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Hants to return to Basingstoke

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Hampshire have announced plans to bring first-class cricket back to May`s Bounty in Basingstoke in 2008.

The move comes as part of a scheme to return first class cricket to out grounds around the county in the future.

This will provide Hampshire fans with the opportunity to watch the 1st XI squad nearer to their homes in the outer areas of the county.

Second XI matches will also be played at May’s Bounty and Bournemouth Sports Club during the 2007 season.

County director of cricket, Tim Tremlett, said: “Hampshire’s association with Basingstoke goes back many years.

“The team’s track record allied to the tremendous support that they have always received from the local community bodes well for the future when this partnership resumes.”

Hampshire`s second team played one match at the Basingstoke ground during 2006, however the last 1st XI match played at May’s Bounty was in the summer of 2000, the season before the county’s move to The Rose Bowl.

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Subject to conditional improvements at the ground, including pitch improvement which has been monitored during recent seasons, Hampshire Cricket intends to schedule 1st XI matches in 2008.

The final decision will be made in the autumn during the fixture planning process.

Chairman of Basingstoke and North Hants Cricket Club, Keith Harris, said: “The club has always been keen to have Hampshire play at May’s Bounty.

“We were disappointed when Hampshire stopped playing at the ground six years ago, but fully understood the reasons behind the decision.

“We are now very pleased that we have been considered as an out ground to host Hampshire matches in the future.

“We have endeavoured to maintain our links with Hampshire Cricket and the main county side and we look forward to watching 1st XI cricket in Basingstoke once again.

“It is a positive benefit for the north of the county.”

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