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CRICKET


Newclose County Cricket Ground


somewhat surprised to see so many vehicles queued for boarding on a mid-week day.


I was forgetting, of course, that even islanders need their regular supply of crunchy nut cornflakes, baked beans, toiletries etc. and, therefore, there were all manner of vans, lorries and HGVs waiting to make the short crossing. So many, in fact, that it looked, at one point, that I might not make it onto the ferry for my allotted slot. As it turned out, I was the second to last


Vision expressed A


s a regular weekend user of the Wightlink ferry crossing to Yarmouth on the Isle of Wight (or ‘the Island’ as we locals affectionately call it), I was


vehicle on, with the queue, and no doubt some frustrated drivers, still stretching out a good way behind me.


With Google maps set to direct me, I disembarked and headed for the island’s main town of Newport to locate Newclose County Cricket Ground and its head groundsman Andy Butler to find out more about the man and how Hampshire County Cricket Club had chosen the venue for its County Championship Division One fixture. As the last vehicle off the ferry, and now following a stream of commercial vehicles, I


There cannot be many more pleasurable things to do on a warm summer’s day than to visit the Isle of Wight albeit via, what is considered, the most expensive ferry crossing per mile in the UK. I am here to meet Andy Butler, the head groundsman at one of England’s newest cricket outgrounds. Peter Britton reports


was concerned that I might be late for my 11.15 appointment, but I needn’t have worried as Google did its job and I arrived five minutes early. Waiting to meet me was Andy. The ground is accessed via some rather grand iron gates leading down a driveway to a splendid pavilion overlooking the purpose built cricket ground. I am suitably impressed, as I’m sure the first class cricketers and their


54


PC August/September 2019


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