The Rose Bowl, Hampshire's fourth home and its most state-of-the-art, was designed by award-winning architects Michael Hopkins & Partners and hosted its inaugural first-team match in 2001. The ground, shaped like a circular amphitheatre, and its highlight - the three-storey pavilion with canopied roof - is a splendid feat of architecture, but its location - just off the M27 on the outskirts of Southampton - proved problematic for spectators in the early days. One of the venues for the Champions Trophy in 2004, The Rose Bowl received widespread criticism when access to the ground for England's key fixture against Sri Lanka proved extremely difficult, as 16,000 spectators descended. Nevertheless, Hampshire's ambitions continue unchecked: the ground hosted England's first Twenty20 international against Australia in 2005; floodlights were installed in 2006, and after hosting some memorable day/night fixtures against Australia and Pakistan in 2010, the ground became England's tenth Test venue the following year, when Sri Lanka visited in mid-June.
The ground's development - costing a whopping £24million - ran into financial difficulties in 2000, before a Hampshire businessman and cricket enthusiast Rob Bransgrove stepped in to secure its future. In 2006 the venue lost out to Cardiff in the race for Test status, but Bransgrove reacted by investing another £35 million, largely aimed at improving the pitch and the dreadful traffic problems which had blighted major matches. The planned development of a state-of-the-art hotel at the northern end of the ground will further boost The Rose Bowl's ambitions as it seeks to cement its place in the international calendar, and safeguard Hampshire's future.
Travel Train - Hedge End station and Southampton Airport/Parkway are 10 minutes' taxi ride from the ground. Car - The Rose Bowl is in West End, a short distance from Junction 7 of the M27. MapClick here HotelsClick here
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