St Lawrence Ground

St Lawrence Ground, Canterbury

 

Kent, jointly with Sussex, is believed to be the birthplace of cricket. It is widely held that cricket was invented by children living on the Weald in Saxon or Norman times. The game's earliest tentative reference, re creag in 1300, relates to Newenden in Kent. The first definite mention of cricket in Kent concerned a match at Chevening in 1610 between teams from the Weald and the Downs. Cricket became established in Kent during the 17th century and the earliest village matches took place before the English Civil War. It is believed that the earliest county teams were formed in the aftermath of the Restoration in 1660. In 1705, West of Kent played Chatham at Malling. The first recorded inter-county match took place in 1709 between Kent and Surrey. Kent had strong teams throughout the 18th century, often challenging All-England. The county had several famous patrons including Lord John Sackville, his son John Frederick Sackville, 3rd Duke of Dorset and Sir Horatio Mann. In the latter half of the 18th century, Kent and Surrey were the only counties that could realistically challenge the power of Hambledon. In the 1822 MCC versus Kent match at Lord’s, John Willes of Kent opened the bowling and was no-balled for using a roundarm action, a style he had attempted to introduce since 1807. Willes promptly withdrew from the match and refused to play again in any important fixture. His action proved the catalyst for the so-called "roundarm revolution".

 

In 1837 Kent was unofficially proclaimed the "champion county" and had the most successful team through most of the 1840s. On 6 August 1842, formation of the original Kent County Cricket Club took place in Canterbury when the Beverley Club was reconstituted as the Kent Cricket Club. The new Kent club played its initial first-class match against All-England at White Hart Field in Bromley on 25–27 August 1842. In 1847 the club began using the St Lawrence Ground, having moved from the Beverley Ground on the other side of Canterbury. On 1 March 1859 a second county club was formed in Maidstone to support the Canterbury-based club. The two clubs merged in 1870 to form the present day Kent County Cricket Club. Kent enjoyed two periods of prolonged success: the first in the years before World War I, when in the space of eight seasons they were county champions four times beginning in 1906. The pavilion at Tunbridge Wells was burned down by Suffragettes in April 1913. The bowling of Colin Blythe and the captaincy of Cloudesley Marsham, and later Ted Dillon were key factors in Kent's decade of success. They remained highly consistent until the 1930s, with high quality players such as Tich Freeman, Frank Woolley, Wally Hardinge and Les Ames all playing at the peak of their career. Kent ran up 803 for 4 dec against Essex CCC at Brentwood in 1934 with Bill Ashdown scoring 332, Ames 202* and Woolley 172. The total took seven hours, with 623 runs alone on the first day. Woolley scored over 2,000 runs for Kent in 1935 aged 48.

 

St Lawrence Ground, Canterbury

 

Cricket grounds in most parts of the world are devoid of any trees or shrubs. The lime tree at the St Lawrence Ground was an exception: the ground opened as the Beverley Ground in 1847, and was built around the tree. The presence of a tree within the playing area required special local rules. Shots blocked by the tree were counted as a four. Only four cricketers have cleared the tree to score a six: Arthur 'Jacko' Watson of Sussex in 1925, the West Indies' Learie Constantine (1928), Middlesex's Jim Smith (1939), and Carl Hooper (1992). Unfortunately, high winds in England on 7 January 2005 caused the 200-year-old tree to snap in two, leaving a 7-foot stump. A new lime tree was planted in preparation for the ultimate demise of its predecessor. The club moved it within the playing area on 8 March 2005. The ground includes five stands, two of which named after famous Kent cricketers. The Frank Woolley Stand, the Colin Cowdrey Stand, the Chiesman Pavilion and the Annexe Stand. The Les Ames Stand, closest to the Nackington Road entrance, has no public seating. It consists of hospitality boxes with the main scoreboard directly above.

 

There is a dedicated ‘golf cart’ operating to help disabled and mobility challenged visitors, who also have designated parking spaces. Sat Nav CT1 3EW. A cash machine can be accessed outside Sainsbury’s Local on Old Dover Road. The main pedestrian entrance for disabled visitors to the ground on matchdays will be through the gate by floodlight 1. Designated parking is available for blue badge holders around the ground via entrances in Nackington Road and The Drive. There is a designated viewing area at the front of the Woolley Stand and lots of open spaces on the banks. Food outlets with low counters include the Les Ames and Lime Tree Cafe. Accessible toilets in the Les Ames Stand, the Ames Levett Sports Centre, Woolley Stand, Chiesman Pavilion and Cowdrey Stand. Dogs are always welcome (kept on a short lead), however only assistance dogs are allowed into areas supplying hot or unpacked food. All Kent matches are broadcast on local BBC radio and there is a public address system.

 

Location : Old Dover Road, Canterbury, Kent. CT1 3NZ

Transport: Canterbury East (National Rail) 1 mile. Bus Routes: 12, 15, 16, 17 and 18 stop very close by.

Capacity : 15000

Opening Times: Daily 08:00 to 17:00

Tickets County/One Day : Adults £17.00

Tickets T20 Blast : Adults £22.00

Tickets Women: Adults £5.00

Tel: 01227 456 886

Nevill Ground - Tunbridge Wells

Nevill Ground

Nevill Ground - Tunbridge Wells

The Nevill Ground was established in 1895 after the purchase of the land by the Tunbridge Wells Cricket, Football and Athletic Club, with assistance from the Bluemantle Cricket Club. It was purchased on a 99-year lease from the Marquess of Abergavenny as the land was part of his Eridge Park estate. The Nevill Ground was named after William Nevill, 1st Marquess of Abergavenny. Building of the ground's facilities started in 1896 with it being officially opened by the Marquess of Abergavenny in 1898. In the early 20th century, the county boundary between Kent and East Sussex ran through the Nevill Ground's pitch. Rhododendron bushes were also planted in the Nevill Ground's early history. The rhododendrons around the pitch are considered by cricket commentators as one of the defining images of the Nevill Ground. The end opposite the pavilion is known as the Railway End due to the Hastings Line running close by that end of the ground. In 1995, a permanent brick stand was built and became known as the Bluemantle Stand after the Bluemantle Cricket Club members who helped to build it. The Bluemantle Stand was built on the site of the original pavilion. Every Tunbridge Wells Cricket Week, Tunbridge Wells Borough Council erects a temporary grandstand at the Nevill Ground.

 

On 11 April 1913, the cricket pavilion was burnt down by militant suffragettes due to Kent having a policy of no-admittance to women. The fire was started in the dressing rooms with the perpetrator setting fire to cricket nets that were being stored in there. The fire was discovered by a passing lamplighter. The fire brigade extinguished the fire in an hour, too late to save the pavilion. In front of the remains of the pavilion, firemen found suffragette literature, an electric lantern and a picture of Emily Pankhurst. The fire also destroyed photographs of the first Canterbury Cricket Week and the Bluemantle Cricket Club's archives. The attack may have been provoked by a comment from an unknown Kent official who is reported to have said "It is not true that women are banned from the pavilion. Who do you think makes the teas?" There was an angry reaction to the attack locally and nationally. The National League for Opposing Women's Suffrage held a meeting in the town with Sir Arthur Conan Doyle attending, where he called the suffragettes "female hooligans" and compared the attack to "blowing up a blind man and his dog"

 

The Public Address system will give live scores and updates of key developments during the match. Guide dogs are permitted within the ground. Should your dog require water then the staff at any food service outlet will be willing to help. Should any assistance be required to reach your seat or any facility, please contact the nearest steward who will make arrangements to provide this. Visually impaired spectators at Kent matches can listen to the match day commentary supplied by the BBC. There is disabled (blue badge) parking available and fully accessible toilets reserved for disabled use.

 

Location : Nevill Gate, Warwick Park, Tunbridge Wells Kent. TN2 5ES

Transport: Tunbridge Wells (National Rail) 0.9 miles. Bus Routes: Arriva Buses stop at the ground.

Capacity : 6,000

Opening Times: Daily 09:00 to 17:00

Tickets County/One Day : Adults £17.00

Tickets T20 Blast : Adults £22.00

Tickets Women: Adults £5.00

Tel: 01892 530833