HARTLEY Wintney Cricket Club (HWCC) is gearing up to celebrate the career of Hampshire cricketer Chris Wood with a testimonial match on Friday, June 28.

The testimonial will be a highlight of the club's annual Cricket Week, running from June 24 to 30.

Born in Basingstoke and raised in Alton, Wood has enjoyed a successful 15-year career with Hampshire.

“I look back with fond memories and I've been very fortunate for being part of teams that have gone on to win a lot of competitions," said Chris as he spoke to the Gazette ahead of the big event.

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Chris WoodChris Wood (Image: Newsquest)

"When I got the call just before Christmas from Hampshire to announce that they were going to give me a testimonial year, I was incredibly grateful. I could only dream as a young lad to play for Hampshire. I can't believe I'm saying this, but I'm going into my 15th season."

Looking ahead, Wood acknowledges the changing landscape of cricket, particularly the rise of the shorter format, The Hundred. While expressing concern for the future of Test cricket, his passion for the game remains strong.

“I think I'd be very naïve to sit here and say, it's not going to change,” Chris said.

“I think the landscape and cricket is changing incredibly quickly, and especially with the talks of the private investment coming into The Hundred, the young lads predominantly got their eye on playing white ball cricket for obvious reasons. That's the financial gain in the game and will continue to probably only get bigger.

"So I do fear for four-day cricket and Test cricket down the line. Although I can't play red-ball cricket through various knee surgeries, I still love the game. I want Hampshire to win the championship, especially in my time associated with the county.”

After retirement, he plans to pursue coaching qualifications and contribute to the sport beyond playing.

The testimonial match at Hartley Wintney is part of a long-standing tradition at the club, dating back to 2002 with Shaun Udal's testimonial.

"This has been a marvellous tradition," said club vice-chairman Andy Ross.

"The focus is on raising money for good causes and ensuring players are recognised for their service."

Poster for the Cricket Week eventPoster for the Cricket Week event (Image: HWCC)

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The testimonial match is just one of many exciting events during Cricket Week. Here's a glimpse of the schedule:

Sunday, June 23: Ladies Festival - A round-robin tournament featuring local women's teams.

Wednesday, June 26: Charity Match (HWCC XI vs. Kent XI) - A friendly match to raise funds for the Brain Tumour Charity.

Friday, June 28: Benefit Day (Chris Wood Testimonial Match) - HWCC XI takes on Hampshire CCC. There are a few hospitality tickets available, even for small groups.

Saturday, June 29: Summer Ball - A Night at The Oscars - Get dressed up for an evening of Oscars-themed fun!

For more information, contact Ian Kerr at iankerr18@gmail.com for general enquiries or Olivia Jeffrey at oliviasutherland@hotmail.com for Summer Ball enquiries.