*) v South Africa in February 2022. He was also a member of the New Zealand side that beat India in the World Test Championship Final at the Ageas Bowl in 2021, and during that same season he spent a short period with Hampshire. On debut in the Championship match against Surrey at the Ageas Bowl he scored 174* from 213 balls and thus became the eighth Hampshire player to score a century on first-class debut for the county – like the other seven this was not his first-class debut, although like all but Baldry, Bichel and Crawley, it was his county championship debut. 


With no centurions, the following are the highest scorers for Hampshire sides on first-class debut –listed by highest score, not chronological.


PR (Paul) Whitaker​- 94 v Leicestershire (1994): Whitaker joined Hampshire from Derbyshire but never played for their first team and in September 1994 he made his debut, opening the innings at Leicester with Paul Terry. He went cheaply (2) in the first innings when only a Robin Smith century took Hampshire to 225 and they trailed by 128 after Leicestershire’s reply but second time around it was Whitaker who stood firm, scoring 94 although it was not enough to save Hampshire from a defeat by seven wickets. In his second season he had one extraordinary weekend at Southampton, scoring his one championship century (119) against Worcestershire at Southampton and against the same opponents a brilliant 97 in a Sunday League game the next day, during which he shared a 2nd  wicket partnership of 158 with Matthew Keech. Sadly this did not lead to consistent success and after 37 first-class matches over five seasons he left Hampshire and moved to New Zealand.

FH (Francis) Bacon – 92 v Somerset (1895):  Bacon played for Hampshire as a second-class player, with a century against Warwickshire in 1894. He was in the side that played the first Championship match at Taunton at the end of May 1895, scoring just 15 in the first innings as Hampshire followed-on. In the second innings he scored 92 and Hampshire won a remarkable victory. He did score one first-class century 110 v Leicestershire at Southampton, 12 years later but his first-class record was modest and after 16 years he retired with a batting average of 15.77. in 1903, Bacon had become the first paid secretary of the club, and turned amateur as a consequence; he played a significant part in improving the fixture list and in recruiting the professionals who formed the nucleus of the fine Hampshire side for decades to come. When war was declared, he volunteered for the Royal Naval Reserve; in October 1915 his patrol ship The Aries was mined, and he drowned. 

HLV (Harold) Day – 91 v Kent (1922): Day was a talented all-round sportsman, but because of his army career he played just 78 matches over 10 seasons, scoring four centuries and 17 half-centuries. He made his Hampshire debut against Kent at Southampton in 1922, scoring 56 & 91 on first-class debut and his second innings included a partnership with Mead of 219 in 150 minutes. A week later v Leicestershire he scored 75 and by the end of that season passed 1,000 runs at just under 40 each innings and was invited to tour South Africa. Unfortunately, his duties as an officer prevented that, after which he played intermittently. He was a rugby wing three-quarter, who played for Leicester and England (four Tests, 1920-1926), scoring two international tries, kicking two conversions, and two penalties, and publishing two books on the game, which we have in the Archive. 

NH (Neville) Rogers – 90 v Worcestershire (1946): Rogers from Oxford spent 1939 at Hampshire qualifying by residence but because of the war did not play first-class cricket until 1946. On debut, he scored 90 v Worcestershire at Portsmouth, which remained his highest score in that first season and the highest first innings for Hampshire on full debut. In the following nine years he scored 28 centuries, retiring at the end of the 1955 season. Rogers was the cornerstone of the inconsistent Hampshire batting in those post-war years, and while he was selected as twelfth man for England, and played in Test Trials, it might be that he sacrificed aspects of his game to suit the needs of his team – he never played at the higher level. On his retirement, Arlott described him as “among the county’s greatest players”. 




Joe Weatherley ​83 & dnb​ 2016

John Manners​ 81 & dnb​ 1936

Benny Howell​ 0 & 71 ​​2011

Francis Lacey​ 70 & 9​​ 1880

Toby Albert​​ 69*​​ 2022

Richard Hindley ​8 & 68*​ 2003 (his only match)

Nick Pocock​​ 68 & 10 ​1976

Humphrey Yates​ 65* & 40 ​1910

Fletcha Middleton ​64 ​​2022 (plus 59 & 65 in his next match)


NB: Some high scores here are in their second innings; Sean Terry with 59* (& dnb) is Hampshire’s eleventh highest debut innings (rather than match) and he was the only player scoring 50+ and not dismissed in his debut match until Toby Albert v the Sri Lanka Development XI at the Ageas Bowl in 2022. In 2019, Harry Came replaced Vince (England) as a full-playing substitute v Surrey, scoring 23* in his one innings.


Dave Allen