Rose Bowl gets green light for floodlights
Hampshire County Cricket Club has received permission from Eastleigh Council to erect permanent floodlights at the Rose Bowl near Southampton, thereby improving the ground's chances of becoming the premier venue for day-night internationals in England.
Last season, the Rose Bowl was chosen alongside The Oval and Edgbaston as the venues for the ICC Champions Trophy, although it did not attract rave reviews, with access to the ground for England's key fixture against Sri Lanka proving extremely difficult, as 16,000 spectators descended on the area.
But Rod Bransgrove, Hampshire's chairman, retains mighty ambitions for the ground, which hosted its first first-class match in 2001 and will this season host England's first Twenty20 match, against Australia on June 13.
Hove, Chelmsford and Derby are the only current grounds with permanent floodlights, although none of these has the capacity to host a one-day match, a fact of which Bransgrove is keenly aware. "I am confident we are offering the ECB something it both wants and needs," he said, during the Champions Trophy.
The plan is for six floodlights to be in place for the start of the 2006 season, although the county is taking something of a leap of faith, seeing as income from county cricket alone is not sufficient to meet the running costs of the ground. "Give us the opportunity to compete on the world stage," Bransgrove concluded, "and make the Rose Bowl an international [cricket] centre."