Honouring 250 years of action at cricket’s cradle

By The Post  
Saturday 8th January 2022 5:00 pm
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Mike Beardall on top of monument at Broadhalfpenny Down to summon the teams to the match ()

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On January 1 Broadhalfpenny Down, the home of Broadhalfpenny Brigands, was the venue for the start of commemorations of 250 years since the first First Class match was played there in 1772.

On New Year’s Day, the Broadhalfpenny Brigands took on the Hampshire Huskies, an invitation team from clubs such as Hursley Park, Havant, Hambledon and Portsmouth as well as cricketing journalists and the MCC.

The Huskies were too much for the Brigands, beating them by a 17-run margin, restricting them to 107 after scoring 123.

Watched by a large crowd, the first New Year’s Day match on the Down since the millennium got under way with the intrepid Mike Beardall climbing to the top of the monument to summon the players.

His bold climb was in honour of ex-Sergeant Major Newland, fondly known as Picolo Jim, who from the top of the monument on New Year’s Day in 1929 beckoned two teams to the field.

They were to play in a charity match between the Hampshire Eskimos and the Invalids. The Eskimos scored 89 runs to the Invalids’ 78.

Since 1929 there have been only two New Year’s Day matches, one to welcome in the millennium and the Brigands v Huskies encounter.

Cricket has been played on the Down since 1750. The clubhouse was The Hutt, now The Bat & Ball public house.

And the early Hambledon team achieved amazing success, beating The Rest of England teams on numerous occasions, once by an innings.


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