Quintessential English Madness on a Beautiful Summer’s Evening

Photo: Phil Riley
Only in England could two yacht clubs meet for their annual cricket match on a sand bank in the middle of the Solent.
But that is what they do, and this year with tides not being as low as in the past  the match was played in conditions most generously described as ‘moist’.
The Hamble based Royal Southern Yacht Club led by team captain Mark ‘Tommo’ Tomson, emerged triumphant over arch rivals the Cowes-based Island Sailing Club.
Not because they played any better than the lot from Cowes but because this year it was their turn to win!
Even the absence of any fully exposed bank failed to dampen high spirits. Playing for the RYS Sir Robin Knox-Johnston said, “This is one of those events you can’t miss, can you?” he said. “It’s a great crowd of people, enormous fun and nicely nautical – how else can you combine cricket with sailing? It shows imagination in my view.”
Of his own prowess with bat and ball he added: “It’s the best performance I’ve ever had. I actually connected with the ball and wasn’t bowled out first ball. Last year I was waved out – the ball landed in the water and a wave picked it up and hit my stumps, so I waded, I thought it was the gentlemanly thing to do.”
The instigation of the eccentric event is credited to legendary Cowes yacht designer Uffa Fox, though precise historical details are thin on the ground. Suffice to say the Royal Southern took up the cudgels against the Island Sailing Club over 30 years ago in an event, which is now a summer fixture.

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