Cricketers slug it out in the middle of the Solent

Two teams of players staged what is regarded as one of the more eccentric cricket matches of the season - held in the middle of the Solent.

Monday, 19th September 2016, 8:23 am
Updated Wednesday, 5th October 2016, 2:20 pm
Match action during the annual Bramble Bank cricket match Picture: Ben Birchall/PA Wire

The annual match between two sailing clubs took place on the Bramble Bank sandbar when the low-water spring tide exposes the bank long enough to play a game.

The Rev Andrew Poppe, vicar at St Mary the Virgin and Holy Trinity churches in Cowes on the Isle of Wight, blessed the match before watching the Island Sailing Club beat the Royal Southern Yacht Club by one run - 79 to 80.

Mr Poppe said afterwards: “It was a wonderful, wholly eccentric and very wet game. The conditions were at times challenging, as they are at Lord’s sometimes, with the players waist-high in water.

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“It was the first of these matches I have been to in the 18 months I have been here. And the whole experience is very difficult to sum up, other than it was about as eccentric as anything I have ever seen.

“It was a wonderfully English event, and the Royal Southern Yacht Club were generous in their giving up of the trophy this year. It was just great fun.”

Spectators gathered in boats to watch the match, which lasted for up to 50 minutes and has been played on and off in the Solent since the 1950s.

It was postponed last month due to adverse weather. Before the match, a tug of war game took place between teams of Royal Navy veterans.

When underwater, the arrow-headed Bramble Bank can be a troublesome navigational hazard. In November 2008 it caused the Cunard liner Queen Elizabeth II to run aground, requiring four tugs to pull it clear.