Grounds 2023 (Hampshire Outgrounds)

Dean Park, May’s Bounty, United Services Ground.

In the history of Hampshire cricket about a half of its home Championship fixtures have been played at these three outgrounds, even on a count  to 2023; the club expanding its reach in the early 20c, contracting again towards the end of it, now the Rose Bowl.  So what got left behind? Scyld Berry in  Disappearing World expresses a  reasonable preference for grounds that are a part of somewhere: convenient to access and  places with some character, a common denominator with these three.

Dean Park: out of the station, round Cavendish Road and the first sound of bat on ball as players knocked-up before the start. A  ground to bear comparison with say, Tunbridge Wells, no rhododendrons that I remember, but a fine late 19c pavilion; public transport, then 10 minutes on foot.  A long time now since Hampshire days; in 2023 the BCP conurbation has a population in excess of 500,000, Hants departure a bit like ‘withdrawing from Somerset’  in terms of the game’s reach.

Basingstoke this month, the most recently used by Hants in 2010, and very recognisable now from decades past; just add marquees and spectators, and a player’s benefit year. A club where the county connection was evident during the later-stages of the one-day cups in the 20c, with a BNHCC banner cum flag on its travels, akin to those used by England football supporters.

Portsmouth, alight from a  Grade II listed building, pass the Guildhall, over the footbridge and then on to Burnaby Road; 25 and more years after the last time, the footbridge is no more, USG cricket still, but behind lock and smart card, a place for the military. Better perhaps to remember halcyon days when the Sunday League captured imaginations, prompting as it does the the question how many now head to the station, and alight at Hedge End for the Rose Bowl?



2 thoughts on “Grounds 2023 (Hampshire Outgrounds)”

  1. As a Pompey lad born-and-bred who watched cricket there from 1959 I know of many ‘regulars’ who never moved on to West End and still miss the ‘good old days’. I think it’s possible to interpret that partly in terms of Portsmouth being an island with the insularity that comes with it – sometimes too there is the irrational prejudice against going anywhere with a postcode beginning SO. But there is also the fact that no cricketer from Pompey has played for Hampshire for 20 years and even then Lawrie Prittipaul had a fairly short career. Do we identify as Hampshire any more?

  2. I last lived in Hampshire in 1974 so personally not much in truth, likewise with ex- Dean Park supporters quite a number of Rose Bowl refuseniks, some of whom go to the games on the IoW now. If the last game of the season is a title decider as a Surrey member I will hope Hants win, but if Southampton starts to appear in the name then football loyalties will apply.

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