The club, which boasts one of the most beautiful grounds around, was due to have played its opening County Division 3 North match against Hursley Park seconds on Saturday.
But such has been the gradual and now serious decline in playing numbers, the club no longer has the resources to fill a side each Saturday.
Flamingos withdrawal from the Hampshire League cricket had been on the cards for a while.
“It was a very difficult and sad decision to wind the club up and withdraw from the HCL before a ball has even been bowled,” said skipper Chris Todd.
“It’s a day that many people involved in the club’s 57-year history never wanted to happen, but we can assure everyone it has not been for the want of trying, both on and off the field, to keep the club going.”
The club’s remote location from a substantial population base – apart from Bishops Waltham (who to their credit are flourishing and making excellent progress) meant that attracting new players was always a problem.
The supply now seems to have run out and sadly, the reality has to be faced. Numerous current players in the Southern Premier League, who grew up at Flamingos before moving on to other pastures, will find the news very sad.
Flamingo’s departure, as one of the higher profile local clubs to fold, will be met with equal sadness among the Hampshire Cricket League’s hierarchy.
The late Stan Brambley, who manually handled the league’s results for more years than anyone might care to remember, founded the club in the late 1950s.
Their lovely tree-girt ground at The Holt, set in the Preshaw Estate on top of Corhampton’s rolling downs, is often patrolled by buzzards or, sometimes, red kites.
Flamingos idyllic ground really is English cricket to a tee.
Birds twittering away high up in the branches are interrupted only by the thwack of leather on willow echoing around the ground.
In Stan’s days there was no running water at the ground – he used to cart supplies up there in his car boot – but 20 or so years ago, the club (with the aid of lottery funding) came up with a unique plan and sank a bore hole into the chalk streams beneath Corhampton Down so that showers could be provided for the players and water put in the kitchen.
The ambitious project was to coincide with Flamingo’s best spell on the field, the club winning the Hampshire League championship in 2000 and playing in the Southern Premier League for the next three seasons.
“We punched above our weight for quite a period of time, winning County 1, and the Tichborne Trophy, besides our seconds getting promoted,” said Stuart Shapland, who was captain at the time.
“It was a remarkable achievement for such a small club.”
Flamingos attracted some ‘name’ players too : Saints defender Jason Dodd, a very fine club cricketer, turned out regularly.
Stephen Cook, who hit a century on debut for South Africa against England this winter, played at The Holt as a 16-year old schoolboy while his father, Jimmy was Hampshire coach.
Although Flamingos have withdrawn from the Hampshire League, they are still committed to providing playing facilities at the Holt for the upcoming season for both Mansbridge (who play in County Division 4 North) and The Milbury’s, who play friendly Sunday matches at the ground.
The cricket fraternity will want to see the game continue to be played at The Holt for many years to come …