THE CRADLE OF CRICKET
Home of the legendary 18th Century Hambledon Club
Broadhalfpenny Down (pronounced brawd-HAYP-nee) is a beautiful cricket ground in Hampshire, opposite the Bat & Ball Inn.
Cricket was played here from around 1750 and, over the next three decades, the players and patrons of Hambledon were responsible for the development of new techniques and the laws of cricket, from the addition of a third stump to the size of the bat.
Their adaptations, and codification, of these laws, transformed cricket from an occasional country pastime to a national sport, which became an international sport in the following century.
250 years of First Class cricket
It was market day in Hambledon on 24th June 1772 when a cricket match began, pitting the finest players in Hampshire against an All England XI consisting of players from Surrey and Kent for a 500 Guinea prize.
This is acknowledged as the inaugural First Class cricket match, and to commemorate the 250th anniversary some special games took place in 2022.
On New Year's Day, the warmest on record, Brigands played Hampshire Huskies using a pink ball and a plastic pitch. Ivo Tennant said it was a day when "history filled the air".
In June, a Fullers XI took on the Brigands in a T20 celebration match, Hampshire All Stars (captained by Mark Nicholas) beat an All England XI (captained by Charlotte Edwards) on the last ball, and the Brigands hosted neighbours Hambledon CC.
In August a Broadhalfpenny Down XI featuring guests from Cricket District took on the might of the MCC, with the outfield turning brown after a long hot Summer.
These celebration matches raised money for the charity that now preserves the ground, featured ex-England and Hampshire cricketers, and raised the awareness of Broadhalfpeny Down and its role in the history of cricket.
Broadhalfpenny Brigands Cricket Club plays on the ground between April and September. Cricket is played in a jovial spirit, typically in a traditional time format rather than limited overs.
Opponents are a mix of local clubs and wandering sides and the Club especially welcomes enquiries from overseas touring teams wanting to play at Broadhalfpenny Down.
Hambledon Cricket Club play league games for their Third and Fourth teams at Broadhalfpenny Down.
A warm welcome is given to visiting teams and spectators from far and wide who appreciate the ground's unique place in the history of cricket.
The upkeep of the ground is now looked after by the Broadhalfpenny Down Preservation Trust, a charity whose aims also include widening access to play on the ground including mens, womens, junior and disability cricket, as well as educating the public on the history of the ground and it's importance in cricket.
A monument to the glory of cricket and the contribution to it made by The Hambledon Club was erected at the ground in 1908 made of Cornish granite.
Patrons of the Preservation Trust include JRT Barclay DL, Allan Donald, David Gower OBE, The Rt Hon Sir John Major KG CH, Mark Nicholas, Barry Richards, Sir Tim Rice and Sir Garfield Sobers.
Hire Broadhalfpenny Down for your own special event
Enjoy spending time with your family in this historic location full of nostalgia. Broadhalfpenny Down is situated in the heart of the Hampshire countryside yet only an hour and a half from London. The pavilion is a stunning building offering panoramic views with steps rising onto the balcony where watching the sunset and varied wildlife with a glass of wine in hand is truly amazing! It is an ideal venue for friends and family wishing to get together for special occasions, birthday parties or weddings.
Getting involved, Staying in touch
We welcome new members, volunteers, spectators and supporters; we love requests to play as a guest or from touring teams wanting to play at the cradle of cricket. The Contacts page has more details.
Support the Preservation Trust by using the Donate function in the menu at the top of the website. All proceeds go to looking after the ground and hosting matches for diverse cricket teams.
You can follow us on Instagram at @cradleofcricket
Cricket lovers can subscribe for occasional email updates by subscribing with an email address at the footer of the website.
In the Media
Broadhalfpenny Down is regularly featured in the media for its role as the "cradle of cricket".
We have welcomed The Times, The Daily Telegraph, Getty Images, Wisden Cricket Monthly, The Cricketer, Nightwatchman, BBC and ITV news, Cricket District, Petersfield Post, Portsmouth Evening News, The Hambledonian, ESPN and radio stations Heart and Classic fm.
We were also featured by the Barmy Army, in the MCC membership book, on Cricket District, and in the MCC At Home With Cricket publication.
The aerial image of Broadhalfpenny Down looking West, taken by Ryan Pierse of Getty Images, won the Hampshire CCC best view in Hampshire in 2022.
2024 marks Harry Bates' final season as Honorary Grounds Person.
Known all over the world, Harry has been looking after the ground at the cradle of cricket, preparing wickets, dealing with mole holes, and keeping the badgers at bay. He has been doing this for 30 years and is a well-respected part of Hampshire cricket and its rich history.
They are big shoes to fill but if anyone is interested in applying for this role, please contact one of the Committee.