Updated: Dec 11, 2021
The cradle of cricket as we know it today is to host a special 250th anniversary match on New Year’s Day 2022 to kick off a season of celebrating two and half centuries of First-Class cricket.
In the 18th Century, Broadhalfpenny Down was home to the legendary Hambledon Club, then the acknowledged authority on the Laws of Cricket, and was the location of the inaugural First Class cricket match in 1772 between Hampshire and an All-England team. The picturesque ground in Hampshire, next to the Bat and Ball pub, was 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.
The Chairman of the charitable trust that now looks after the ground, Mike Beardall, said “We hold the unique honour of starting the journey of First Class cricket in 1772 with a famous ‘grand match’ so now, 250 years on, we want to commemorate and celebrate this significant historical event by holding diverse and inclusive cricketing events throughout the year.”
It's only the third time that the ground has seen play on New Year's Day. In 1929 a charity cricket match was played between the Hampshire Eskimos and The Invalids Cricket Club, a club founded in 1919 for players wounded in WW1. Ex-Sergeant Major Newland, fondly known as Picolo Jim, climbed on top of the monument and beckoned the players to the field to start the match. The game, which was interrupted by the Hampshire Hunt, was a cold and low scoring affair with The Invalids scoring 89 all out and the Eskimos scoring 78 in reply. It was so bitter and cold that as soon as the last wicket fell the players went straight to the Bat and Ball and drank the pub dry. At the turn of the millennium Hambledon CC arranged a match commencing at the stroke of midnight using car headlights to light the ground, play was then halted due to bad light and resumed later in the day when daylight illuminated the proceedings. Adi Aymes Benefit Invitation XI beat a Hambledon team by 2 wickets knocking off the 61 required for victory.
The two teams who will brave the cold are the Broadhalfpenny Brigands and the Hampshire Huskies, an invitational team of local club cricketers. The Chairman of the Broadhalfpenny Brigands, Nick Harris, said “this is set to be another memorable occasion for the Brigands whose members have enjoyed the privilege of playing on Broadhalfpenny Down and preparing its wickets since 1959”.
The Twenty over a side match commences at Noon with refreshments available from 11.30am. The Bat and Ball are serving up Roast Dinner for £17 a person after the match.
For more information contact Mike Beardall or David Henderson, and Gerry Northwood is assembling the Brigands team and collating lunch reservations.