I last visited the Bat & Ball, Hambledon on the occasion of the Millennium, having decided to mark the great event by having dinner near the “cradle of the modern game” of cricket with a crowd of cricket mad friends. The highlight of the evening was a cricket match played at Broadhalfpenny Down opposite at midnight – the first Cricket Match of the New Millennium.
I have read that Hambledon Cricket Club (formed around 1750 & initially based at the Bat & Ball Inn) formulated the rules for the game of cricket before that responsibility passed onto the MCC. David Gower, former England captain, has been quoted as saying “It was the Hambledon team of the late 18th century that raised cricket from a sport to an art” – and you can’t really argue with him, now can you? This was a time when a local cricket team, based at their local pub, could take on the English national team and beat them by an innings – unthinkable now. A monument to the importance of this little outpost now stands on Broadhalfpenny Down opposite the Bat & Ball Inn. The original field is still a cricket ground though today, for the Broadhalfpenny Brigands Cricket Club – Hambledon having moved further down the road. The Bat & Ball Inn still stands proudly opposite, filled with abundant cricketing memorabilia and now serving rather good food too. (See also separate post A3 Wanderings: Lazy Sunday lunch at the Bat & Ball Inn, Hambledon).
See this link to an excellent community website for Hambledon for more information: http://www.hambledon-hants.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=blogsection&id=7&Itemid=58.
Contributor: Sue Lowry