For many years past, the Royal Southern Yacht Club from Hamble in Hampshire and the Island Sailing Club from Cowes on the Isle of Wight, play each other in the annual Bramble Bank cricket match in the Solent. What makes this extraordinary sporting extravaganza so special (and totally batty!) is that it takes place on a sand bank in the middle of the Solent that only reveals itself for long enough on one day of each year, and then only for about one and a half hours. Unusually too the victor of the game is pre-determined as the two clubs simply take it in turns to “win” the match – very Corinthian.
This year The Brambles Cricket Match, supported by Hendrick’s Gin, was hosted by the Royal Southern and took place on Wednesday 28th September. Low water was at 1758hrs when play between the rivals commenced. Under a clear blue sky, the fierce local rivals and a large contingent of the famous ‘Barmy Navy’ converged at Brambles sandbank in expectation of another classic encounter. Start of play was delayed due to a waterlogged pitch, but as soon as the pitch appeared above the waves the players raced off their boats and commenced a hard-fought match. The numerous spectators (many in fancy dress – some excellent seagull costumes) crowded the bank in soggy bottoms, passions refusing to be dampened by the lack of dry land upon which to stand, assisted no doubt by the speedily erected Hendrick’s Gin bar by the sea-cow corner boundary rope. Hendrick’s Gin provided an array of curious cocktails for the brave spectators of the cricket match, served from a delightfully peculiar floating bar built on the Brambles sand bank. As spectators sipped their cucumber-infused libations, Hendrick’s Commander of Special Operations, Mr David Piper, delivered a most unusual commentary of the proceedings.