All-important fixture

Peta Stuart-Hunt reports on the Hendrick's Gin Brambles Cricket Match

Thursday September 29th 2011, Author: Peta Stuart-Hunt, Location: United Kingdom

For many years past, the Royal Southern Yacht Club and Cowes' Island Sailing Club have challenged each other to the annual Bramble Bank cricket match in the Solent.

This year The Brambles Cricket Match, supported by Hendrick's Gin, was hosted by the Royal Southern and took place on Wednesday 28 September. Low water was at 1758hrs and 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 the centre of the Solent, expecting another classic encounter. Start of play was delayed due to a waterlogged pitch, but as soon as this famous venue emerged from beneath 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, etc) 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. Fine weather prevailed but when the covers were finally lifted, the playing area was far smaller than in previous years.

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.

This year, 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.

While spectators sipped their cucumber-infused libations, Hendrick's Commander of Special Operations, Mr David Piper, was on hand to deliver a most unusual commentary of the proceedings.

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