The Brambles sandbank in central Solent, midway between Southampton and the Isle of Wight, is a low-tide sandbank that appears only once each year during spring. The exposed bank never lasts more than an hour before the tide returns, but whenever it does, two clubs race down to the middle for a friendly cricket match, a tradition that has been taking place for the last 60 years.
Dozens of boats containing participants of The Royal Southern Yacht Club at Hamble and the Island Sailing Club on the Isle of Wight, and spectators wait around Bramble Bank for the sea to subside and reveal the bank. 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' is erected to serve drinks to spectators. The undulating surface with large puddles ensures it is more a social occasion than a serious cricket match. The ultimate example of this is the scoring - the victor of the game is pre-determined as the two clubs simply take it in turns to "win" the match, regardless of how the match progresses.
The game only lasts as long as the bank lasts (about an hour) and 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.
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