This week’s Guardian weekly cricket email ‘The Spin’ contained not just a beautiful tribute or two to the late Frank Keating (whom I have to admit eluded me until he’d passed), but also tucked away at the bottom was this gem by a collaboration of the Guardian cricket writers.
For those not bothered enough to open my carefully crafted, meticulously researched and wonderfully relevant links – it is a collection of the most fantastic cricket grounds across the world. By fantastic I don’t mean the colloseum that is ‘The G’, or even necessarily grounds with the grandeur of Lords – but rather just epic settings, scenerys and locations. I can proudly say that of the list provided I’ve been to precisely, well, none of them.
Where I have been however, retains some of the memories synonymous with the locations listed above.
My first pick would be my ‘local’ (and therefore favourite) County ground – the imaginatively named ‘County Ground’ at Taunton, Zummerzet. There is a certain charm about the place, small enough to retain a sense of tradition (even with it’s expansion to hold 15k) yet with some of the greatest cricketers to have ever lived eulogised there (the Ian Botham stand, the Viv Richards Gate, the Joel Garner Gate, the Corey Colleymore Gents Toilet, etc). The most stunning feature, apart from the short, intimate boundaries and the numerous outlets to purchase cider on tap, is the looming sight of St James’ and St Mary’s churches from the Ian Botham Stand, pictured below.
The best place I have played is a little off the beaten track, set in the under-threat (due to the wasteful Council’s funding issues) country park of Mount Edgecumbe, overlooking the seafront of my hometown Plymouth. On a sunny day, with the water as a natural backdrop alongside some stunning naval vessels berthed in the Tamar docks and with sheep and horses pottering around in the fields alongside, it is the ideal spot for a couple of beers and a gentle spot of cricket. Sadly I’ve only ever played a couple of friendlies against Mount Edgecumbe Cricket Club, but here are but a small selection of shots of the place (from their website, not from when I was there):
As an aside, when trying to find some pictures for this article, I came across this superb set of depictions of some of the grounds around the UK.
Worth a gander.