Drawing lines in the sand
Intrepid cricket fans can visit the Bramble Bank match, played at low tide in the middle of the Solent each August. Play lasts a mere 20–30 minutes before the tide turns and players need to ‘up-stumps’. Spectators are welcomed, but are also advised to beware boat collisions and groundings, not to mention the prospect of getting thoroughly wet. ‘It’s an acquired taste—true “mad dogs and Englishmen” stuff,’ acknowledges Mark Tomson, captain of the Hamblebased Royal Southern Yacht Club team.
This year, play is scheduled to begin early on the morning of Thursday, August 24—times can be confirmed with the Royal Southern Yacht Club (023–8045 0300; www.royal-southern.co.uk). The opposition is, as usual, the Island Sailing Club from the Isle of Wight, on the other side of the water, and the losing team buys dinner.
Those seeking calmer beach cricket might consider heading to the far end of the land. The Ship Inn at Elie (01333 330246; www.shipinn.scot), in the East Neuk of Fife, is the only British pub known to offer seaside cricket. A square is specially rolled out high up the sandy beach and matches last a comparatively sedate 2–3 hours.