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UNICORNS CRICKET INTERVIEW (2 of 2): Hampton talks Bucks 2019 & reveals a new addition for the campaign

In this, our second interview with Tom Hampton, the Bucks County Cricket Club skipper talks about the Unicorns Minor Counties for 2019.

Tom Hampton

Hampton, who takes charge of his second campaign, started by reflecting on his first season.

Looking back on last year we built some really impressive performances, probably more pleasing was that we had many players contributing at different times. Each putting in performances to win games for Bucks.

The goal from the out set is a simple one.

The main message from me is that we need to keep improving on what we have started, the standards have been set and we need to go on and better them.

Building on 2018 will be aided by a very useful new signing.

We have a very similar squad to last year with one addition in Conrad Louth, who is a hard hitting top order batsmen with vast experience at the level. He had moved to the area last summer and its brilliant to get him on board.

Louth has been a regular for Lincolnshire, as well as having played for Northamptonshire second eleven. Last season saw the batsman score 748 runs for Home Counties Premier Cricket League, Division 1 outfit Slough.

So what does this season hold?

As for the three competitions, in the T20 competition the challenge is, not just for us but across all the teams, to be able to win both of the games in a day. Berkshire were the team that managed to do that twice out of there 4 games, and that’s why they went through.

I think the aim has to be win at least 6 of 8 games to qualify.

In the knockout we travel to Cornwall first-up, and as with any knockout competition we will have to be at our best to get the result.

So as cliché as it is, the knockout competition really does need to be taken one game at a time.

I really believe that we have the squad to challenge for the top spot in the Championship and that will be the goal there. If we had picked up a few more bonus points last year we may well have been in with a chance. So I think that is our learner for this year, every point counts.

A few of the lads have been away overseas furthering there cricket and I’m sure they have all had a brilliant time. As for the rest of us, we have had a few shorter training sessions, leading into 2 longer indoor days and an outdoor practice before the pre season matches. Lets just hope we have a better pre season weather-wise than last year and can hit the ground running.

Sports Shots would like to thank Tom for taking the time to talk with us and we look forward following Bucks County Cricket Club in 2019.

SSMFL Interview: ‘Think first, Before you curse’ pilot aims explained

Sports Shots has spoken with Spartan South Midlands League, vice chairman Bill Scholes and Respect and Referees chairman Mike Taylor.

We discussed the Spartan South Midlands League pilot ‘Think first, Before you curse’, which is an attempt for clubs to create a family-friendly environment by kicking Unacceptable Language and Behaviour, both on and off the field, into touch.

The Spartan South Midlands League ‘Think First’ campaign.

Scholes explained:

Every club should always be aiming to be the hub of the community, and not just in football terms. With this comes a responsibility to attract a family-friendly, fun environment. These people are the club’s lifeline.

It was clear from strong viewpoints expressed at both recent Divisional club meetings and recent Match officials’ meetings, that improvements to the campaign could be made, by both the clubs themselves and by the match officials. There are always two sides of a story, but the League feel that the future for a better and much more enjoyable afternoon’s football, helping to eradicate the use of foul language and abuse, would be best served if both match officials and clubs could work together to stamp out this particularly virulent cancer on the game that we all love.

Therefore a letter from the SSMFL Board went out to all club chairmen and match officials explaining the new initiative, objectives and the reasons behind it. The pilot will run from 16th February until 27th April in Division One only, monitoring unacceptable language and behaviour, both on and off the field of play.

Taylor went on to say:

The responsibility for administering the Laws of the Game on the field remains on the shoulders of the match officials, but there is a strong feeling amongst the officials that more could be done “at home” by the clubs to remind their management and players of their responsibility. Remember, the match officials are there to police the match, not to teach players how to behave.

We have produced a new, ‘softer, less wordy’ set of posters, which the officials asked for and these should now be visible at all the grounds. If this is not the case, referees are asked to report accordingly.

We have also reminded referees that they have a golden opportunity on receipt of the team sheets before kick off to remind clubs what is expected and that the bench side Assistant should monitor the technical areas diligently.

I hope that together we can all achieve the goals that we all know would make our match-days far more enjoyable, for everyone hoping to enjoy the game, without having to put up with unacceptable comments, hopefully they will all

‘’Think First, Before They Curse’’……

Scholes added:

Board members have asked to report any incidents of unacceptable language and/or behaviour to the General Secretary. These will then be forwarded on to the Respect, Discipline and Referees committee who decide what action, if any, will be taken.

This could be,

  1. A written warning as to future behaviour, with the proviso that further action may result should the behaviour be repeated.
  2. The chief officers/ management team of the club will be asked to attend a Board panel to explain their club’s behaviour and produce a committed action plan to eradicate any further occurrences.
  3. If no discernible improvement and should further instances occur, a report will be made to the main Board, with the   recommendation that the club be removed from the Constitution at the AGM.

We are asking clubs to highlight this trial, and its potential ramifications, in every home programme that they issue, as well as constantly reminding spectators, players and officials. We also recommend that they pin up the new poster at the entry point /pay box so that all spectators entering the ground are aware of the campaign. Additional laminated posters will be available on request.

The league reserves the right to Name and Shame clubs that are reported for unacceptable language and/or behaviour. This could be through the use of social media and local press, and as we have seen recently, these reports can be picked up by the national press. I’m sure that club officials do not want their club to be portrayed in a detrimental light.

The trial, started on Saturday 16th February, and will encompass all Division One league fixtures and all cup matches that come under the auspices of the League.

The emphasis does and should fall on everyone and Sports Shots hope that management staff, players and supporters all look at the bigger picture and grasp why this trial is being introduced.


UNICORNS CRICKET INTERVIEW (1 of 2): Bucks skipper talks about the “exciting new changes” in Minor counties cricket

With the cricket season on the horizon, Sports Shots has sat down and spoken with the Bucks County Cricket Club skipper Tom Hampton.

Tom Hampton

In this, the first of a two-part interview, the former Middlesex and Gloucestershire seamer discusses the new format for the 2020 season.

The Minor Counties will change their name after 124 years of competitive cricket spanning three centuries. From 2020, the rejigged competition’s many changes will include becoming the National Counties Cricket Association.

With all-to-play-for in 2019, Hampton will be looking for Bucks to finish in the top five so that they can perform in Division 1 for the new-look format next year.

I think the changes for 2020 are exciting.

The T20 competition and the introduction of coloured kit in the one-day competitions last year seemed to work well and definitely brought a buzz with it.

The slight negative was that the one-day competition became a knock out straight from the start, which is exciting, but does mean that one poor day or even period of a game and that can be the end of the competition. So I think the change to a guaranteed four matches in each format, with the opportunities at finals, is a great option.

Hampton enthused at the competitive element, that the addition of promotion and relegation will bring.

It is a shame that we lose two 3-day matches, but the summer is only so long. The balance of four games with finals, etc, seems the best way to solve the problem.

I think that adding promotion and relegation to the Championship brings in a good edge to the competition, and means there is a huge importance on finishing in the top five this season to ensure you start in the top division.

The ten counties that will split into two divisions will be Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Cambridgeshire, Cumberland, Hertfordshire, Lincolnshire, Norfolk, Northumberland, Staffordshire, Suffolk.

Tomorrow, Hampton talks about Bucks as 2019 becomes his second campaign at the helm.



Spartan South Midlands League … Interview coming Wednesday

Sports Shots always attempts to give our followers the very latest news and we are delighted the Spartan South Midlands League have accepted our invite to give an interview.

While there are many issues that the league’s Board face on a daily basis, the biggest news item is currently a pilot initative, centering around Unacceptable Language and Behaviour.

Coming tomorrow we will publish our interview after we spoke to the league’s vice-chairman Bill Scholes and Respect and Referees chairman Mike Taylor.

SSMFL DCT: Ath Development chasing the treble after progressing in Challenge Trophy

Buckingham Athletic Development are chasing a treble.

Jake Honor

Jake Honor’s side progressed into the semi-final of the Spartan South Midlands League, Development Division Challenge Trophy after defeating AFC Kempston Rovers Development.

Two goals by Charlie Wright saw the Athletic Development add to their 1-0 first leg success to go into the last four.

Athletic Development’s win sets up a two-legged semi-final against Leighton Town Development. The first leg is at Stratford Fields on Saturday 23rd March with the return at Bell Close on Saturday 6th April.

In the other semi-final, Stotfold lead Berkhamstead after winning 4-1 away and appear to be favourites to reach the final with the second leg at Roker Park on Saturday 23rd March.

Honor’s side are top of the Development Division and are in the Berks & Bucks Intermediate Cup Final in a successful 2018-19 campaign.

SSMFL D1: Ath suffer away defeat at second placed Broadfields

Buckingham Athletic suffered a 0-3 defeat away at Broadfields United on Saturday afternoon.

Broadfields, second in the division, had Connor Spinks net a treble to make it fifty goals in just one hundred appearances for the club.

Next up for the Athletic, who are still sixth, is leaders Harefield United next Saturday.

SSMFL D1: Winslow held at home by Rayners Lane

Winslow United remain third in the Spartan South Midlands League, Division 1 after a Rayners Lane equaliser ten minutes from time saw the spoils shared.

Harry Dalton

In their first game back at Elmfields Gate in a calendar month, it the home side who took the lead seven minutes before the break. Harry Dalton forced in Simon King’s corner to net his 23rd goal of the season.

United could not increase their advantage and it was the visitors who equalised with just ten minutes remaining.

In the 92nd minute Aaron King hit the bar from close range which summed up one of those games for Paul Alleyne’s side.

Buckingham Athletic U18s management team to stand down

It is with regret that Buckingham Athletic Football Club have had to accept the resignations of both Dan Turney and Sam Pateman who have advised that they will be stepping down as youth team manager and coach at the end of the season.

Dan Turney and Sam Pateman

Dan and Sam wanted the club to know as soon as possible so that the process of finding a new management team could start immediately.

Club Chairman, Tony Checkley said:

It is with regret that I have had to accept both Dan and Sam’s resignations and have to say they will be sorely missed.

Although Dan has only been with us for one season his level of detail and organisation has been top class. Unfortunately Dan has found that due to his own work levels and other new ventures he would not be able to commit the amount of time to the running of the team and has therefore reluctantly decided to step down.

Sam has been with us for 4 years and enjoyed a huge amount of success in that time – County Cup, League Titles and taking the youth team to the first round proper of the FA Youth Cup. Sam is looking to take advantage of some time away travelling and doesn’t feel it would be fair to the club to make too many commitments at this stage.

On behalf of all the committee and players I want to send our sincere thanks to both Dan and Sam for all of their hard work and dedication over the last few years and wish them the best of luck in their new ventures.

I want to finish by reiterating that the Youth team is a very important piece of the Athletic set-up so the difficult task of looking for a new manager starts now as we really want somebody in place as soon as possible so if anybody is interested they should contact me or Colin Howkins on

Buckingham Junior Charity Cup: Semi-final dates announced

The Semi-finals of Buckingham Junior Charity Cup are to be played at Stony Stratford Town Football Club on the following dates, it has been announced.

Tuesday 2nd April


Thursday  4th April


Kick-Off   7.30pm

SSMFL D1: Gate opens as third-placed United welcome Rayners Lane

Elmfields gate hosts it’s first Spartan South Midlands League, Division 1 game in exactly a calendar month as Winslow United play host to Rayners Lane on Saturday afternoon.

Winslow United – Stand

United have been on the road for their previous six outings in a combination of league and cup fixtures.

The visit of Rayners Lane starts the run-in for their league campaign with seven of their remaining ten matches at Elmfields gate, eight if you include their Buckingham Charity Senior Charity Cup, semi-final, second leg tie.