Cotton wool like cumulus clouds float over Newland SCG (Stroud Cricket Ground) as the Wales under 13 girls side bat against their hosts Gloucestershire. It’s the type of scene you can imagine would send Stroud CC’s most famous ex player Jack Russell scurrying for his oil paints. Having sold their previous Farmhill ground, where they had played since the 1880s, to local developers Newland Homes, Stroud moved to their new home in 2010. The timber framed pavilion, built on a raised deck to protect it from being flooded by the adjacent River Frome was officially opened in 2012 by Lily Allen. Unfortunately, the scheduled cricket match against a team featuring her father (actor Keith) was rained off.
Moody clouds roll over the Malvern Hills (AONB) and the picturesque grounds of Malvern College. The famous spring water and fresh air drew victorians to Greater Malvern in their droves in the nineteenth century and the school was established in 1865. Making use of it’s four cricket pitches and empty dormitories, the college has been hosting youth county cricket festivals in the Summer holidays since 2002. Watching a game of cricket for a couple of hours in such a beautiful location would surely rejuvenate anyone visiting this spa town in the heart of England!
A beautifully manicured outfield, neatly trimmed hedges and a cathedral. You’d be hard pushed to find a more English setting for a game of cricket than this satellite ground for Wells Cathedral School, beside Tor Woods. Nor could there be a more English dispute than the one that is dividing locals over the future of the potholed Tor Hill Lane which runs alongside. The school has offered to resurface the track but it’s the proposed addition of a wooden gate to restrict vehicular access that has invoked letters of complaint to the local paper. The most English of protests.
Situated at the top of Lansdown Hill, Bath Cricket Club’s second ground enjoys extremes of weather. When the wind blows it’s very cold but on a sunny day it’s glorious. The Brownsword Ground takes it’s name from local philanthropist Andrew Brownsword, who made his fortune in the greeting cards business. The presence of another wealthy local also has an unmissable influence on the scene. Rising proudly above the trees at the south east end of the ground is Beckford’s Tower. A Grade I listed, archtecural folly built for writer and patron of the Arts William Beckford in 1827.
From the brand new village green of Bishopston to one with a little more history. The home of Pucklechurch Cricket Club was once fortified and attached to the palace of King Edmund I (murdered by a local outlaw called Leof in 946). In the 16th century, stones from the palace were used in the construction of what is now the Star Inn, which overlooks the sloping Recreation Ground. Perched on top of a hill, the ground offers wonderful views of the surrounding area including the scene of the Battle of Deorham where the West Saxons defeated the Britons in 577. In modern times battles are mainly between ball and bat.
God save the village green sang The Kinks along with Tudor houses and draught beer, amongst other things. Cricket has been played on village greens since the sixteenth century but only on this one since 2003. Westbury Fields is a 98 property retirement village in Westbury-on Trym and the residents have had entertainment right on their doorsteps since Bishopston Cricket Club moved from their previous home in Kellaway Avenue to became tennants of the brand new cricket ground, designed to be the centerpiece of the community.
Four seasons in one day. In fact preseason could be a fifth. Bright sunshine and heavy showers (often at the same time) provide the backdrop for players to getting back into the swing of things. Testing out new bats and boots for the first time whilst wearing every layer they can find in their kitbag. The covers at the far side of the ground sit ready to be rolled onto the pitch, should the ominous rain clouds send the teams sprinting back to the pavilion.