Hampshire as a County team was formed in 1863 and first played at the Antelope Ground in Southampton where it stayed until 1885, before moving to the County Ground in Northlands Road. Hampshire’s home matches are now played at the Ageas Bowl (formerly the Rose Bowl) on the outskirts of Southampton at West End, a venue also used for international matches.
We also know that Hampshire played at Hoglands Park in the heart of Southampton, including a fixture against a South of England XI in 1867. The following year at Hoglands the county played a drawn match against the first Australian touring side to visit England – a team composed entirely of indigenous Australians.
Hampshire has been the stamping ground of some of the legends of world cricket through the years including Australian spin bowler Shane Warne, West Indian fast bowler Malcolm Marshall and batsman Gordon Greenidge, South African legend Barry Richards and England batsman Robin Smith amongst many others.
Within easy driving distance of Southampton is Hambledon, known as the ‘Cradle of Cricket’. It was here that the present-day laws of the game were formalised in 1770. There is a monument to Hambledon Cricket Club at Broadhalfpenny Down – a magnet for cricket lovers worldwide, as is the nearby ‘Bat and Ball’ inn.