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United Services (Portsmouth) Cricket Club - Established 1880

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Potted history

Formerly a club for officers the constitution was changed in the 1960s to include all ranks. In 1985 the club opened its doors to non uniformed members to maintain the standard of cricket especially has the numbers of servicemen in the Portsmouth area had dramatically declined.

The club joined the Hampshire League in 1979. Honours include Division 3 champions in 1980, Division 1 champions in 1983 & 1984 and Southern League champions in 1994.

In October 2000 the club undertook a major step forward by joining forces with Portsmouth Civil Service & Cormorants CC who had lost their ground at Milton Road due to redevelopment. The combined membership remains predominantly Service & MOD personnel and the club now caters for all ages and abilities.

In 2001 the club will operate four league teams in Southern Premier Leagues 2 & 3 and Hampshire Leagues 1 & 4 plus U11, U13 & U 15 Colts teams. New members are very welcome.

The Ground - A Brief History
In the mid 19th century the ground was under water being part of a large Milldam or pond and the moat surrounding the Portsea defences. The Amhurst Redoubt or battlements was situated close to the Nuffield Building. By 1860 much of the Milldam was filled in and the Redoubt demolished in 1876. The exact date when the grounds as they are now were formed is unknown however the oldest remaining building dates back to 1905 and forms part of the administration building.

Within the boundary on Burnaby Road is an ancient monument called the King James Gate. It was erected in 1861 and was the entrance between Old Portsmouth and a finger of land called the Point that separated the harbour from the Camber Docks.

What is known is that the Cricket Club was established in 1880 closely followed by USRFC in 1882. US Hockey Club was formed in 1909 and Portsmouth RNFC formed in 1962.

Prior to 1965 the United Services Officers Recreation Ground, as it was then known, was managed by the Nuffield Organisation. The Nuffield Building was sold to Portsmouth Polytechnic, now the University and the United Services Sports Club was set up. The ground is currently maintained by MOD (Navy) and administered by the Area Recreation Officer, HMS NELSON. In 2000 it was renamed the Royal Navy & Royal Marines Sports Club.

In addition to USCC the ground hosts Combined Services, Royal Navy, Royal Navy Women, Royal Navy Under 25 and Royal Marines representative cricket matches.

Until 2000 Hampshire C.C.C. was a regular visitor. Their inaugural 1st class match was played against Sussex on 21/22 June 1882.

USSG is renowned as the best wicket in Hampshire. Quality batsmen can always be confident in scoring runs with the bowlers fancying their chances. The most eminent and longest serving groundsman was Doug Welsh who retired in 1980 after 36 years. Doug built up the ground's hard and bouncy reputation, which was carried forward by Bob Wheeldon. He won ECB grounds awards in 1995 and 1998 before moving to the Portsmouth Grammar School grounds in 2000. Ian Harrison, formerly at Privett Park, Gosport now provides the expertise.

Hampshire Greats
Over the years USSG has seen a plethora of visiting International stars. Hampshire players include Barry Richards, Gordon Greenidge, Robin Smith with Shane Warne being the latest.

Malcolm Marshall who died so prematurely of cancer in 2000 enjoyed the extra pace. Probably his greatest performance was bowling out Derbyshire in 1990. At 140 for 1 with Derbyshire needing a further 95 runs to win Malcolm claimed 7 wickets and Hampshire won by 50 runs.

Derek Shackleton took 475 career wickets at Portsmouth and Bobby Parks has a best of 10 victims in the match v Derbyshire in 1981.

First Class Ground Statistics
Highest innings score - Australia 893 v Cambridge University in 1893.
Highest Hampshire individual score - JB Gray 213 v Derbyshire in 1962.
Highest visiting score - P Holmes 302 for Yorkshire in 1920.
Best visiting bowling WHR Andrews 8 for 25 for Somerset in 1946.
Best Hampshire bowling - Derek Shackleton 9 for 30 against Warwickshire in 1960.

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