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.
The County Ground, Taunton on a Tuesday in August. The first day of a County Championship match. Maybe it was the weather that contributed to an above average gate but more likely a familiar name on the visitor’s team sheet. Fresh from the controversy where it was alleged he had sent tactically sensitive texts to the South African dressing room about his England team mates, the day marked the first century by Kevin Pietersen since his exile from the England Squad. His 163 wasn’t enough to earn earn a victory for his new County with the match ending in a draw.
Adjacent to the Ship Inn, The Ship Field has been home to Thornbury Cricket Club since 1871, soon after two local clubs merged under the influence of WG Grace’s older brother Edward Mills Grace. A tree sits within the boundary and local rules dictate that a direct hit results in 4 runs. A distinctive two storey motel style hotel runs along much of the north side of the ground, the balconies of which provide guests with a wonderful view of the cricket.