THE Isle of Wight will not be hosting a Hampshire game this summer — but the county has made encouraging signs it could return next year.

Newclose County Cricket Ground near Newport had planned to host the 50-over Royal London Trophy match betwen Hampshire and Lancashire on August 9.

Isle of Wight County Press: Hampshire v Nottinghamshire at Newclose last year — a hugely successful event.Hampshire v Nottinghamshire at Newclose last year — a hugely successful event.

And with competitive cricket returning, after lockdown rules were relaxed recently for the sport, there was hope it may still be played. 

However, with news the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) had cancelled the competition this year, so any lingering hopes the Lancashire match would be played, immediately evaportated.

As disappointing as the news was to the Newclose trustees, it also came as no surprise in the current, uncertain climate under Covid-19.

Isle of Wight County Press:

With the Ageas Bowl hosting ODIs and test matches against Pakistan, Hampshire will be using Arundel Castle in West Sussex as a temporary home venue for sound logistic reasons.

However, there were green shoots of hope for Newclose hosting a Hampshire match next year, following encouraging and reassuring comments made by Hampshire Cricket chairman, Rod Bransgrove.

“We came to the rapid conclusion we would utilise the facilities at Arundel for the Bob Willis Trophy,” said Ron.

Isle of Wight County Press: Hampshire Cricket chairman, Rod Bransgrove, at Newclose last summer.Hampshire Cricket chairman, Rod Bransgrove, at Newclose last summer.

And with the success of last year's County Championship match at Newclose, between Hampshire and Nottinghamshire, still fresh in the memory, there is every chance the venue will soon host top cricket again.

Isle of Wight County Press: Newclose trustee, Hugh Griffiths.Newclose trustee, Hugh Griffiths.

Hugh Griffiths, a leading Newclose trustee, said: "It's really difficult to forecast what will happen because of Covid-19.

"If next year we face the same restrictions, it's likely Hampshire would play at Arundel again, which would be a contingency plan in such an eventuality, I believe.

"We should learn in November what the fixtures will be for next year, but as there is no relegation or promotion this season, they may, in theory, replicate this year's unplayed season.

"But at the end of the day, we are ultimately at the mercy of the ECB and Covid-19."