A Weekend Diary

…words and images from England's green and pleasant land…

Hambledon rambling…

When the emails come around announcing details of upcoming rambles for our after-work walking group, I’m sometimes indifferent to the offerings on the menu, but I certainly wasn’t indifferent to this one; Hambledon is seminal in the history of cricket, and with the game such an integral part of the English summer, I was always going say a big yes to this particular walk in the Hampshire countryside :).

Getting to the rendez-vous point, however, The Bat and Ball pub in Hyden Farm Lane, proved to be a bit of a magical mystery tour and challenge for the four of us travelling in one car, resulting in a couple of wrong turnings, and finding ourselves stuck behind a horse-box at one point, but eventually we joined the other half-a-dozen fellow-ramblers outside the pub…albeit half an hour late…;)

So here's the pub, and we ordered our food before setting off on the six or so mile route...

So here’s the pub, and we ordered our food before setting off on the six or so mile route…

And the pub sign...

And the pub sign…

Directly opposite the pub is a stone memorial to Hambledon’s place in the history of cricket…

The stone memorial, on Broadhalfpenny Down...

The stone memorial, on Broadhalfpenny Down…

It’s been a long, long time since I’ve watched any live cricket, but it once played a much greater part in my sport-spectating life, and, being a Kentish man, I naturally have some fond memories of Kent cricket matches. Here are two of the most memorable, both from my teenage years…

The first is from a three day County match against Yorkshire, played at the St Lawrence Ground at Canterbury, on August 9th, 10th and 11th, 1967. I was there with my Dad, on Wednesday the 9th, and I’ll never forget the thrill of watching Alan Brown, a Kent fast bowler, hitting Fred Trueman, the legendary Yorkshire and England fast bowler, for 4, 6, 4 and 4 off successive balls! Fred bowled him in the end, after Brown’s spirited knock of 33 runs, and Yorkshire eventually ran out winners of the match on the Friday. The game was also notable for the re-appearance of Godfrey Evans as Kent wicket-keeper, after his retirement eight years previously, since Alan Knott, the regular Kent wicket-keeper at this time, was away on England duty. Anyway, here’s a link to the scorecard for that match…

http://static.espncricinfo.com/db/ARCHIVE/1960S/1967/ENG_LOCAL/CC/KENT_YORKS_CC_09-11AUG1967.html

The other particularly memorable day watching Kent cricket, was from another County match, this time against Hampshire ironically, during that same summer of 1967. It was played a couple of weeks prior to the Yorkshire game, at Mote Park in Maidstone. Kent batted first, and won by an innings on the second day of the three days scheduled, with Hampshire being skittled out for 95 in their first innings, and for 31 in their second. ‘Deadly’ Derek Underwood did most of the damage, and I was there on the second day, Sunday 23rd July, seeing Hampshire collapse from 31-4 in their second innings, to 31 all out! Again, here is the relevant scorecard…

http://cricketarchive.com/Archive/Scorecards/28/28953.html

The wording on the Stone...

The wording on the Stone…

Okay, enough of this verbal rambling, and some images from the walk itself…;)

Sunlight through trees...

Sunlight through trees…

White horse, wearing a fly-mask...

White horse, wearing a fly-mask…

Appropriate somehow, that we encountered a white horse on this ramble, a long time symbol of the county of Kent…

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/White_horse_of_Kent

We also met a very friendly, and I think, elderly, she-cat on the way round...

We also met a very friendly, and I think, elderly, she-cat on the way round…

Another pub sign seen en route...

Another pub sign seen en route…

St Peter and St Paul Church, Hambledon...

St Peter and St Paul Church, Hambledon…

Yes, it was a lovely evening...

Yes, it was a lovely evening…

Some kind of thistle methinks...

Some kind of thistle methinks…

Some sunlit wheat...

Some sunlit wheat…

Nearing the end of the ramble now, and a western sky...

Nearing the end of the ramble now, and a western sky…

And with the sun about to set...

And with the sun about to set…

So, with the walk over, the ten of us retired to The Bat and Ball for an hour and more’s convivial chat over some good food and drink, amidst pictures and paraphenalia on the walls celebrating the history of cricket, and it’d be remiss of me not to end this post with a respectful nod to one of the great legends of the game…from a print on the wall in the pub.

Mr W.G. Grace...

Mr W.G. Grace…

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