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Dorset County Cricket Club

History

Dorset County Cricket Club is one of the County clubs which make up the Minor Counties in the English domestic cricket structure, representing the historic county of Dorset and playing in the Minor  Counties Championship and the MCCA Knockout Trophy.  The Minor Counties play three-day matches at a level one below that of the first-class game.  At present, Dorset competes in the Western Division of the Minor Counties Championship.

According to Wisden, there was county organisation in existence in either 1862 or 1871 but the present Dorset County Cricket Club was established on 5th February 1896. Since then, it has played Minor Counties cricket since 1897 and played List A cricket from 1968 to 2004, using a different number of home grounds during that time. Their first minor counties fixture in 1897 was against Wiltshire at the Recreation Ground, Blandford Forum, while their first List A match came 71 years later against Bedfordshire in the 1968 Gillette Cup at Sherborne School. The club is based at Dean Park, Bournemouth, which also held first-class and List A cricket for Hampshire from 1897 to 1992.

Cricket must have reached Dorset via neighbouring Hampshire by the end of the 17th century.  An advertisement in the Sherborne Mercury, dated Tuesday 9th May 1738, is the earliest reference for cricket in Dorset.  Twelve Dorchester men at Ridgway Races challenged twelve men from elsewhere to play them at cricker for the prize of twelve pairs of gloves valued at a shilling a pair.

Dorset has won the Minor Counties Championship twice, in 2000 and 2010.

Dorset has won the MCCA Knockout Trophy once since its inception in 1983.  It won in 1988.

CHRIS PARK

By Paul Bolton

Dorset’s retiring captain Chris Park believes that Minor Counties cricket continues to play a vital role in the development of young players.

Park played his final match for Dorset in their defeat by Devon in the Minor Counties Championship at Sidmouth.

His work commitments with a teaching company mean that he will not be available for Dorset’s final match against Western Division leaders Berkshire at North Perrott on September 2, so a distinguished career that began in 2001 is now at an end.

“I’m 35 and the body is telling me that it’s time to go. The fingers have been hurting more this season for some reason so it’s probably a good time to get out,” Park said.

Park had a spell on the staff at Northamptonshire where was reserve wicketkeeper to first Toby Bailey then Gerard Brophy. The arrival of Kepler Wessels as coach and his son Riki dashed Park’s hopes of a longer county career but there have been compensations with Dorset.

Park was part of the side that beat Lincolnshire to win the Minor Counties Championship at Bournemouth in 2010 and played in a Lord’s final, although he finished on the losing side against Northumberland in the Minor Counties Trophy in 2006.

He has captained Dorset since 2014 and leaves with the Minor Counties game in good shape.

“There are some very talented youngsters playing Minor Counties cricket, not just at Dorset but around the country,” Park said.

“I think it’s essential that the administrators retain the three-day championship because it plays such an important part in the development of youngsters.

“Where else are they going to learn to bat for most of a day, how to play on a third day pitch when the ball is spinning or to develop the skills to bowl in those conditions?

“They also learn what it is like when you wake up on a Tuesday morning feeling very tired but knowing that you have to go out there and maybe win a match.

“That doesn’t happen in 50 overs or T20 cricket. Playing three-day cricket helps players to bridge the gap between Premier League and County Cricket.

“Having played County Second XI cricket and Minor Counties cricket I would say that, at the moment, Minor Counties cricket is a little higher than Second XI cricket.”

The fact that more than 25 per cent of the 198 players involved in this week’s round of Specsavers County Championship matches are either products of Minor Counties or have played Minor Counties cricket would seem to support Park’s views.

Although Dorset are going through a transitional period, Park believes that they are producing plenty of talented youngsters with the ability to go further in the game.

Opener Ben Wells is already on Somerset’s radar, batsman Alex Eckland’s progress has been noted by Worcestershire and brothers Bradley and Scott Currie have played Second XI cricket for Surrey and Hampshire respectively.

But Park has also enjoyed playing with and against former county professionals, such as Dorset’s former Leicestershire off-spinner Jigar Naik, who contribute so much to Minor Counties cricket and help the development of young players.

“I will miss the camaraderie that exists between the counties. There is hardly ever an issue on the field, it’s great to see the young players develop and for the older guys who you get to know over the years, to catch up with each other for a chat about the game over a pint at the end of a day’s play,” Park said.

“Minor Counties cricket is played on some lovely grounds around the country and it’s been a privilege to play on them.”

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The following Dorset players also played for, or had careers with, First-Class Counties:
Jimmy Adams Edward Freeman Steve Malone
William Andrew Archie Gibson Robert Manser
Peter Badham Harold Gimblett Dimitri Mascarenhas
John Baker John Gordon Walter McBride
Patrick Barrow James Graham-Brown Cuan McCarthy
Leslie Bean Hubert Greenhill Geoffrey Ogilvy
Rayner Blitz Jon Hardy Owen Parkin
Bertie Bolton Percy Hardy David Payne
Thomas Bowley Ælfric Harrison Vyvian Pike
Derek Bridge Geoffrey Hebden Colin Roper
Charles Brutton Bob Herman Lee Savident
Paul Carey Andrew Hodgson Richard Scott
Box Case Philip Hope Steve Selwood
Edgar Chester-Master William Hounsell Derek Shackleton
John Claughton Wilf Hughes Julian Shackleton
Alan Coleman William Jephson Roger Sillence
Robert Coombs Gilbert Jessop Harold Stephenson
Geof Courtenay Chris Jones Reginald Swalwell
Nigel Cowley George Jones David Taylor
Len Creese Steffan Jones Max Waller
Ray Dovey Matthew Keech John Watson
Charles Fawcus Andrew Kennedy Charles Johnston Bourne Webb
Rob Ferley Walter Lancashire Alan Willows
Lloyd Ferreira Jack Leach George Woodhouse
Douglas Freeman Richard Lewis Larry Worrell

To apply for membership of Dorset CCC, or to register your email address as an existing member, please email : membership@dorsetccc.com for information and an application form.  To become an online member, select the Sign Up option above.