THE chairman of Hampshire Cricket said he is "very excited" by the prospect of bringing a first-class County Championship match to the Isle of Wight next summer — the first in over half a century — with his club pencilled in to take on Nottinghamshire at Newclose.

Landing the deal to bring the four-day match to the Isle of Wight is fitting news for Newclose, which is celebrating its tenth anniversary this year.

Isle of Wight County Press:

The fixture will be the first County Championship match to be held on the Island since 1962, when Hampshire took on Worcestershire at the former J.Samuel White ground, now the Isle of Wight Community Club ground in Cowes. 

Bringing top level county cricket back to the Isle of Wight had long been the dream and ambition of the late Brian Gardener, and just reward for Newclose groundsman Andy Butler, who has made the playing surface one of the best in the south.

Isle of Wight County Press:
The late Brian Gardener on his land in Blackwater, which was to become Newclose County Cricket Ground.  FILE

Rod Bransgrove, the chairman of Hampshire Cricket, is delighted to be bringing Hampshire's first team back to the Isle of Wight to play competitive cricket again.

He said: “Due to the exclusivity period around its ICC World Cup Tournament commitments next season, Hampshire Cricket is required to play a home fixture away from the Ageas Bowl.

"We are very excited to be staging a debut first class fixture at Newclose on the Isle of Wight.

Isle of Wight County Press:

Groundsman Andy Butler, who has received widespread praise for the wicket he has produced at Newclose.  FILE

"Having played second XI matches there in recent years, we know Newclose is a fantastic facility, with a good wicket and plenty of space for members and supporters.

"Hampshire is working with a range of travel partners to ensure that as many of our mainland-based fans as possible will be able to join us for what should be a fantastic fixture.

"The match against Nottinghamshire, starting on May 20, is a fitting reward for the hard work of everyone concerned at Newclose and, in particular, the determination and commitment of the late Brian Gardener, who would have been absolutely thrilled at this outcome."

Isle of Wight County Press:

Tickets for the match are already available online on the Hampshire Cricket website