Two Gloucestershire batters show their mettle as they face the Welsh bowling attack at Briton Ferry Steel Cricket Club. A small town, just south of Neath, Briton Ferry was once at the heart of the region’s successful steel making industry. This boom period led to the formation of two cricket clubs, Briton Ferry Town being the other. In 1887, the Earl of Jersey provided land which gave the Britain Ferry Steel club a permanent home. The ground has a unique character, not least because of the huge fence that runs down one side of the ground. Built from local steel, it protects the terraced houses in the adjacent Ynysymaerd Road. Local rules dictate that the structure needs to be cleared to earn a six.
Two Warwickshire batters celebrate after scrambling a match winning single. Chasing just 58 to win they had slipped to 28 for 5 at lunch. A spirited Yorkshire side continued to take wickets after the interval and set up a nail-biting finale. Warwickshire were nine wickets down before the last pair added the nine runs required to seal the win. This facsinating low scoring game took place on the third and final day of The Malvern County Cricket Festival at Colwall Cricket Club. It would be hard to find a more fitting venue, as it was here in 1926 that The Women’s Cricket Association was founded.
A Battle of Britain Memorial Flight Spitfire and Hurricane fly high over Woodbury Cricket Ground in Devon on their way to the inaugural Torbay Air Show. Below, the under 15 girls of Devon and Gloucestershire do battle, grateful that a number of heavy rain showers also fly straight past the ground as they roll along the Exe Esturay.
The playing fields of Lord Wandsworth College provide the ideal setting for a game of cricket, played on a perfect Summer Sunday. Set in 1200 acres of farmland, the college was established when former Liberal MP, Baron Sydney Stern, bequeathed money to be used in the education of local agricultural worker’s children. LWC, with it’s fine sporting tradition and long association with girls cricket, was included in The Cricketer Magazine’s annual Top 100 Cricket Schools supplement and is a fitting venue for the under 15 Hampshire Ladies team. Cricket isn’t the only sport enjoyed by current and former pupils, though. Legend has it that the school’s first rugby posts were cut by the boys from the surrounding woodland, and a young Jonny Wilkinson could be seen here meticulously perfecting his goal kicking technique during his school years.
Whilst the red-capped Welsh girls celebrate a Gloucestershire wicket, the umpires take the opportunity to watch an RAF Hercules transport plane as it passes majestically overhead. Although based in Brize Norton, Oxfordshire, much of the low level training for these planes (nicknamed Fat Alberts after an American cartoon character) takes place over the Central Wales TTA (Tactical Training Area). Below, the flag of St David flies over the clubhouse where, inside, the England jumper of former Pontarddulais Cricket Club player Robert Croft hangs proudly on the wall. The people of Pontarddulais (translation: bridge over the black stream) have more than just cricket to be proud of, though. The town is home to one of the oldest brass bands in Wales and the local male voice choir have been crowned National Eisteddfod Champions a record 15 times. They can also be heard performing the choral parts in the Pink Floyd film The Wall.
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!