THIS has to be the strangest event that Strange Britain has ever reported on: A cricket match played in the middle of The Solent!
The Brambles sandbank appears only once a year - and then only for about an hour - midway between Southampton and the Isle of Wight. When it does members of The Royal Southern Yacht Club at Hamble and the Island Sailing Club on the Isle of Wight race out to it... for a cricket match.
Dozens of boats containing participants and spectators wait around Bramble Bank for the sea to subside and reveal the bank once more. As soon as it does appear the stumps are put up and the match gets under way. Many of the competitors dress all in cricket whites and 'The Bramble Inn' (pictured above) is erected to serve drinks to spectators. The Bramble Inn is probably worth a web page on its own as one of the most bizarre pubs in England: it is in the middle of the sea and exists only for about an hour each year! The event looks to any passing boats like some surreal mirage - cricketers standing on water in the middle of The Solent. And as can be seen from the pictures, to the spectators it often looks as if people are 'walking on water' as ferries and tankers sail past.
The game only lasts as long as the bank lasts (about an hour) and the the sea returns to swamp the pitch. The players retreat to their boats and head back to the Isle of Wight for a celebratory dinner. Who wins? Well, the teams seem to take it in turns - afterall winning the game or losing it just doesn't seem important. All that matters is having a good time.
If you wish to row or sail out to see the match check with one of the clubs as to what date and time it is due to take place (it depends on tide and wind).