The Hampshire Hogs Cricket Club was founded in 1887 and was originally known as The Northland Rovers C.C. until the name was changed with the view to making it a more representative amateur club in the county. In the early years only eight to ten matches were played per season, which was partly due to the fact that most of the members were frequently playing for the county, which didn't achieve first-class status until 1894.
In 1903, the fixtures trebled and tours were organised to the West Country and, from 1912, to the Channel Islands. The names of two members stood out in these early years, the more notable being that of F.E. Lacey, the first cricketer to be knighted for his services to the game, who was club president in 1892 and 1927, captained the county in 1894 and was MCC secretary in 1898. The second was that of Russell Bencraft, club president in 1895 and 1924 and captain of the county from 1894-96. In a 60-year period, Bencraft was the holder of every office for Hampshire C.C.C., including president, before retiring in 1936. During the Club's history, three members have had the distinction of being President of the MCC: R. Aird, H.S. Altham and C.G.A Paris, the last in 1976.
The junior section of the club, the Hampshire Hoggets, was formed in 1924 and is still a thriving part of the club, which enables schoolboys, who have attained a certain standard, to play matches in the holidays. The Hoggets are essential to the Hogs in providing the core of its members and, today, membership of the Hoggets stands at over 150.
The 35 or more annual fixtures are played predominantly at the club's beautiful ground at Warnford, set in the Meon Valley and one of the most picturesque in the South of England. The highlight is the 'Cricket Week' in August, when matches are played every day, including a fixture against the President's XI, during which the incumbent hosts a lunch for invited members to raise funds for the club.Each season, one or more touring sides from overseas are entertained and in 2005 these included Melbourne Cricket Club, in England for the Ashes series. Members of the Hogs who have played first-class cricket for Hampshire include Barry Reed, Mark Nicholas, Rupert Cox, Will Kendall, James Adams and Paul Terry, who also represented England.
The ground was developed for cricket after the Second World War, and was bought from our former president Rex Chester in 1994, although it had been home to the Hogs since 1966. Steady ground improvement was maintained for several years followed by a period when we enjoyed the services of a grounds woman - Janet Lees, who was at the time one of the leading turf specialists in the country. The club now benefits from the skills of two grounds men: Roy King and John Lees (widower of Janet who died in 2002).
The Hogs have undertaken four major overseas tours in the last 28 years, the first being to Barbados in October 1978, when the club was overwhelmed by their own holiday spirit and the superior cricket of the islanders, who included former Test players Wes Hall and David Holford. The visit to South Africa in 1986 was a similar social success but a different cricketing story. Of the 13 fixtures played in the Cape, the Eastern Cape, Pietermaritzburg and Durban, only one was lost (and that by a single run) and the party of 21 took advantage of the opportunity to discover the delights and generosity of a country afflicted not only by its own social and political upheaval but also by international isolation. In the final game, played at Kloof, north of Durban, the Hogs' tour captain Barry Reed had the pleasure of playing against his former Hampshire county opening partner Barry Richards, the great South African batsman.
The tour was declared such a triumph that recruitment for the next trip to Australia in 1989 required little effort and a party of 36 players and supporters enjoyed three weeks indulgent hospitality in Singapore, Sydney, Adelaide and Perth. The club won 8 of the 12 games played, in the last of which Roger Hunt dismissed the former Australian Test captain Kim Hughes for a duck. Among the many who contributed to the organisation of these tours, Jumbo Fuller and Barry Reed deserve particular recognition for their leadership.
The most recent overseas tour, a mere 17 years after the last, was to Argentina in February 2006. A great success both on and off the field, the tour, ably managed by Bill Hughes and Barry Reed, was based in Buenos Aires for two and a half weeks with a three-day outing to the rain forest at Yacutinga and the falls at Iguazu. Seven games were played at venues including the Hurlingham Club, Belgrano Club, Lomas and St Alban's. The Hogs won four games, and the team was enthusiastically led from the front by Peter Came, who averaged 76 with the bat.