The Hambledon Club was a social club popular for its organization of 18th century cricket matches and by late 1770s was known to be the foremost cricket clubs in England. The home stadium of this team was Broadhalfpenny Down and Windmill Down. Established in 1765, the last match played by this club was in 1796. Some of the notable players that played for this club include John Small, Thomas Brett, David Harris, Tom Walker and many more.
Origin of this club
It is said that the origin of this club is based near to Hambledon which is situated in rural area of Hampshire. This club was founded in 1768 and initially it was a local parish cricket team prior to 1750 achieving recognition in 1756 when they played a series of three matches against Dartford. Dartford club was a major club for at least thirty years and the parish team was called as “Squire Land’s Club” named after Squire Thomas Land, the main organizer of the teams in the village prior to the club foundation.
The Hambledon Club was a multi functional and social club, which was not focused as a cricket club. Rather than cricket club, it was seen more as an organizer of matches. There were many arguments amongst historians whether the teams should be referred to as Hambledon or Hampshire. It was in 1772, when the subject became rather complicated with Kent playing against Hampshire and Sussex match held at Guildford Bason. Hampshire and Sussex were synonymous with Hambledon club. Moreover, it is quite interesting that Sussex cricket was not popular during the Hambledon time and this could be because Hambledon had a team representing two counties. Of course there were Sussex connections at Hambledon with players like Noah Mann, John Bayton and William Barber.
It was in 1782 that this club moved from Broadhalfpenny Down, its original ground to Windmill Down which is merely half a mile away to the village of Hambledon. This was done as the captain of the club, Richard Nyren got moved from the Bat and Ball Inn to the George Hotel, as the new ground was near to the hotel.
The move from Hambledon to Marylebone
The great amazing days of the club ended in the 1780s when the focus got shifted from the rural counties to metropolitan places. Right from focusing on Kent, Hampshire and Sussex, people focused on London where Lord’s got established as the home ground of the new Marylebone Cricket Club in 1787. With such changes, membership too declined drastically during the 1790s and by 1796, only 15 people attended a meeting.
The present club was near to Hambledon village at Ridge Meadow. In 2007, the club house was burnt to the ground.