Draw­ing lines in the sand

Country Life Every Week - - A Walking Life -

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.

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