PICTURE GALLERY: Memories of Hampshire cricket at Burnaby Road

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A gallery of historic pictures gives a snapshot of Hampshire cricket in Portsmouth over the years.

The photographs are from the collection of Hampshire cricket archivist Dave Allen, who is hoping that the bid to bring matches back to the city will be successful.

Hampshire's Jimmy Gray and Roy Marshall walk out to open the batting at Burnaby Road in a 1950s match

Hampshire's Jimmy Gray and Roy Marshall walk out to open the batting at Burnaby Road in a 1950s match

He said: 'My heart tells me that it would be a dream come true. I was Chairman of Portsmouth Area Supporters when we played there for the last time and I'm not ashamed to say there was a tear of two after more than 40 years since I first watched Hampshire there on a sunny day in 1959.

'In 1961, my first year as a (junior) member, Hampshire played six first-class matches in the city.

'My head tells me that those days will never return, but the dramatic changes in English domestic cricket just might create the circumstances through which, from 2020, Hampshire might wish to move some cricket to other parts of the county - perhaps particularly the current county T20 or 50 over competition.

Their options have always recently seemed to be Newclose, Newport IOW or Basingstoke - the north of the county always feels neglected, although the Portsmouth to Ageas Bowl trip by public transport is not simple

'If Portsmouth is to host T20 then the pitch must be fit for that level - which might be a challenge.

'And there must be adequate seating, although I do recall being in a crowd of 8,000 there in 1969, the first season of the Sunday League, I think against Essex.

'If the city-based franchise comes to 'Hampshire' - and I wonder whether it will be called Eastleigh or Southampton - then other mid-season matches are likely to be moved to other venues. Let's hope it's Portsmouth.

'It's a long time since Hampshire recruited, developed and retained a Portsmouth-born cricketer and too many young people in Portsmouth no longer engage with it in the same way, despite the fine work done with local colts teams at the clubs.

'The return of cricket to the city might have a significant impact on young people and encourage some to take it up, who would not otherwise do so. Here's hoping!'