Newclose not over and out – just yet!
Businessman, Brian Gardener, fulfilled a lifelong dream when he was the inspiration behind the building of Newclose County Cricket Ground, on the outskirts of Newport.
The Gold Standard ground was officially opened in 2008 by former England captain Mike Gatting and Brian spent some wonderful days at Newclose watching his favourite sport before he sadly died in early 2015 at the age of 73.
Now Newclose is up for sale – the price is a cool £1million, and the northern part of the 22-acre site benefits from an outline planning consent for a 60 bedroom 4-star hotel development. But thankfully, cricket will continue at the ground for the foreseeable future, thanks to some forward thinking by Brian. The Isle of Wight County Cricket Club negotiated a 25-year lease of the ground, which began in 2007, so still has 16 years to run.
Island estate agents Hose Rhodes Dickson, who are marketing the site, say that although there is nothing in the details to say it must stay as a cricket club forever, there is nothing that can be done during the lease period to change it to something else.
No doubt Brian would be delighted, and so will the hundreds of cricketers who have played at the ground and enjoyed the magnificent facilities, both out on the pitch and in the impressive pavilion these past eight years.