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A Little Meditation
Discussion started by Loyal of Lhasa , 25 August, 2020 15:25
A Little Meditation
Loyal of Lhasa 25 August, 2020 15:25
I am feeling very mellow and content after our glorious victory earlier this afternoon - and how I would have loved to be at the County Ground today. That thought prompted me to post below a little essay excavated by chance only yesterday that I wrote for his site back in January 2008, when there had been talk of abandoning the ground and moving to an out-of-town site. How awful that would have been!

Apologies to those of you who have seen this before.

In my long-addicted life of Somerset cricket watching almost the whole of the County Ground has now changed, but somehow the very special ambience has hardly altered at all. Certainly the sheer joy and sense of privilege of being within those hallowed acres has not diminished by a jot as far as I am concerned. The old pavilion was a nice example of classic Victorian railway station architecture, but not an especially beautiful building, probably far from "fit for purpose" and almost certainly a serious fire hazard. Who now remembers with affection those actually rather ugly white boards that lined the north and east of the ground, with the backless unyielding wooden benches and the old scoreboard in the corner? The Ridley Stand would have won no architectural awards and the Supporters' Stand (River Stand to newcomers) was no more than functional. I am sad about the demise of the Stragglers' Pavilion and wish more effort had been made to preserve it, but am confident that Gimblett Hill will become a distinguished and much loved feature.

What makes the ground so very special for me are the surroundings, notably the church towers (reminding us we are sited in the heart of a classic English county town) and the Quantock Hills (reminding us that ours is a truly rural county), the intimacy that brings players and spectators so close and encourages such a warm rapport between them (and the players to remember their responsibility to perform whole-heartedly for the sake of those who watch and support them), and the wonderful warmth of the Somerset people. As long as these qualities are not lost, the ground will remain a very special place. And I suspect there are few of us who would prefer a soulless stadium beside the M5. The new Brewhouse stand will probably soon be seen as a thing of beauty and will command much affection, and I have now decided that when my six numbers come up tonight I will buy three adjacent flats and recreate the Stragglers' there, with a flagpole and cider stand for Tractor, a padded cell for BJ and a welcome for you all.


[/i]



LoL

Seventy-two Seasons a Somerset Supporter

Re: A Little Meditation
Farmer White 25 August, 2020 15:34
That just about nails it.

I remember Guy Lavender once saying that staying at the County Ground was the best decision Somerset ever made. I am not sure he was thinking along the lines your piece does LoL From recollection, I think he had in mind, centre of town, heart of the community and, in accessibilty terms, near a mainline railway station. Put that together with the ambience you describe and you can't really beat it.

Farmer

Re: A Little Meditation
AGod 25 August, 2020 15:36
I read, the other day, that there used to be a greyhound track running around the outside of the outfield?

Re: A Little Meditation
Grizzers 25 August, 2020 15:41
An eloquent and atmospheric piece of prose LoL.

Compare & contrast the delights of the County Ground with what would likely have happened if we had moved to a new ground adjacent to the M5.

The utterly soulless Ageas Bowl comes to mind, albeit I don't know why, as clearly no-one thought of transport links when it was planned. At it's very best, on a beautiful summers day, the place has all the merits of ten miles of unmade road.

I know which I prefer !

Grizzers

Re: A Little Meditation
Farmer White 25 August, 2020 15:43
Indeed there did. It ran just outside the boundary with lighting on poles. I remember it well. The pens for the dogs were in what is now the St James St car park.

It was one of a number of ventures to bolster club income. Another in the late 60s was a £1 membership. Yes, £1. Admin was kept to a minimum I think by simply selling the cards like a ticket and keeping no records of £1 members. It is when Vice Presidents were introduced to differntiate people who paid more and had access to the better seating and Pavilion etc. £1 membership was for ground entry only. If my creaking memory is correct. If it is not, someone will put me right.

Farmer

Re: A Little Meditation
Roger ivanhoe 25 August, 2020 16:32
AGOD Here are Photos and a write up on the Greyhound track on the County Ground.

See this link

Re: A Little Meditation
Bobstan 25 August, 2020 16:37
Loyal of Lhasa, that was a very evocative piece. Thank you.

I suppose to maintain tradition I should have said that it was almost literate, but on this occasion the thought didn't even cross my mind.

Re: A Little Meditation
AGod 25 August, 2020 16:37
Thanks, Roger.

Re: A Little Meditation
Loyal of Lhasa 25 August, 2020 16:44
Another venture in the Fifties was a football pools competition, to which I occasionally contributed. I think it was run by the Supporters Club and that it funded the Supporters; Stand at the River End on the site of the Lord High Almighty Emperor Plenipotentiary Botham Stand.



LoL

Seventy-two Seasons a Somerset Supporter

Re: A Little Meditation
Shepton Paul 2 25 August, 2020 18:22
I love the ground but, having lived in Berkshire for 35 years, get there all too rarely. However, I have a small regret that Avalon Acres never came to pass, in that I'm about to move to the Wells area - possibly before the end of this late-running season...

Re: A Little Meditation
Owain Glyndwr 25 August, 2020 18:56
Beautifully written, as always, just a shame you couldn't have sorted out that cell for me. Would have saved a fortune on rent.

Re: A Little Meditation
Whome 25 August, 2020 18:58
The clock housed in the Colin Atkinson pavilion was once located in the old scoreboard in the North East corner.

Re: A Little Meditation
RadstockRob 25 August, 2020 21:27
Vice presidents were allowed to take a guest into the ground for free.

That was how I started watching while a young lad.

One of my neighbours used to take me.



SOMERSET THE TEAM TO WATCH.

Re: A Little Meditation
mikeindex 25 August, 2020 22:45
I remember the £1 membership deal - I had an idea it still carried certain restricted seating rights, but I was still eligible for junior membership at the time (I guess that must have been about half a crown) so I may not be remembering too clearly. I remember the dog track too, and sitting on the old backless benches by the sight screen at the River End.
Lovely bit of writing LoL.

Re: A Little Meditation
Des Platt 26 August, 2020 01:54
I’ve said on here before how I envy those of you able to watch cricket at Taunton regularly. Thanks very much for this



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 26/08/2020 01:55 by Des Platt.

Re: A Little Meditation
Loyal of Lhasa 26 August, 2020 10:56
Des, I shall buy a fourth flat for your exclusive use, as clearly your heart is really in Somerset.



LoL

Seventy-two Seasons a Somerset Supporter

Re: A Little Meditation
Wickham 26 August, 2020 17:05
... to be known as the Platt Flat, presumably.

Re: A Little Meditation
Loyal of Lhasa 26 August, 2020 17:55
... or the Des Res.



LoL

Seventy-two Seasons a Somerset Supporter

Re: A Little Meditation
Des Platt 26 August, 2020 18:18
😀

Re: A Little Meditation
Bobstan 26 August, 2020 18:20
Will Des need any flat packs for his Platt Flat?

Re: A Little Meditation
cricketharris 26 August, 2020 19:02
When I came to the ground first 30 years ago I so loved the idea of the Stragglers flagpole with the Cross of St George proudly flying. For a while it was replaced by the advertising rag of the recruitment company who lodged in a building on the ground. Such sacrilege. Shame the English, or even British, flag cannot be flown from a pole at the ground. Rule Britannia.

Re: A Little Meditation
Somerset LaLaLa 26 August, 2020 19:28
Just imagine sitting in front the plate glass windows. Then a platter of sixes plateau towards the platform…

Re: A Little Meditation
Loyal of Lhasa 26 August, 2020 20:32
One condition, Des, of your moving into the flat I buy you is that you acquire a cat and call it Duck Bill. (think about it, people!)



LoL

Seventy-two Seasons a Somerset Supporter

Re: A Little Meditation
Somerset LaLaLa 26 August, 2020 21:19
Get two and Despair

Re: A Little Meditation
cricketjerry-mouse 26 August, 2020 22:19
Lot of Platt-itudes on this thread recently.

Re: A Little Meditation
Des Platt 27 August, 2020 08:42
Quote:
Loyal of Lhasa
One condition, Des, of your moving into the flat I buy you is that you acquire a cat and call it Duck Bill. (think about it, people!)

Platypus was actually my primary school nickname LOL! I do have two cats now actually.

Watching live on YouTube the very day you posted this , I had exactly those feelings you described. Cricket did originate as a rural game and I feel nearly always benefits from that ambience. That isn’t to say city grounds can’t have it ; I had that feeling of comfort in my five days at the Adelaide Oval in 91 prior to it becoming a concrete stadium.

I have that feeling watching Lancashire at Liverpool with the background of the Welsh Hills and the beautiful trees . The players themselves said how they love the rapport with the crowd in 2011. It was the happiest summer of my life but I would be equally happy to see a Somerset championship win.

Old Trafford sadly has none of that feeling; in fairness, Stretford is no Taunton but so much better a job could have been done as was done at Trent Bridge for example.

Lancashire actually had the same discussion about moving out of Manchester, and although I was horrified at the time, I find it difficult to imagine that any new ground could’ve been more soulless for county cricket than the current OT.

Roll on my next Taunton visit.

Re: A Little Meditation
Clarence Parker 27 August, 2020 19:11
In the 1950's , on the Western side (Somerset Stand and Brewhouse Theatre side) of our delightful County Ground (I refuse to add the "CA" prefix), stood a row of terraced cottages. In fact I believe the rear wall of the cottages formed the boundary of our ground at that point. They became vacant and were subsequently demolished presumably to provide space for the Theatre.

However, I am told that a lady who resided there would on match days open a window at the back of her home and sell cups of tea to those watching the game.

Sadly, in some ways, Taunton is the only location where we play in the county nowadays, but it was not always thus. I was reading a Cricket Statisticians publication of 2005 (Cricket Grounds of Somerset) by Bob Harragan recently where all the grounds that we have played on, in all formats of the game, are featured . The booklet contains not only statistics, but histories which include a number of delightful vignettes.

For example :-

How Clarence Park in Weston gave rise to more burglaries in the area, and how a trip to an abattoir saved the Bath Cricket Festival from complete disaster.

These, and many more, give rise to Somerset's wonderful history of which so many are proud.

Re: A Little Meditation
Kingston Black 01 September, 2020 09:56
Great stuff. There is of course a Wikipedia page devoted to the various home grounds that Somerset have played on over the last 138 years or so:

Elysian Fields

KB


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