Hampshire Cricket Show Support for Special Anniversary of First-Class Cricket

First-Class cricket is celebrating its 250th anniversary

First-Class cricket will be celebrating its 250th anniversary in 2022 with the Broadhalfpenny Down Preservation Trust hosting a special New Year’s Day cricket game to kick off a year of celebrations.

Broadhalfpenny Down, the home of the Hambledon Club, was the location of the inaugural First-Class cricket match in June 1772 between Hampshire and an All-England team.

2022 will see a number of cricketing events hosted at the ground, known as ‘the cradle of cricket’, with a special cricket match on New Year’s Day kicking off the celebrations.

In the 18th Century the Hambledon Club was the acknowledged authority on the Laws of Cricket, and responsible for the development of new techniques and the laws of cricket. These varied from the addition of a third stump to the size of the bat.

We are proud that this significant moment in the history of our game took place in Hampshire, at a special ground in Hambledon. The New Year’s Day match will be a great start to what I’m sure will be a memorable year of celebrations and as a Club we’re delighted to be able to support.

Hampshire Cricket Chief Executive, David Mann

We hold the unique honour of starting the journey of First Class cricket in 1772 with a famous ‘grand match’ so now, 250 years on, we want to commemorate and celebrate this significant historical event by holding diverse and inclusive cricketing events throughout the year.

The Chairman of Broadhalfpenny Down Preservation Trust, Mike Beardall

It's only the third time that the ground has seen play on New Year's Day. In 1929 a charity cricket match was played between the Hampshire Eskimos and The Invalids Cricket Club, a club founded in 1919 for players wounded in WW1. 

Ex-Sergeant Major Newland, fondly known as Picolo Jim, climbed on top of the monument and beckoned the players to the field to start the match. 

The game, which was interrupted by the Hampshire Hunt, was a cold and low scoring affair with The Invalids scoring 89 all out and the Eskimos scoring 78 in reply. It was so bitter and cold that as soon as the last wicket fell the players went straight to the Bat and Ball and drunk the pub dry.

At the turn of the millennium Hambledon CC arranged a match commencing at the stroke of midnight using car headlights to light the ground, play was then halted due to bad light and resumed later in the day when daylight illuminated the proceedings. 

Adie Aymes Benefit Invitation XI beat a Hambledon team by 2 wickets knocking off the 61 required for victory.

The two teams who will brave the cold this time are the Broadhalfpenny Brigands and the Hampshire Huskies, an invitational team of local club cricketers and cricket nuts.

A full calendar of matches and events to mark First-Class cricket’s 250th anniversary at Broadhalfpenny Down is in the process of being confirmed, with more information set to be made available in the New Year.

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