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?