By Connor Steel
Image from Hampshire Cricket
VISITORS to the Ageas Bowl in early July may have seen there is a new bird in town,,, with Hampshire Cricket unveiling their latest mascot this month.
It marks a huge Twenty-20 rebrand that was last seen 12 years ago, with the mascot offered the job after the previous one refused to come back from retirement earlier this summer.
Hawky is the brand new official mascot of the club’s Twenty-20 side which has changed its name to Hampshire Hawks for the 2021 T20 Blast Competition, with the club unveiling a new crest and New Balance kit being made specifically made for the shortest form of cricket at county level.
Although the club will remain as Hampshire Cricket for First-Class and List A cricket moving forward, the Hawks branding has been recreated from 2009 and is hoped that it will inspire a new generation of younger cricket supporters to visit the Ageas Bowl for three remaining Twenty-20 games this week.
The Hawks brand is a familiar one for Hampshire fans and one closely aligned with its own T20 history – it was the Hawks who contested the first ever T20 match following the format’s inception in 2003 – and its return helps celebrate an extremely memorable era from 2003-2009, one which included two limited-overs trophies.
The Hampshire Cricket announced this news in late June on their website, stating that the previous mascot Roary the Lion was reluctant to end retirement; hence the unveiling of avian bird Hawky who can be seen in the graphic here.
His debut was originally set for June 28 with Middlesex the visitors, but sadly this was delayed due to the weather.
Hawky’s career didn’t start well as Hampshire lost at home to Surrey by 20 runs at the Ageas Bowl on June 30, the first county game at the ground since early May due to international fixtures.
However the new mascot has since become a lucky charm as Hawks have beaten both Somerset and Gloucestershire in recent days, with an outside chance of a quarter final yet to be decided with three T20 Blast games left on the calendar.
All three fixtures will be held at the Ageas Bowl next weekend, with an unique double header to be held on July 16 (Friday) for supporters to enjoy as part of a reduced capacity crowd.
The Hawks will play Essex Eagles at 2pm, before quickly playing Sussex Sharks at 7pm that same day; tickets for this ‘el-clasiocoast’ event have been in high demand with the double header now the fastest-selling T20 fixture on record at The Ageas Bowl with all tickets sold out.
Fans will be hoping that Hawky can keep his two game winning streak going into this double header, with positive results needed as they attempt to reach knockout stages and the finals day for the ninth time in history. Their final group stage game is scheduled for July 18, when the Hawks will play Gloucestershire before starting their 50-over campaign in earnest.
Supporters can still watch live coverage of all three remaining T20 Blast encounters by watching on the Hampshire Cricket YouTube channel. If they, however, want to support their county club, they can alternatively buy a digital passport, with three games now costing an estimated total of £58 (depending on type) or buy a Hampshire Hawks shirt from the club website. £5 of every shirt purchased will be donated to the Southampton Hospitals Charity for all their work during the last 18 months of the Covid-19 pandemic.