Yesterday’s post featured Turner’s Cricket on the Goodwin Sands. Another submarine venue for a game of cricket is The Bramble Bank, an arrow-headed sand bar in the middle of the Solent, revealed only in the extreme of spring tides associated with this time of year.
Although the Squire took a motley crew there in The Bolivar to play a game for a wager in the Seventeen Forties the custom of an annual Brambles cricket match was established almost exactly two hundred years later by Uffa Fox, he of the Flying Fifteen keelboat and the airborne lifeboat.
Taken up in more recent times by the Island Sailing Club and the Royal Southern Yacht Club, the match would seem to be gaining the character of an institution with each Club taking it in good natured turns *not* to win.
The photograph above of a recent match bears such a strong resemblance to Turner’s representation (inset) of the match on Goodwin Sands that it would seem to confirm the old saw that form follows function.
Third Man recalls that day long ago when he removed a razor clam from a length (tricky without gloves), patted down a ripple of sand here and there and took guard on that transient field:
“The Squire was the first to swing himself down from The Bolivar onto the sands and tap in the stumps. A game lasting no more than an hour ensued and our Patron, who had obviously won some significant purse on the matter, was most satisfied with the outcome.”
Tea was taken between innings in a temporary but substantial pavilion erected from the timbers taken from a hulk in Portsmouth Harbour and now marked as a wreck on Admiralty charts to the puzzelment of underwater archeologists.
An account of this match was recorded in The Bolivar’s log which in due course is believed to have come into the collection of the laterally thinking, Mr. Fox, who was also a champion of the Skerry Cruiser , two of which can be seen in a tacking duel here: