HAMPSHIRE pitch advisor Chris Westbrook has retired after over 40 years of service in supporting cricket grounds across the county.

Westbrook, from Ampfield, has dedicated a lot of time, most of which on a voluntary basis, supporting clubs in and around Hampshire to overcome issues and improve ground standards.

He began supporting club cricket grounds across the county in 1981, before the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) formally introduced the role of county pitch advisor in 2022.

Westbrook also facilitated the Institute of Groundsmanship (IOG) training courses and informal workshops, providing hands on practical training for many club volunteers. 

He provided invaluable pre and post season renovation guidance and in many cases, detailed written reports to help clubs implement long term ground improvements.

Announcing his retirement, Westbrook said: "It has been an honour and pleasure to serve. 

"It has been made even more rewarding by the number of clubs who have appreciated a conversation either over the phone or at their grounds in an effort to overcome some issues.

“Being a pitch advisor has given me many opportunities to meet and gain knowledge from many renowned individuals in the turf industry.

"This would not have been possible without being given the chance to undertake the role.”

As a very well-respected figure on the pitch advisor circuit around the country, Westbrook was involved in establishing the ECB’s national performance quality standard scheme.

That allowed him the opportunity to work with, and learn, from experts at the top of the turf industry profession.

HCB cricket development director, Ben Thompson added: “The Hampshire Cricket Board (HCB) has been extremely lucky to have Chris as pitch advisor for so long. 

"He has been an invaluable source of advice and guidance for HCB, clubs, leagues and local authorities, which will be difficult to replace.

"It is very rare someone fulfils a largely voluntary role not directly linked with a club, with the same commitment and enthusiasm for such a long period.”

Nigel Gray (ex-head groundsman at the Utilita Bowl) and Lee Padwick, who have both worked alongside Westbrook for the last couple of seasons, will continue to carry out the role following Chris’ retirement.