In Pictures: Perfect conditions for ducks as cricket rivals battle on sandbank

·2-min read

The Solent took centre stage for its yearly role in cricket folklore as the Island Sailing Club took on Royal Southern Yacht Club in a match played on an exposed sandbank in the sea.

The fixture provides one of the most unusual locations for willow to collide with leather, with both teams taking advantage of low tide to play in a game like no other, with a decidedly difficult wicket for bowlers and batsmen alike.

The fear of being scuppered left both teams treading water as they vied for supremacy in conditions that were decidedly on the wet side in the stretch between the south coast west of Gosport and the Isle of Wight.

But the two teams made a splash with a fair wind for the annual nautical encounter.

Members of the Royal Southern Yacht Club and the Island Sailing Club during the annual Brambles cricket match between the clubs, which takes place on the Bramble Bank sandbank in the middle of the Solent at low tide (Steve Parsons/PA)
Members of the Royal Southern Yacht Club and the Island Sailing Club during the annual Brambles cricket match between the clubs, which takes place on the Bramble Bank sandbank in the middle of the Solent at low tide (Steve Parsons/PA)
Bramble Bank cricket match
The pitch is blessed (Andrew Matthews/PA)
A fielder wades in to help his colleagues (Andrew Matthews/PA)
A fielder wades in to help his colleagues (Andrew Matthews/PA)

The bowler had only a thin sliver of sand to pitch the ball while the batsmen had to wade to the other end as they completed a run with conditions far from ideal.

On a more positive note for the batsmen, when they did connect the fielders had to take the plunge if they were to pull off a catch unless the ball headed straight towards them.

There was not much movement off the pitch for the bowlers who might have considered trying a flipper or two as bait to reel in the batsmen.

A fielder dives in (Andrew Matthews/PA)
A fielder dives in (Andrew Matthews/PA)
Bramble Bank cricket match
A batsman takes guard (Andrew Matthews/PA)
The scorers were also all at sea (Andrew Matthews/PA)
The scorers were also all at sea (Andrew Matthews/PA)
Bramble Bank cricket match
Fielding positions were taken up (Steve Parsons/PA)
A bowler releases the ball after a soggy run-up (Andrew Matthews/PA)
A bowler releases the ball after a soggy run-up (Andrew Matthews/PA)

It was not just the batsmen who got bogged down, with the scorers too feeling the south coast waters lapping around their feet as they tried to keep up with the ebb and flow of the match on what looked to be good conditions for ducks.

The maritime match was a magnet for boaters and photographers took up position just outside the boundary to watch the event, with a drone providing a good aerial view of the naval battle.

Bramble Bank cricket match
The batsmen cross as they attempt a run (Andrew Matthews/PA)
Bramble Bank cricket match
Boats surround the cricketers as play gets under way (Steve Parsons/PA)
Bramble Bank cricket match
A bowler might be tempted to try a flipper (Andrew Matthews/PA)
The wicket keeper breaks the stumps (Andrew Matthews/PA)
The stumps are broken as they start to submerge (Andrew Matthews/PA)

Fielders, having to navigate their way to retrieve the ball, were most at risk of unscheduled drink intervals.

When stumps were drawn, it was time to drop anchor and return ashore to perhaps a different kind of watering hole.

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