Rockin' Rod gets Clapton support gig

Rod Bransgrove, Hampshire chairman Hampshire County Cricket Club

It's fair to observe that county cricket chairmen are not normally regarded as uber cool, but Rockin' Rod Bransgrove can now claim to be closer than most after getting the chance to play in a support act to Eric Clapton.

Rockin' Rod will line up with his six-strong soft rock band, Strapped for Cash, for a charity gig at Wormsley next summer in which Clapton will be the headline act.

A thrilled Bransgrove took to Facebook to exclaim: "IT'S OFFICIAL!! Strapped for Cash will be supporting ERIC CLAPTON on 25th July at Wormsley. Huge charity day with 5,000 expected. Beside ourselves with excitement!! "

There have been times when Strapped for Cash has been an appropriately named band for Bransgrove as he has struggled to turn the Ageas Bowl into one of the finest cricket stadiums in England.

But with major international matches now allocated until 2019, Bransgrove can also explore his other passion, imagining himself as the rock star he always yearned to be. The band released a debut EP last year - Kick Me When I'm Down, which was not thought to refer to his problematic relationship with the ECB chairman Giles Clarke.

Last summer they also played at the Ageas Bowl (well, it's his ground) without ever quite attracting the attention of past performers such as Oasis, Billy Joel, REM, Neil Diamond and The Who.

Bransgrove's interest in music began as a teenager in Kent during the 1960s and as he strutted his stuff in folk clubs before s successful business career intervened. Only after his 60th birthday has he rediscovered the joys of his youth, playing under the dubious pseudonym of Bestie Rote.

Rehearsals, washed down by decent quantities of good wine, take place in the pool house at Bransgrove's luxurious Edwardian home. Much wine - and practice - may be the order of the day before July.