Hampshire chairman 'shocked' at Test snub
As Glamorgan celebrates its newly-won Test status and prepares to host the 2009 Ashes, the outlook is rather more bleak down at the Rose Bowl in Hampshire, where the county's chairman and chief financial backer, Rod Bransgrove, is believed to be considering his future at the club.
Bransgrove saved the club from liquidation after their move from Northlands Road in 2001 by pumping in £3.5million of his own money in shares and investments, and now says he is "shocked" and "angered" by yet another snub from the ECB.
"I am in a very difficult position now," he told Sporting Life. "I'll have to speak to our board and legal advisers, and consider whether this has become personal and if it is beneficial for Hampshire cricket to have me around."
Back in February, Bransgrove warned that he could not carry the club on his shoulders forever. Last season, they announced losses of more than £750,000 and cutbacks have since been implemented. "I need some help from the ECB and have to make a decision," he told The Times. "Do I force the issue or give up?"
"There are a lot of handshakes and old friends involved in the decision-making," he added. "It is ironic that we beat a county with a Test ground, Warwickshire, in the C&G final last year and yet their profit (£750,800) is the same as our loss."
Bransgrove's dismay is justified, seeing as the £30million Rose Bowl is already in situ, while the Cardiff redevelopment plans have yet to be ratified by the city council. Much has been made, however, of the inaccessibility of Hampshire's ground, which has no local rail connections and just a single access road, and the pitch itself has come in for some criticism as well.
"They have made us aware of the reasons which, in their view, are that there needs to be more evidence of improvement in the standard of pitches at the Rose Bowl," Bransgove confirmed to Sporting Life. "They have said 'no thank you' - and so it seems we still have work to do."
Forthcoming Test schedule
West Indies Chester-le-Street, Headingley, Lord's and Old Trafford
India The Oval, Lord's and Trent Bridge
New Zealand Lord's, Old Trafford and Trent Bridge
South Africa The Oval, Edgbaston, Headingley and Lord's
Zimbabwe Lord's and tbc
Australia The Oval, Cardiff, Edgbaston, Headingley and Lord's